Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘university town

“I’m intent on contemplating the two symmetrical hills…”

The truth before the last one.

The reality we are conscious of, as it was already displaced for quite a time.

Only our automatic reflexes, gestures and night dreams confirm the new reality, which our consciousness steadfastly refuses to see, admit and confront.

Time out of joint?

I am riding in a familiar environment and suddenly I see dozens of regular buildings growing from earth, on both sides of the road. The scene damaged my expectation of how beautiful the quaint village looked like, a few months ago.

I got a ride with Iranian acquaintances and they paid a quick visit to a young Iranian woman. They said that she is having an open house to rent or sell her apartment.

The young lady was sitting on a couch outside the door of her apartment to welcome the visitors, mostly Iranians. No one stepped inside. They simply handed her small amount of cash as “down payment” and they left.

She told me that the word spread that she needs a plane ticket to definitely go back home, and this is the custom to financially aid the departing Iranians.

This first part was a night dream before I realized that I was dreaming, and my partial consciousness started to weave a story and getting engaged in the dream.

Now, we are heading to another Iranian guy whom I don’t know and I read the name of “Jean Dayeh” on one of the houses in the entrance of the complex. I’m surprised and wondering “What this Lebanese history investigator on the life of Antoun Saadeh and his Syrian Nation Social party is doing here?”. I decided that I should be paying him a visit before I leave this quaint village.

It is dark. As we are driving back, and on a whim, I asked the driver to drop me at the Iranian lady’s apartment, to the astonishment of my acquaintances.

This part is the semi dream-like phase and I got up, wide awake. I read for an hour and re-integrated the bed, eyes closed and I resumed weaving a story around the dream, since I decided that the young lady is beautiful and worth conversing with her.

Feyrouza welcomed me, as if it was the most natural of behaviors. I felt comfortable and I wanted to indulge in a friendly, open-hearted conversation. The expectation was shared, and that was my feeling.

I said: “I overheard that you recently divorced”. She admitted this fact with no further explanations, and I was not about to ruin the conversation with platitudes.

I said: “Do you feel that going back home is a decision to leave behind any hopes for a better life and prosperous future?”

A minutes silence revealed a realization that was sinking in. She said hesitatingly:

“My uncle, from my mother side, has a project for me.”

With a chuckle, she resumed “And I think that an old school friend has been investigating my whereabouts and my recurring status”

I cannot make small talks: I usually don’t speak unless I have a solution, even if I had no experience or expertise on the subject.

Uncharacteristically of me, I felt talking just to open up opportunities for Feyrouza to vent off the complex ideas that were clinking in her brain, producing more noise than harmonious string of possibilities.

I said: “I feel that your mind is set to get married and have children in your homeland. Sort of assuming that the extended family will provide the proper support system to raise a family?”

She replied: “Most of the married women who are expecting children abroad find their mothers and sisters visiting them for extended time when waiting to give birth. My apprehension is that I don’t find myself trained to be a good host for relatives who are not used to the customs in this country.”

I said: “I never were able to invite anyone of my family to pay me a visit. I never were able to rent an apartment or even purchase an old car. Playing host requires plenty of abundance and means, since our families are used to a lavish life-style back home. Is that part of your difficulties? Unable to figure out a financial self-autonomy status?”

It seems I gave her an exit reply: “We don’t talk about finances in our customs. And I’m sorry you had difficult years studying abroad without much family help and support”

I said: “I have this character flaw: I was never able to ask a favor from anyone. I don’t recall demanded any stipend from my father or mother. I lived the frugal life and denied myself the experience of appreciating luxury items, simply because I could never bring myself to ask for money.

You know, only by asking for favors you open up the best opportunities to making long lasting friends.  The problem is that most connections require exchange of favors, and I never had this confidence that I’ll be capable of returning favors in kinds.”

I had to change the subject and said: “I did my studies in a university town. And it was completely flat for miles around. Your university is located in a versatile landscape.  For example, when the students leave for Thanksgiving, how you used to fill the time and space? Did you go trekking with a group of friends in the neighboring wilderness?”

She replied: “Great idea. Wonder why my group is not into such relaxing physical exercises in nature?”

We decided for a backpack trekking to the northern chain of hills, an hour walk uphill, after we drove for half an hour to the base of our destination.

The climb was mostly smooth with a few difficult abrupt section that are surmountable without rope and gears: We didn’t bring any kinds of gears since we were no professional climbers and never thought of discovering serious troubles on a small hill.

