Avoiding the Disease

My dream this morning was a contagion/zombie movie. It went on longer than any dream should naturally persist. Usually my dreams are random vignettes that morph into each other; this one was different in its thematic tenacity.

We’ve all seen zombie movies. A germ spreads through contact from infected people to new hosts. Social interactions take on a new paranoia, everybody’s wary of who might be infected, who might be out to spread the disease, who might be safe (and you can never be too sure). As a result, people live and move alone or in trusted circles. Society falls apart, but some functions of it still go on at a new level. Food production still has to go on; transportation still has to go on; cities have to organize eradication campaigns; bridges become checkpoints; people mix and mingle, but only after proof that they’re clean.

As a result, I think this dream became something of an allegory for my own life. Walking along to some standard of solitary. Safer that way, I guess. Disturbing to think of it in this light. People are icky, and you’ve gotta sniff out who is out to do you harm. You need systems, tests, methods to keep yourself and everybody near you clean and safe. No sharing, no trust, no groups larger than 5, no exchange of fluids, no physical contact, nothing that could accidentally spread the contagion.

You’d think this would be inspired by every zombie movie, but you’d be half right. There were elements of them all in there. But it was my inner struggle with trust in others that fueled this mental screenplay. That it hung on and clung to me is the truly scary part. But really, in the end, it was only a dream. Right?

Echo Chamber, Empty Room

On occasion, I wonder if my voice is really being heard. Don’t use it that often, but when I do, it’s nice to get feedback. Hell, even an echo off the back wall would be good enough. It’s easy enough to Like, Comment, or Share in this modern age. But, y’know, sometimes I also have to wonder if either I’m being technologically walled-off into my own silo, or if what I’m saying just doesn’t warrant response, or if others who would typically respond — were they to hear me — are otherwise distracted with their own lives.

You just have to wonder sometimes, right?

Old Band, Old Man

Musically, my tastes and knowledge are stuck in the period of time before 2001. I mean, yeah, there’s a few modern bands and projects that I find pretty cool, but with regards to who all the crazy kids are listening to these days, I’m flummoxed. The amount of new music worth listening to has multiplied geometrically, and it’s simply not possible to know who to listen to. In the old days, we had the record labels to rely on as the gatekeepers of taste. Their curators helped us filter out the trash and nonsense. But now that the labels are irrelevant dinosaurs, who’s to tell shiny from shitty?

I guess I could listen to my friends and their talk about who’s who. That’s usually how most knowledge is passed around. But with so many people in my life (most of them at a distant orbit), trying to pick one voice from the din and follow their suggestions without wasting effort, attention, and resources on a new band is something I’m not really in the mood to do these days.

My trepidations in finding new entertainment is kinda like my mother’s trepidation in learning anything about computers. There’s just too much to pick up. Any one thing to cling on to is enough, but what if it’s a thin thread that will snap?

Is this what growing into middle age is like?

Burning Sober

my mood and my sight
are like day and night
drunken stars in safe skies
culled by morning sunrise
like a light in the mirror
my true nature is clearer
and the song of my heart
becomes the shameful way to start
my day