To preface this piece I have to say what a strange thing writing can do for you. I wrote this 5 minutes ago on the precipice of falling into a deep sleep. I’ll spare you the details but I’ve had a long day and many before it. But I had the urge to write and with it came a creative exuberance. I couldn’t fall asleep now if I tried. I needed to write. Maybe I am loopy, maybe I needed to get something off my chest. I have been thinking about this for a little while.
I walked down Melrose as the sun beat down on me from above. It was the kind of heat that makes you look down but simultaneously radiates off the sidewalk so you can’t avoid it. The only escape is a small sliver of shade created by the traffic light that hangs in the intersection. Green, I walk. Beads of sweat drip down my overpriced iced coffee. This particular intersection has buildings with low profiles, so I’m able to see the rolling Hollywood Hills with their gaudy mansions against a clear blue backdrop. It’s Thursday and I’m walking into work.
I have a recurring fantasy on different occasions. Sometimes it happens on the hot mornings as I walk into work. It happens when I speed through a yellow light. The moments are vague at times. The fantasy I am referring to has to do with alternative realities. This morning for instance I had a strange sensation as I walked into work. I felt like I was dreaming. Normally, (at least in my case) dreams have a specific tunnel vision aspect to them. In that I am only able to focus on what is right in front of me. Conversely this morning, the dream felt more comprehensive. It felt like I was living in a dream for a brief moment. For the smallest amount of time it felt like my whole life leading up to that moment was also a dream. It felt real, it felt possible. Like I was off imitating sleeping beauty somewhere dreaming up a grand old mediocre life. Eventually the feeling subsided. But the thought is still there.
There is another reality I think about. This happens sometimes with a sudden jerk when you’re heart drops down into your stomach. But I mostly think about this when I am speeding through a yellow light. After the light turns red and I cruise down the street I wonder. Did I really make it through that yellow light just now? Did the oncoming truck just hit me head on causing instant death? Is my life now a subsequent heaven that let’s me experience things that I might have missed.
“Look God I know I fucked up but let me just finish my twenties” I can picture myself at the gates.
Once again I think about it for a few minutes and then it subsides. The morbidity of this isn’t as appealing as living a dream but I still enjoy the possibility.
When I use the term alternative reality, I am not using it as a synonym for parallel universe. I am trying to speak about perception of reality. There are plenty of examples of alternatative realities that I might have fed off of to create the idea of mine. The cliche “brain in a vat” reality in which I am a brain floating in a vat in some laboratory. Electric impulses make the neurons in my brain react to create experience and emotion just like a normal brain would. It’s like a more mundane version of The Matrix. There’s the Shutter Island reality or the 6th Sense reality. Maybe I’m the fucking crazy one on the island or maybe my best friend is Bruce Willis.
My alternative realities stray closer to ambiguity. The empirical evidence and my personal experience leads me to believe that I’m just sitting here typing on my laptop and I have work tomorrow. But I will say how much fun it is to wonder about these things.
“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”