Something reminded me of a dream I had some years ago about a young blind man. This was a real person who I had actually met in waking life, so I knew that not only was he blind and homeless, but that he had had the most awful childhood, having been rejected by his own family at an early age, and rejected since many times.
In my dream he was begging on the street. Unknown to him the cash machine in the wall behind him had broken and was spewing £20 notes out onto the pavement.
* * *
I once took it into my head to study for an MA in English Literature. For my final dissertation I wrote about a short story by Philip Dick: ‘I hope I shall arrive soon’. In the story, a man spends so many years in a state of desperation, longing to arrive at his destination, that when he finally does arrive there, he can’t believe it. He can’t be persuaded that this isn’t just another fantasy.
* * *
I bought a phone the other day which came with a single game in it called Snake Xenzia. You direct a tiny snake around the screen, picking up pieces of food. If you take it off the top edge of the screen, it reappears on the bottom. If you take it off the right, it reappears on the left. Each time it eats, the snake grows longer. The thing you have to avoid is the snake bumping into itself, at which point the phone vibrates sickeningly with the impact and the snake dies.
As the game progresses the screen becomes fuller and fuller with the snake’s coils, winding back and forth across the screen and in and out across its edges. If it is to continue to feed itself, the snake must negotiate an ever-growing labyrinth constructed of its own body and its own past.