Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Dud Avocado--Elaine Dundy

"When did all those nightmares begin? My mind keeps going back to that Christmas vacation, sophomore year, when I had an English paper to write and spent most of my time in the Public Library. People kept mistaking me for a librarian. They kept coming up to me and asking for books and things. I thought it was maybe because I didn't wear hats and at first I was merely annoyed. Then I became frightened. I somehow became obsessed with the idea that the reason they kept mistaking me for a librarian was because that's what I really was meant to be, and instinctively they knew it. it was sheer fantasy, of course. I mean they probably asked dozens of other people as well and I just didn't notice. But it started to prey upon my mind. Then I began having this nightmare. Actually I have it so often I've even given it a name. It's called the Dreaded Librarian Dream.

It's all very vague. It takes place in a sort of vast hall, in the center of which sits a girl behind a desk, or rather a circular counter, which completely surrounds her. It's funny about that desk: I've seen it somewhere before, I know I have, although it's quite unlike any desk I've ever seen in a library. Anyway, the closer I get to this girl, the older she becomes, until she turns into a middle-aged spinster librarian. Then I see that it's me. People keep coming up to her from every direction asking her for books. They are all going somewhere. In fact it isn't a library at all, it's more like a station. Everyone is in a hurry. They are all going somewhere except for me. I'm trapped. One of the very worst aspects of this dream is that from the very first time I dreamed it I've known, within the nightmare, so to speak, that it was one I've had before--an old, old nightmare of long ago. That gives it its special, ageless, timeless, hopeless quality. When I awaken from it my space urge is upon me stronger than ever. --(198-199)

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