“Once we got back, my mom went back to her normal self, and so did I.”
“Let’s go to Paris!” Skeptic said.
I couldn’t find a reason to argue, except that at the time I was a vegetarian, but that turned out not to be a problem. By the time we booked plane tickets I was a meat eater, cautious, maybe, but I ate it.
I didn’t think we could figure out how to get half way across the world without my dad (no offense, mom) but come President’s Day vacation, we were boarding a flight. Me excitedly, and Skeptic, as usual, nervously.
I’ve always had a good time imagining scenes from my future life. I often play the tape I have “recorded” in my mind of myself walking onto the Carnegie Hall stage or inventing some revolutionary gadget and topping Mark Zuckerberg for the youngest billionaire ever. Also, I am almost positive I have the ability to consciously and deliberately change the course of my dreams without leaving the dream.
I would love to have an hour every day set aside for conscious dreaming. The problem is that when the reality of what the dream was supposed to be comes around, the dreamer is certain to be disappointed. It’s a risk one must take when conscious dreaming.
Paris was not like my fantasies. My idea of Paris was a perfectly clean and shiny city with blue skies, nice people, and blocks that are squares not triangles. None of that turned out to be exactly true, but some things were better than expected. For some reason Skeptic and I barely argued, although small arguments like this did happen:
Skeptic: A.! Pay attention to the map!
Me: Mom, we take the yellow line towards Vincennes, switch to purple at Concorde, and take that one stop to Invalides, then switch to the yellow RER and take that one stop to Musée d’Orsay. After that, we’ll walk two blocks along the Seine, turn left, and we’re there. I memorized the map, you happy?
Mom: God, I’m hungry.
Things like that would have turned into bigger arguments at home, but somehow everything was easier in the land of good food, good music, and good art.
My mom was happier in Paris than in any other place. Maybe it was the food, or the isolation from reality, or the European vibe, or all of that.
On the last day, we walked into a music store that caught our eye. It was packed with instruments, most of which Skeptic and I had never seen before. The aging, warm, and humble man who owned the store asked us if we were thinking about moving to Paris. Skeptic said yes (?!), I said no, but I think the guy heard only the yes.
If you are in Paris, go to 6 Rue de Charlot and ask for M. Guy Collin. He’s very nice.
I loved Musée d’Orsay, a former train station, partially because I didn’t have high hopes. I hadn’t been excited for another day on my feet (which were starting to seriously hurt because of old, ripped, small, and wet shoes) and in the rain, and in another museum, but I considered myself lucky that I got to skip the discouraging line with our museum pass. A few minutes into the museum, I ditched my mom in Impressionism and explored sculpture–Cordier and Carpeux, Fremiet and Pradier–which I found much more interesting.
Versailles was similar in that my low hopes, my not having a picture in my mind, helped me enjoy the experience more. I actually thought it was a museum, so when we started walking down the courtyard, I asked my mom why this museum had to be so big. And gold.
The Eiffel Tower was less exciting because I had an idea of it from seeing pictures and reading books and what I got instead was fog.
I consider my dreaming act, this “unconscious seeing,” a hobby, a time passing and exciting activity.
I was “hypnotized” when I ate that awesome chicken that we found at a random restaurant off the Champs-Élysées after a long day. I wasn’t in a trance exactly, but I was content. I was happy to be in Paris, I was excited that I was eating meat after five years of not. This was the first but not the last great meal I ate: croissants, couscous, salmon, all simple but delicious. My mom kind of was in trance. She was just so thrilled to be in Paris again.
I slowly hypnotize myself by staring at nothing. Really. I just try to keep my eyes open, and not focus in on an object or person for as long as possible. I slowly feel myself going into a state where I can walk and run and talk, but to those around me I am just sitting, looking dreary eyed.
I have been told many times by my parents after parent teacher conferences that I daydream in class. Not quite: I am hypnotized.
In self-hypnosis and conscious dreaming, everything is perfect (unless you don’t want it to be). Events line up perfectly, just like my dream of Paris. And sometimes the dreams are not that far away from reality, like my mom in Paris.
During the trip, I did discover a not-too-small fault in conscious dreaming. The fault: sometimes the ability to change the course of the dream goes away, and your subconscious pours in while you’re conscious, an unstoppable waking nightmare. I dreamed I was staring at a silhouette on the balcony of the hotel. This may have had to do with my extreme, paranoid fear of being murdered. I could just see his shadow through the porous curtains of the window. Momentarily, I was scared, but then the apparition disappeared.
In the end, the trip only had a temporary impact. Once we got back, my mom went back to her normal self, and so did I. She started screaming “What!” again before I said something, and I started getting mad at her when she did it. Maybe she screams a little less? Maybe I like art more? Maybe somehow my consciousness was changed in some way I can’t know? But now I’m being too optimistic and, as you may remember, I don’t like an optimistic piece of writing. I do want to point out that I don’t like a too negative piece of writing, nor a jaded one. I know I have a “been there done that” attitude. Obviously, Paris was amazing; don’t think it wasn’t a valuable experience for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time and bond with Skeptic in a great city that happens to be her favorite. But, in the end, it was temporary fun, or pretty close to that.
This post was originally supposed to be about destiny but ended up not, as you can see. I don’t know what happened to destiny. And who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll realize that this trip did change my destination, or destiny, in life.
Everyone has a dream of how his or her life will play out. Sadly, I don’t think many people complete their true dream. But dreams, possible or not, shape the way people live no matter what.
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