Monday, June 21, 2021

Mirror dreams

René Magritte, La Reproduction interdite (1937)

To the ones who have slipped into the mirror . . .

Two dreams last night that felt significant.

In the first, I was wearing a suit and tie (something I have not done in the real world in nearly 20 years) and looking in the mirror, and I noticed that some trick of the reflection made it look as if my head was not attached to my neck but was instead perched on my right shoulder. "Hey, I look like St. Denis!" I thought to myself, and I decided I should take a photo of this funny-looking reflection. Before I could do so, though, I noticed another oddity: that the mirror was reflecting the back of my torso rather than my front. I realized that to get the proper effect -- guy with his head on his shoulder -- I would have to take off my jacket, tie, and shirt and put them all back on back-to-front. As I was about to do this, the dream faded out.

In the second dream, I walked into a room that seemed vaguely eightiesy in terms of decor and sat down on a brown plaid sofa. In front of me was an appropriately "period" CRT television. It was turned on, but I didn't really notice what was playing because I was preoccupied with something else: the reflection on the glass surface of the screen. It was a reflection of me, sitting on the sofa -- but wearing different clothes! And although I was alone on the sofa, the reflection on the TV screen showed a woman sitting next to me. (I thought of her in the dream as "my sister," but she looked exactly like my wife.) I realized that I was not seeing my current reflection but rather a reflection of some previous time I had been in the same room. Somehow the TV had recorded my reflection and was now playing it back. I thought, How is that even possible? How can a glass surface record or store a reflection? But there it was. And then I started to panic, thinking -- Could any of my old reflections be played back on this TV, for anyone who happens to come in and turn it on? Had I ever done anything embarrassing in this room? Anything private? Anything wrong?

And I woke up.

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