I dream about the ocean. Funny, because I’m living right beside it, but somehow this New York ocean is not the ocean I’m talking about since it affects New York life as much as any other single thing on earth can do, which is to say, not much at all. I’m also not talking about California-style beaches, where the water comes apologetically to land, crawling along white sand toward you then running away again like an overexcited savant and overcooked, mostly plastic beachgoers cheer for it with faux, self-righteous enthusiasm just the way they would for any other overexcited savant.
I think I’m dreaming about the pacific northwest ocean, neither frigid as the industrial revolution nor warm as the tropics, but rather body temperature, room temperature, fall afternoon temperature, the temperature of being sans semiotic narcicissm, sans advertising, sans overcompensation, sans consciousness. The temperature of any sensation unshared and unnoticed.
I feel awash in publicity, in the midst even when alone of the public that is me, of the public that is the furniture, deliberative and harsh, and the air, progressive and forceful. I am tired of publics and I am tired of the particular refrain of pulp music that I’m hearing.
I think in fact that for some people life is a song, or a melody sung by an ambient voice in a soothing cadence. For me life is no song. Life is instead a median or even a mean, some sort of running average. When peaks or valleys are the flavor of the day, I come as a result to be conscious of a certain sense of displacement, of distance from center, of corrections yet to come. For me ife is also a singular color—the color of dusk in the absence of any particular season. For me life is the color of the aseasonal and the willfully atemporal. For me life is also about a certain lack of quantity or perhaps a certain nonquantitative modality.
I am too far from the pregnant emptiness of a northwestern coast, where no crowd has gathered, neither any particular coldness or warmness, much less any particular season or time of day. I am too far from silent, non-song unity, in which time and space are the superficial conceits of Los Angeles people and meaning and sensation are the superficial conceits of New York people.
(Aside: Both peoples would no doubt feel that I have these attributions backward. I don’t.)
I dream of being lost, of being off-grid, beyond reach, unavailable and utterly forgotten. I dream of that isolation and solitude that is neither joyous nor barbarous but is merely complete, passive, and uninterested in asserting or in defending its own reality.
I dream of seeing that particular transition to water, without wanting to swim and without wanting not to swim. I dream neither of action without reaction nor of reaction without action, but merely of “re.”