London Reverse Diaries I - Day 9

Day 9 – Monday 22nd of July 2013

Obsessed as I am with planning, I had my two suitcases (one large, one small), and my backpack prepared almost to the latest detail as early as Sunday morning, because I knew how it would get otherwise: “don’t delay the inevitable, don’t rush handling last minute details knowing what will happen”, I say to myself, “so that in case the unexpected happens, you are prepared”. Setting the clock to ring on Monday morning at 6:00AM was the perfect timing to smooth the transition going from a life experience to the next. And so it went precisely: at 6:00AM, Big Ben bells were ringing on my iPhone which was powered during the night, attached through a European to UK power adapted, to the plug in the wall. Putting the phone at a distance forces me to stand up, make three steps, take the device, swipe the screen and stop the music. When are asleep, the brain still processes external information such as a sound at the same speed as during waking time, but the time it takes for that sound to go from the audio-temporal cortex to the prefrontal cortex is, I guess, much slower because of the inhibition on attention and arousing functions due to the sleeping state. The first ring of the bell filled in immensely the void of my prefrontal cortex, giving a sensation of time slowness and the opportunity for a last dream to be played, or replayed in the theatre of my mind. I am convinced that most of dreams we experience during transition state from sleep to awakening stand in objective, real time of the clock, for a few seconds, maybe less, maybe just one second, and even less than that, but subjectively it might be in some extreme cases like a three-hour long epic movie we are seeing or acting, full of action, color, music and love. The first sound echoed for a long time. I don’t remember the dream I made, I just know I had an enduring sensation lasting a few seconds after I took attention of the bell; the sensation that it was possibly set in “Afghanistan”; it’s the first word which popped up in my mind. According to Freud’s free association method, we should pay attention to the connections between words when we evoke a dream (or a distant memory), in other words, when the unconscious is manifesting itself through the tip of the iceberg metaphor. What comes next after “Afghanistan” is “desert”, “red”, “Mars” (the planet), “Arnold Schwarzenegger” (in … my memory says “True Lies” but it is not the title of that movie…); I know also, thanks to Doctor Freud, that a slip of the tongue, a lapse in memory, a small hole, is as revealing as a complete story… that’s intriguing… “True Lies”… What is the underlying title I’m trying to uncover? “Red Planet”, “Albedo”, “Total Recall”…. Here I am, it was in that movie “Total Recall” where Arnold was playing, it was a strange scenario inspired by one Philip K. Dick’s short stories on alternating realities (not a surprise when you know the kind of stuff P.K. Dick wrote). Very nice this chain of associations: from “True Lies” to “Total Recall”. What is it that my unconscious is trying to help me totally recall? Honestly, I have no clue. I try another route of associations: from “Afghanistan” I’m going to an action, sci-fi movie, where the overlapping theme is about warfare, and indeed, this puts me back into remembering discussions I had this week with the guys working for the IT Security company I mentioned earlier (see Day 2 post of 15th July), those three people had field experience in combat zones, Iraq in 2003, then Afghanistan, then also Somalia (working as private contractors). Except for a few unconscious insights, there is nothing more in memory or dream recollection than a network of words, recent experiences and a bit of transformation of “psychic material”. Does that lead somewhere to me, today, as of this moment? Nowhere. There is no hidden meaning in the message, just the media, conveying random thoughts. Maybe the “true” difference between lying on a pile of lies and being honest with ourselves is clearing something out of the noise, acting in a creative way upon our chaotic, unconscious, unspoken Self. This last piece of my diary is not much original, well written, well carved out of a brute material, but it is the best I am able to produce now.

The Eurostar leaves at 8:58AM. I am onboard, relaxed.

At 09:26 still in the UK for a few minutes before we enter the underwater tunnel for twenty minutes in the dark. The English countryside is gently undulating. Erika is the name of our fleet manager.

At 09:40 we enter the tunnel. All communications to the external world are shut down. Is it as traveling on the far side of the Moon? 

At 10:03 we go out of the tunnel. We’ve successfully gone across the English Channel, and this is France now.

And it marks the end of this diary.

Next episode in reverse order: Day 8 - Sunday 21st of July

The Eurostar


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