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(if you should learn to do this will your toys of knowing, you will achieve a form of liberty more valuable than any other skill)
three men : a café : the unknownWord
This event took place in Santa Rosa, on the bottom floor of an apartment I once occupied there on M. Ave.
It was the night before the first attack on Iraq, in the 90’s. The previous night, I’d experienced a long cognitive adventure, and I was fairly exhausted. Upstairs, in my room — it was too noisy to sleep due to my roommate’s amorous occupation with his girlfriend. As it was very late, I went downstairs to attempt to get some sleep on the couch. I lay down upon the couch and I heard something bizarre happening in the kitchen, and after a moment of consideration I recognized that apparently at least three rats were either fighting each other, or dying, on the kitchen floor. I could hear them squealing, and the strange sound of their claws against the linoleum. I was far too tired to investigate, but I sat up — as if to express my frustration to myself, there in the dark, facing a long bookcase filled with science-fiction and other literature.
I was sitting there in the dark bemoaning my ill fortune and straining to understand why rats should be a: in my home, b: in my kitchen, and c: fighting arduously deep in the a.m. when a large, rather smoky black lens-shape appeared in the air before me, and rapidly resolved into a kind of ‘very short tunnel’ that led to something ‘very far away’.
Through this porthole I could see a man sitting at a table, from his right profile, and a door was on the other side of him, behind him — with windows in it. On his opposite side were more windows. It was an overcast day there, and the general time-references I could see indicated it was ‘modern times’ or approximately our common timeline.
The man was in his late 20’s or early 30’s and somewhat darkly complected. He had short, stylish black hair and the kind of masculine facial features that would make for a model. He was ‘stylishly’ unshaven, and it gave him a somewhat arrogant air.
Almost as quickly as I noticed him, the window departed from before me — or opened up, and I became the window. There was no more ‘tunnel’ and I was no longer consciously aware of my room or previous circumstance. I was entirely attentive to the situation at hand, which I found fascinating (and was aware of the seeming impossibility of).
The man at the table noticed me, and I noticed him. He did not make eye contact, but instead noticed me in some other place — we noticed each other there — and he wanted no part of my presence or conversation, so there was no meaning-contact. He made no outward gesture of having noticed anything, and anyone watching him would not have guessed anything at all had transpired. I sensed he was passively, but overtly rejecting me — he clearly did not desire any part of my presence — but was just as clearly (to me) aware of it.
A small amount of time passed. I could see people moving by outside, but my perspective was primarily of the man, his table, and the door. He had a black leather coat hung over a chairback, and as I noticed that, I saw two other men entering, each wearing dark sunglasses. Both wore longcoats, overcoats really. One was grey, and the other white. The one in white had short, spiky blond hair. All were older than me, by at least 4 or five years (I was about 24 at the time). Both of them instantly noticed me, and seemed to converse silently with the man at the table, who was obviously (to me) their companion.
The grey man actually pretended not to notice me at all, and thus made no response positive or otherwise to my presence – but again I was internally certain (I could feel) that he was aware of me.
Only the man in white acknowledged me. He faced me, removed his glasses and addressed in me the ‘new shared space’ I was occupying. We spoke there without really speaking — although wordLike signals (which were easily interpreted into words) were used. They were more gestures that had clear semantic content than actual words — and yet I ‘spoke and heard’ them as though subvocalizing, or hearing one’s own thoughts translated into words.
“You do not belong here.” I indicated that I was aware of this feeling from the others. “No, I am afraid you don’t understand. You actually do not belong here.”
The man at the table noticed the arrival of his friends and got his coat as he rose, preparing to wear it and depart. I realized they were going to leave, and I wanted to go with them urgently. I did not seem to have my normal feelings — it was like my consciousness was comprised of ‘mostly curiosity’. I really wanted to remain amongst them for some reason.
As they began to leave I could feel myself being pulled with them. The other two men exited first, and the blond man turned around after heading toward the door and faced me again.
“Really, look. I understand that you want to go with us — but you can’t. You don’t (have something that we have that makes it ok for us to be/belong) here. Even if you could come with us, before you could you’d first have to (unknown meaning referent).”
The last ‘signal’ was entirely undecipherable. I’d received it clearly, but it ‘could not be translated by me’. I actually sort of let go of them inwardly for a moment while I considered what the missing term might mean. I thought that it could mean death.
What if it did mean death? I would have to die before I could go with them? If it was death, why didn’t he say death? In my simple state of focused awareness, I decided that — whatever it was — I was going with them.
As they were all exiting the café I was still being ‘pulled’ perceptually along with their group for a moment — but when I began to consider the idea of the missing term, the connectivity seemed to thicken and become stodgy. It slowed rapidly. By the time I’d finished an instant of consideration — I felt whatever was connecting me to them dissolve.
My perspective resolved back into the tunnel as they left my range of sight, and I could again see my regular room. The murky black lens was still there for a moment, and then it faded toward its center, and was gone.
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