Sunday, September 06, 2020

My Life as a Rorschach Kafka Quarantine Dream

The light was gray and the air was close, cold. My eyes kept going in and out, ceasing to function, coming back, and while I could talk on the phone to my mother, sitting there on the near-empty Long Island Railroad, dim for once, I couldn’t do so in a way that could be understood. As a result, she remained cheerful, oblivious to my intensifying despair of ever getting on a train going the correct way, of ever getting anywhere again, let alone being with her or anyone going forward. The two train conductors I encountered in person remained blasé as I became more disoriented, including about becoming more disoriented.

I was trying to get to the Iroquois Park stop, but I made a rookie’s error getting on a train going the wrong way at Woodside because I just didn’t think because I just couldn’t think any longer. But I was still expected to do things people who can think are expected to do, like call when I’m on the train so they know to pick me up or present questions about train routes to conductors in a semi-coherent manner. Instead of myself the trusty traveler, I was the anxious woman who is there, there dear’ed and ignored, some annoying non-silent lady who should really be traveling with a man, or at least not alone, and I felt myself devolving, legs treading water without moving

After some long minutes or hours being frozen, I got up, looking over my shoulder, over my other shoulder, and began wandering between cars, opening the first door I found. Pushing

down that faded lever erupted me into a car stuffed with rows upon rows upon rows of maskless white Long Island people, all facing me, all lit garish by the normal fluorescence, until I blinked and found myself in the fluorescence of Penn Station, where everyone was also unmasked, including me, to my additional horror.

Next blink I’m back on the gray train, masked, looking out the window at blurred gray landscape moving faster than the train, unable to orient. I sit up in the hard, old seats, designed for commerce not comfort, and again attempt to interact, to ask for help in a semi-coherent fashion from my mother on the phone, who again suggests I talk to the conductor, and then the conductor, who tells me, bored, I can get off the train at the next stop, climb an impossible number of rickety, steep metal stairs to get to the opposite platform within a minute and from there maybe find a connecting train that might link up to one bound for Iroquois Park. And here’s an updated schedule that is even less readable than the last one, letters blurring into unrecognizable symbols blurring into blur

Iroquois Park, Iroquois Park, Iroquois Park; when can I rest? I stare out the window, the relentless non-view, and think of the native Iroquois, slandered as vicious fighters, white man killers, in an early social studies text that I had the misfortune to remember in detail, though I could not identify where I was and had given up on understanding anything happening in the present at that point


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