Saturday, April 26, 2008


I was getting tomorrow's shirt from the car downstairs. I'd left everything in the hotel room except the car keys and the room key. On the way back, shirt in hand, I sensed the oddness of the very different types of keys I was using. Then I felt the nakedness of being in a strange place with no ID or anyone who knows me.

On the way to the room I had a recurring daymare and considered what might happen if I forgot my room number - or worse, if numbers ceased suddenly to make any sense. I would not be able to find my room. What if I wandered from the hotel and could not find my way back? How would anyone know who I was? Realizing that my memory was the only thing connecting me to my ID, my things, my place in the world, and realizing that memory relies on a series of cells and chemicals in my brain, it seems to fragile, so provisional. I felt a little thrill of fear.

Then I put my key in my lock, got back into my room, and shook the idea from my head with a grin and typed this. That night I had a recurring nightmare where I'm driving my car with the seat all the way reclined and my eyes tight shut. I can't figure out which pedal is the brake and which is the gas, the car is speeding up, I just know I'm coming up on a mountainous curvy stretch or into a crowded town, and my eyelids will not open and I can't make my muscles sit up. It goes on and on and I can't believe I haven't crashed or killed anyone yet.

A little stress at work lately...


Alex said...

My first weeks in Japan felt like that. Couldn't read, couldn't speak, it was a difficult position to be in. It was also great motivation to learn the language.

Steve Emery said...

Alex, I hadn't thought how easy it would be to make my day-mare come true by immersing yourself alone in a foreign country - especially one as culturally different as Japan... Wow. And I guess people can have the same experience coming here. I think of all the immigrants who came to the U.S. after WWII, with nothing but a suitcase, in many cases. You must really feel like part of yourself is just gone - invisible to everyone around you. Your past erased, in some ways.

Thanks for commenting.