Sunday, August 16, 2020

How can these books not exist?

I dreamed that I was walking down a street in Taiwan and saw that a new convenience store had opened. It was called Blue Harbor and had very unusual architecture -- something along the lines of a geodesic dome. The exterior walls were a deep indigo color and were covered with a sort of crust of white crystalline material that I understood was "bitter salt" and had been applied to the walls as a birdemic prophylactic. There was a window in the front similar to a drive-thru window at a fast-food place, and under the window was a large computer screen. Six or seven teenagers were standing in front of this screen playing some sort of video game using a controller that looked like a ping-pong paddle. They looked very happy, and the staff on the other side of the window were watching and laughing. Everyone was having fun.

Across the street from Blue Harbor was a place that I understood to be a "club," though in fact it looked exactly like a 7-Eleven. A young woman, apparently intoxicated and/or mentally disturbed, had wandered over from the club to Blue Harbor and was making a nuisance of herself, trying to talk to everyone who came near the entrance. She was holding a few little things that she was trying to sell to passersby at grossly inflated prices -- including, among other things, a pack of "cheese nabs," some tickets to the opera, and perhaps an ice cream sandwich or something of that nature.

Thinking someone ought to do something about this, I took the things away from her (easily done, as her mind was not at all clear) and pointed her back in the direction of the club she had come from. I then went into Blue Harbor to put the things on the shelves there.

Inside, Blue Harbor was rather dimly lit and in general felt more like a nightclub than like a convenience store. However, it plainly was a store, with shelves stocked with snacks, drinks, magazines, and such. I put the snacks the woman had been selling on the shelves that seemed appropriate and then wandered around looking for someplace to put the opera tickets.

I discovered a corner of the store where there were a few shelves of books, and I commented to someone (not sure who I was with), "This is a pretty big place. Look, they even have bookstores!" (not sure why I used the plural). Coming closer, I saw that there was even a small English-language section -- only 10 or 12 books, but I thought I might as well take a look. One of these was a "round book" -- that is, its pages were circular rather than rectangular -- and I wanted to look through it but couldn't because it was shrink-wrapped. The others were ordinary books and didn't look very new. I perused the spines and noticed these three titles:

  • Things Soon to Come
  • Britain as Another Planet
  • I Tried to Be Parents
I was pretty sure that Things Soon to Come was the first in a series of Christian apocalyptic novels along the lines of Left Behind; Britain as Another Planet was a travelogue of the Bill Bryson type; and I Tried to Be Parents was a humorous memoir about parenting. Nothing I was interested in.

I awoke feeling quite sure that these were titles of real books, and searched the Internet for them. Astonishingly, none of them exists. While I suppose it's not too surprising that there is no book with the ungrammatical title I Tried to Be Parents, I find it absolutely unbelievable that no one has ever written a book called Things Soon to Come. I mean, really, how is that possible? (The closest I can find is a Ron Nyberg book published last year, called Revelation Revealed: Of Jesus Christ and Things Soon to Come.) Britain as Another Planet also strikes me as an inevitable title -- someone simply must have written something called that, or if they haven't yet, they will soon -- but the phrase turns up not only no books but no Google hits at all.

This is in stark contrast to my usual book dreams, where the titles (Pyramids and Sphinxes from A to U; Angry Man, Angry Hog; A Kind of Shoe; There Are Monsters on the Land, Too) have a distinct whiff of dreamland about them and could hardly be expected to exist in the real world.

1 comment:

Sean G. said...

It says something that you would expect "Britain as Another Planet" to be an actual book. I chuckled at each title because they were all very dream-like to me. Unlike you they all caught my attention enough to want to crack them open. "Things Soon to Come" might be the least absurd but without a sub-heading there's something eerie and ominous about it.

If you're familiar with lucid dreaming techniques you might try going back and reading them.

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