Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Snakes!

I love road trips like this one. The kind that remind you that all across Middle America there are Best Westerns with individual names, Holidomes with themed indoor pools, stands of cottonwoods and Russian olive that betray the presence of water, signs for "Adult Superstore" and "Gateway Fundamental Bible Church" juxtaposed across the interstate, and long stretches of highway that are so straight and so flat and so relentlessly windswept that they are often closed during inclement weather. There is a world unto itself that exists only within the two-mile wide swath of land that follows the course of the Eisenhower Interstate System across the country.
Last night included a stopover in Topeka, in a hotel full of army recruits and a marriage counseling seminar. I arrived late, but got a room. I slept on a superfluous pile of pillows. I was reminded of how the Holiday Inn hospitality facial soap smells a little bit like Fruit Loops.
I awoke in the night in a cold sweat, heart pounding, breath shallow. I awoke from a dream in which I was desperately trying to kill, or otherwise escape, a rattlesnake. It is unpleasant enough to dream of having a poisonous rattler twining around your ankles and striking at your heels, as you vainly throw rocks at its head. But when the dream is only one in a string over a week long of unsettling (if not explicitly violent) dreams which wake you and prevent you from returning to a restful slumber, then something is wrong. Needless to say, something is wrong with me.
I am preparing for my dissertation defense. Maybe that's it.

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