Bought a knife yesterday. Aside from the Phillips-head, which will be used for tightening loose screws on our trekking poles, most gadgets may not find a place on this trip. Say what you want about my penis, but it had the biggest blade I’ve ever seen on a Swiss Army. 4.5-inches. The serrated knife was the same length, giving me 9 inches of protection and bread-cutting ability. Major selling points for me. A leather punch, a toothpick, tweezers, bottle opener, can opener. To enumerate the number of ways these tools will be useful is a much shorter list than the extras that seem like novelty.
In spite of my lifelong record of losing Swiss Army knives (and even finding a way to fold the blade on my hand once long ago), I asked Nic if I could be the one who always held it. Say what you want about my penis, but what if I get in a knife fight in Bangkok? I’ve got the superior reach and have watched way more movies with knife fights than Nic; it stands to reason that I should be the bearer of this responsibility. Besides, I am older and have learned from all my mistakes. A sometimes-short fuse (with no actual violence of action on record) has been tempered over the years. And the penchant for violent thoughts have been expurgated on the page, therefore diffused in fantastical, gothic realism. But can you take the media out of the American?
I’ve stated before that there are two kinds of dreams. One is to be discarded as corrupt; media dreams are nothing but the infiltration of the thoughts and fantasies of some other person or persons. The other kind of dream is one of pure subconscious desire or fear; the incidents and people therein representing an aspect of the Self. This is elemental to my belief system. While it is likely there are rarely these purely “corrupt” dreams or purely “pure” dreams (how can we, after all, really extract ourselves from our environment or vice versa?), I wonder from whence my dream of yesternight came.
After feeling guilt about taking a large hostel room for myself from a poor white Christian family in what reminded me of my old neighborhood in Washington Heights, the husband of the family started sending me text messages and photos of Jesus-related items. I had other business, though. I was planning a swindle of the local African-American drug dealer (which makes no sense because Washington Heights is a Puerto Rican neighborhood). I ran from the drug-hiding spot, at ground-level in some back alley. I passed the drug dealer; he took no notice of me. However, I suspected he would put the pieces together and would be following me post-haste. Suddenly I was on a roof, running. I stopped and received another Christian propaganda text message from Christian father. Next I knew, I was back on ground level, slowing up because a multi-racial group of men were off to either side of the sidewalk, calling after me that I was a cop, but they were going to let me keep walking unmolested. However, one of the guys, a Puerto Rican, took out a switchblade and slashed it through the air, smiling, standing in my way and talking shit. His buddies told him to put the knife away and let me pass, so he did. I walked toward him to get past him; he continued talking shit. I said, “That’s it. Let’s go!” And I took out my 4.5 inch Swiss Army blade; he took out his blade again. We started circling each other, throwing little muay thai kicks at the knees and calves to distract and move in for a slice or puncture.
I woke up, my heart racing. I had been laying on my left side, Nic was facing me in bed. I had awoken not because I was about to die (as often happens in dreams), but I had actually kicked out with my right foot. I don’t know if I actually kicked Nic; I don’t even know if Nic remembers this happening—we’ve yet to talk about it this morning. But, if I am trying to reestablish communication with my subconscious in order to learn about—and be at peace with—my entire Self and surroundings, what am I to make of this dream? I head to lands where aggressive behavior is not a part of the culture (Thailand, Nepal). On the other hand, just like my own country, each of these countries has a past of war and genocide, namely Viet Nam and Cambodia. Maybe you can’t take the media out of the American, but can you really take the violence out of Man?