(james benedict brown) on the road

I have a dream, and it involves Ségolène Royal

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 23 April, 2007

At 04h37 this morning, my mobile phone woke me up with a text message from a certain nocturnal student of architecture:

Only going2bed now,so gonna get up in 3hours n stay2work here til 10am or so, or until u get here?lemme no how u gettin on… Safe journey!

What can I say, she just likes working nights. Both of us had a deadline less than twelve hours later, when the first draft chapter of our dissertation was due to be submitted. I rolled over and tried not to think of the hour and a half that remained until my phone’s alarm would twitter once more to get me out of bed. I had set myself a 06h start in order to drive the van back to Sheffield without incurring another day’s rental fees.

I turned over, and buried myself under the duvet one more time, and eventually slipped back beneath the gently lapping waves of a warm sea of sleep. Before I knew it, I was floating along a city street, moving smoothly in that way that pedestrians can only move in dreams. I knew I was on my way to meeting… a meeting with my dissertation tutor to discuss my first dissertation draft. I turned the corner of a terraced street of houses and was drawn instinctively to a park bench. This must be the place. And when I turned to sit down, I found my dissertation tutor there – waiting for me.

I frequently have dreams that take place ‘at home’, but in houses or buildings that bear no resemblance to my actual home. These dreams, however, come with the absolute unquestionable certainty that, no matter how bizarre they are, these places are indeed my real home. I experienced this same certainty during the subsequent conversation. While I might possibly have acknowledged that she was not the dissertation supervisor that I remembered having been assigned, I was in no doubt whatsoever that Ségolène Royal was now my tutor. The intense media coverage of the French election the day before had polluted my dreams, and had somehow metamorphosed with the very real deadline of my draft dissertation submission the next day.

I don’t recall the exact conversation that we had, but I do remember expressing understanding when Mme Royal told me that she was likely to be very busy for the next fortnight, and that she might not be able to read, let along mark, my dissertation. I was a bit upset, but consoled myself that she needed to concentrate on a much more important job. I probably embarassed myself even further by offering my personal congratulations on her nomination for the second round of the presidential elections, and expressed my best wishes for her success.

I woke up a little while later, feeling very confused as the bright pink early morning sky illuminated my bedroom.

Addendum: a few hours later, Boris Yeltsin died. I will let you know if tonight’s dreams feature him.

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