Four-year-old Hugo said to me today, “Lindsay, I think maybe this is really a dream.” We were sitting at the table eating trail mix out of little bowls.
I answered sincerely, “Sometimes I think so too.” Then I asked who he thought was having the dream. Hugo looked out the window, tilted his head slightly and said, “I don’t know.”
This is why I enjoy working with children: they are so much more reasonable.
The other night I watched a documentary on the truth vs. the myth of UFO’s and alien abduction. According to this program, hypnotized individuals almost all present the same basic scene when they describe being abducted. The documentary contained an enactment of it, and the experience
was familiar to me indeed.
A paralyzed body, moved by an invisible force beyond its own volition, penetrates a barrier into a new space with bright lights above and large, long-limbed, big-eyed creatures all around, reaching out to the body.
I saw this happen at Kaiser Permanente Hospital last December. Right there in front of my eyes, my friend’s baby girl entered this world through the usual, wondrous and ordinary portal. I can hardly consider what the perceptual experience of this event must have been for the child, through her new, raw, unfocused sensory organs. From the many flooding lamps perched on slender silver extensions above, the first photons ever reached her eyeballs and sent shock waves to her unattenuated brain.
Another scene often comes to my mind, from an episode of the ’90’s T.V. show Northern Exposure, which I have seen many times. A once-Marine, now homeless Vietnam vet answers the question, “What happened?” to him. The character explains that, while working up a poll for a cable T.V. company, he saw glowing, colored lights appear. The lights came close, hovered and were gone. He describes the experience as a “Change of venue.”
My venue changed near the end of high school sometime. In my mind now, my mother told me the new nugget of information in the kitchen of the house in which I grew up. It is possible this exchange actually occurred there, but I think, in reality, that it was later, after we had left that house. In any case, she stood there right in front of me and told me that, many years prior, my father had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Change of venue.
There were so many memories of me screaming, “You’re crazy!’ as he chased me through the house, as he mocked me and told me I was stupid and that I didn’t know anything, and as he cracked my temples with the back of his hand. So many memories of my grandmother telling me I was the crazy one. So many times I had called my mother at work to tell her about the insanity that was happening and heard her accusingly say, “Lindsay, I can’t deal with this now.”
And they knew the whole time.
Hearing this news, I had two thoughts at once. One was that I was right. I had finally been vindicated. All the crazy bullshit he had done to me, I had known it was crazy- like for real crazy, creepy and twisted and wrong, but now I learned it was really crazy. Truly, it blew to be right, but that would not sink in until later. The other thought deflated the whole thing and made it not make any sense. They all already knew before I knew. They knew I was right, and it didn’t matter.
I had been on a crusade, which defined my life at that time, to prove he was insane and to make someone acknowledge the way he behaved. But it had already been certified and documented, and it did not matter at all. I was a chump.