26 May 2008

Letter 1.43

The night before your letter arrived I had a dream about you, dear sister l dreamt that either your birthday or wedding anniversary was approaching - I'm not certain which - and I wanted to give you a present, namely, a new pair of eyeglasses. The first problem was that being a monk, I do not handle money. There was, in the dream, some attempt to have someone else manage this for me: the details are uncertain, but it presumably worked out satisfactorily, since the rest of the dream did not refer to it at all. The second problem was that I did not have your prescription, and I remember an eye doctor to whom I was dramatically conversing with explaining in a tone of infinite regret that though he could make adjustable glasses, he could not make them adjust to all prescriptions: that it was a case of prescription first and adjustment afterwards. Then, of course, I woke up. The next day your letter arrived. I was very much mystified both by the coincidence and by the dream itself, since 'adjustable glasses' sounds like such a reasonable phrase, but, like the eye doctor, I can't imagine what it means. I was even more mystified the next day, however, for the night after your letter I had another dream, which consisted solely of me sitting in front of a typewriter (which I do not have) at a desk (which I do have) in a room which is on the Island but in which I do not live, writing a very regretful letter to you informing you of the many reasons why I was unable to give you a pair of prescription eyeglasses for either your birthday or wedding anniversary. I remember nothing else about that dream. At any rate, this letter is to inform you, very regretfully, that I will be unable to give you a pair of prescription eyeglasses for either your birthday or your wedding anniversary or any other occasion, and I'm very sorry about it, but that's the way it is. ESP? Retroactive precognition? Telepathy? Lunacy? At any rate, it has occurred to me, while writing this letter, that you wear contact lenses, not glasses, so the dream, it seems, is outdated.

I don't know if I'm glad or sorry to hear that apartment buildings don't have meditation rooms - and probably not only not in LA. I've been informed recently, however, that both the Beatles and Frank Sinatra's wife practice meditation under a Hindu yogi and have renounced several pleasures and LSD. This sounds even more fantastic than apartment buildings, and totally unbelievable; it is, therefore, probably true, but I hope you will be able to deny it for me.

One of the dáyakas (supporters) of the Island who was here the other day told me that he had seen me outside the Island. Not having left the Island in some time, I enquired further, and learned that he believed that he, while on a pilgrimage last month, saw me wearing a wrist watch at the zoo. Most peculiar. I have no recollection at all of ever having been on a pilgrimage to the zoo with or without a wrist-watch. I didn't even know it was considered a pilgrimage site. I didn't even know, in fact, that there is a zoo; but if these things keep happening often enough, and convince me that everybody really is mad, then the zoo, or the jungle, will be the safest and sanest place, and I shall retreat to one of them forever…

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