Thursday, September 20, 2007

Irrational Things

They are like those weird fish you find in deep deep water. Those strange things that come to you just as you are falling asleep or waking up in the morning, in what I've heard called "liminal space," here's the wikinition:

The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed - a situation which can lead to new perspectives.

I read somewhere, or was told by my father, that Thomas Edison, when trying to solve a problem, would sit in a chair holding a marble in his hand, waiting for the liminality to bring him answers that lay beyond his conscious mind's reach. As soon as he passed that place and fell asleep, he'd drop the marble and wake himself up. Somewhere else I read that David Lynch would do something similar to come up with that special kind of material that makes work like Twin Peaks all that it is.

The other day I washed something like 5 loads of laundry and that night, as I was falling asleep, I suddenly realized I was seeing myself loading laundry into the dryer, and then throwing some wine glasses in there along with the clothes. That's just so wrong.

Another day, when I was dozing as I nursed my daughter, I suddenly saw a pair of shoes on someone's feet, they were child's feet and the shoes were mossy green and orange saddle shoes, slighty similar to the shoes worn by the cartoon character Diego. My daughter loves him so much. In the image in my mind, the shoes seemed so real, like they really had a life of their own. I've seen fashion details like this in liminal space before and I wind up seeing them in the physical world later sometimes, so I was wondering how this story would end.

It was amusing. That day as we were buckling up to head back to Brooklyn from Pleasant Valley, NY, it was dark and I couldn't see what I was doing. I was having trouble with my buckle. Suddenly I realized that I was trying to insert my belt buckle into the my daughter's doll's foot. Diego's foot. So wrong.

I wonder if children live in that liminal space most of the time. Today when I was shopping at Key Food, waiting for sliced turkey at the deli counter, my daughter started looking over at the rotisserie chickens and saying "look at the eyeball!" It was an alarming statement, I had never noticed any eyeballs at the counter or anywhere near the chicken roaster. Finally I realized she was talking about the heat tester that had been inserted into the breast of one of the chickens, it was a circle of blue plastic surrounded by white, and it did in fact look like an eyeball, just in the wrong place. I got a sense of relief from figuring out what the heck the kid was talking about. And an interesting glimpse into the mind of a 2 year old. But I also notice that half the time whatever I'm thinking is as irrational as if I were dreaming, so I hope to assume I'm dreaming all the time.

Those weird dreams interest me, they are like a refreshing swim with the Lantern Fish.

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