Dreamed 1995/2/6 by Chris Wayan
I wander down to a beach on the Bay. A beautiful day--rippling dappled little clouds over streaks and diamonds of black and brown and pale sand. Millionaires' houses stud the beach, atop concrete columns, like stone mushrooms. A tall thin man, dressed very elegantly, beckons me up to one of these terraces. He wants to talk to me: "I need a totally outside opinion on... well, I can't discuss it out here."
What the hell. I've always wanted to tour these mansions. I climb the ladder. Wonderful view of East Bay, Marin, bridges. The Bay looks as clean as the ocean--improved since I was down here last. His house has big open greenhousy rooms with computers and synthesizers, ferns and trees, and antique Chinese vases. Pleasant.
One odd thing--his environment, from the clouds and sand to his house to his clothes to his own skin, all have similar, complex textures: sandy, pied, freckled. Sparkles or grit of one color on another. Gives an elegant, spacious, restful feeling, I like it--and lack it in my life.
Yet he's an anxious and troubled man. He's a professional wizard--a good one, commanding fees as high as a top surgeon. Despite the prestige, the money, the gorgeous house and trophy wife (I'm being catty, her aura is nice), he's clearly unhappy. That's what he wants me to confirm or deny. And explain!
He's reduced to asking strangers!
Well, no, me. I'm not exactly anyone. His magic may have tipped him off I'm a good one to ask. I am.
For when people ask me for advice, I tell them the blunt truth. "It's obvious you're cooking up your own misery. Objectively, your life is fine. The aura here is clear, good, clean."
He lies down on the deck, stares out. Pacing, I nearly knock over a huge indigo urn.
Don't think it's the cause of his anxiety, but his obsession with spots is a side of his character that I suspect he takes for granted, so I ask him about it.
He's bewildered. Might as well mention water to a fish! Of course objects must have texture!
I casually mention that years ago I did a similar "naive diagnosis" for the millionaire sorcerer next door. He leaps up in alarm, and runs me through a spell detector, terrified that I'm a sort of stealth virus or bomb carrier, from his rivals, or the guy next door--even though HE asked ME in. I roll my eyes and walk through it, saying "I already know what you'll find--same as the last wizard! Strong native ability, a few prosthetic magics I set up unconsciously myself, but no professional stuff--no SPELLS. I'm a shaman, not a wizard. Maybe some traces from meeting other wizards like you--they tend to confide in me. But I'm not a bomb, and YOU'RE not an idiot." By now, I know the routine. I meet a lot of professionals like this--jealous of their skills and prestige, secretly scared of rivals.
They can't imagine someone who doesn't want to use magic...
Just be magic.
Rich insecure wizard: 1) in life-drawing class, every artist I talked to put down their own work! 2) my friend Dawn's apt has a high view like this. She's told me of professional rivalries where she works. Glad I'm spared those pecking-order fights. My choice to be poor but independent suddenly looked good. If I'd pushed to make it professionally, I might have become this rich, insecure man. His fear's not a personal quirk but institutional; and I've avoided it. Drifting? When business eats people like me alive! I was right to drop out.
Well! So I could have ten times the money I do, and a nice house, a cute lover, pretty views... no difference! Not if I still fear everyone and barricade myself, see rivalry where it isn't!
But there's hope: in the dream, I--the poor I--have some serenity.
Yet there's something to be said for the rich wizard, too. For some time I've been trying to dream of myself in various futures. His house felt good--like home. Possessions are problematic for many folks, but his didn't feel toxic to me at all. The dream's saying I CAN handle money and possessions without them possessing me. If I can get them without acquiring his attitude, too.
Only that attitude, and the social structure it implied, were problems. But was it that jealousy that drove his ambition, won him the wealth to build a good house? One he then couldn't enjoy?
Paradox! And one I've narrowly avoided living... so far.
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