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August 31, 2011

What makes you think you’re the one

I found myself in an impossible room. The first thing I noticed was that it was on fire, the walls were being massaged vigorously by curtains of flame that rose and ran across the ceiling in waves of blue and orange. I was conflicted by this discovery; I would have turned and exited the way I came, but there were dozens of other people in the room, and they didn’t seem to recognize the danger. In fact, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were laughing, most of them; they were laughing so hard, they were coughing. Some were even crying; tears were streaming down their faces, but it wasn’t like the smoke was getting in their eyes. They were just laughing so hard!

I tried to get their attention. “Hey! You guys! This room is on fire!” I said, using my urgent voice, but there was no sound, and I realized I couldn’t hear what should have been the sound of the raging fire, and the laughter and the coughing. I started to think that there was something funny going on. Maybe I was dreaming?

Then I heard the door latching quietly behind me. I looked around and saw that the door had vanished. Yeah, this had to be a dream, but that realization (or suspicion) didn’t solve the problem of the fire or the smoke, though, because, you know, if you die in your dream, you don’t wake up, so I started to look for another way out.

I saw that the far end of the room was darker, like maybe it wasn’t as on fire, so I headed over there, and sure enough I saw another door. Several people were standing around it, as if they were waiting to use it, but no one was going in or out. I asked, and then I excused myself to use it.

Here was a slanty little room, like with forced perspective, appearing to be a long hall, but really only a few feet deep. There were some pictures on the wall, photos of some formal affair, and there was a sink with a mirror. Regarding myself in the mirror, I noticed I was in bad need of a shave. I looked behind the mirror and found a razor and a cup of shaving soap, and I lathered up.

After I trimmed my beard, I rinsed, and, reaching for a towel, I found a fine black suit. Ha ha! This was working out nicely. Of course, it was my size. I put it on and was feeling awfully dapper, a bit like James Bond, you know, and I went to leave the little room.

I was met, on the other side of the door, by an ingenue. There was a standard conversation about needing to “Get the hell out of there!” She took my hand, and we ran.

And then, for some reason, we were underwater. I tied a rope around my waist and swam like hell, but when we surfaced in the middle of nowhere, the ingenue said she hadn’t signed up for water stunts, climbed out and walked away. Yes, this had to be a dream.

Then there was a jump cut. I was at another party. There was no fire. My suit was dry, and I was handed a glass of champagne by a man with a tray. Whoever was in charge of this dream didn’t know me very well. I drink bourbon.

 

For further consideration: You may have missed Jeffrey Lee Puckett’s review of Lady Antebellum’s recent concert (The Courier-Journal, Aug. 20); it was on page B6, just above the obituaries. Perfectly unimpressed by the concert, Mr. Puckett savaged its blandness, giving props only to the band’s 2009 hit, “Need You Now,” which he described as a “seamless piece of emotional, effective pop.”

The readers’ comments (following the review on the paper’s website) are particularly funny.

Meanwhile, I found a compelling cover of “Need You Now” (on YouTube) by a young woman who performs under the name Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Her duet partner kind of ruins it (apparently on purpose), but her other clips, for songs like “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” are about as sweet as pop music has ever been. Be sure to check those out.

Oh, and while you’re at it, do a YouTube search on “Get out of there.” Seriously.