I usually wrap my head with a large handkerchief or a light towel under my hat or cap. The towel keeps my head cool and protect my neck from sun rays. All I do is to wring the towel from sweat and recover my head.

The view on the top was glorious. I had not been to the Himalaya for comparison sake, though I managed to climb the Sannine Top in Lebanon to the “French Room” and the clouds obstructed the views of the environs.

As usually, once on the top, I get off all my shirts to dry my skin and dry my shirts, as well as removing my shoes and socks. I laid down and rested my head on my backpack. Kind of a habit.

Feyrouza was not disturbed, but she had to insert a comment. She said: “You selected the best spot. Gallantry is no longer a la mode once we live for a short period in a western State.”

She was standing over me, all her tops removed.

I ended giving my spot to my companion.

She had a wonderful view, all the way to the seashores. My view shrank to two symmetrical small hills, my head resting on her lap and facing her eyes.

One of the hill was more exposed to the sun rays and was covered with a thin layer of transpiration. This shiny hill looked more active and the other sister stoically rooted in the shadow of the shiny hill.

Within an hour, a thick cloud obscured the sun and we felt the chill. It was time to descend from the top.

The covered hills followed in our foot steps.

Covered, uncovered.

That’s how Mystery rules.

Covered with myths, most of them lacking imagination, and idiosyncrasies based on customs and traditions of daily life.


That is how I felt when I suddenly decided to definitely return home: I didn’t expect any bright prospect to come to me once I reached home. No valid job, mostly unfamiliar environment after decades of  self- “exile”, a long time of living alone, no relatives and incognito in a large city.

I was leaving my individual freedom with no relatives around me and was about to have family and community meddling in my life… what they expected from me, how the neighbors perceive me…

Lost in recurring sad night dreams: Wandering around this flat university town..

It is good to have a context to my horrible recurring night dreams, particularly those re-run dreams that evolve with slight alterations, due to my attempts for Lucid Dream editing.

I spent about 8 years in a flat university town, on and off on two visits, for “continuing education” purposes.

The first trip lasted 2 years and was great in many aspects of novelty, adventure, surprises, experiences, aches, joy, frustration… and youth. The USA was open to foreign students and the universities were facilitated their living and enrollment. The Iranian students were the most engaged and active, demanding the fall of the Shah regime…

Six years later, my second trip extended beyond my expectation for another 6 years of total boredom, helplessness, poverty, closed horizon, and getting much older than my classmates and acquaintances…

In both visits I had a return ticket that I never used. My visa was good for 5 years, but I never could afford to return and visit my folks during the civil war…

During my second extended stay, the USA was closing down its welcoming doors and most research grants were funded by the military: Even permanent residents were turned down on account of top secret research.  Laws relevant to health and safety in the workplace were relaxed, ignored and numbers of inspectors cut down. A period covering Reagan and Bush Sr.

Actually, my decision to leave for another stint had no sense. Except this feeling of closed horizons in Lebanon: The civil war was on, but the year I left witnessed a long reprieve and my family could not comprehend my decision.

A month after I settled in the university town, the civil war broke up again, much violent and haphazard than previously. And my parents lived for 6 months in the basement.

As in the first rip, I didn’t apply or tried to connect and plan anything:  I had to be in the place and take it from there. I could offer the excuse that the postal services and phone connections were not functioning in Lebanon, but I am the type who abhor planning in advance for critical decisions, except the most futile and irrelevant decisions.

I wrote about my experiences in my auto-biography, and this post is about my recurring harassing dreams.

The harassing part of these scenarios is that the various versions insist on blending the worst depressing and melancholic of events in both trips.  My Lucid efforts to mix in a few refreshing stories are frequently overruled.

And the tackiest of all is that each version is shot as if I am back on a third, a fourth trip. And to do what?

Like I didn’t finish my dissertation and I’m trying to get rid of this burden once for all. It is not the kind of dissertations that if you read some more in the literature you can reach a closure. No, you have just a couple of short articles on the topic and the authors have admitted that they don’t know of a solution. And it is a mathematical problem for someone who is no mathematician, about optimizing stochastic demands for production. Don’t expect me to expound on these terms: I am in no mood for these craps.

I admit that I was not pleased with either my master’s thesis or my PhD dissertation and I feel that I didn’t get a closure academically.

Or like I am invited to give a lecture and I overstayed for a few nights, roaming these square blocks on the north side of the campus, and trying to discover anything new that replaced the older images. The post office is no longer for receiving hard copies and the friendly coffee shops were replaced by multinational franchises…

Or I’m biking at night going home and cannot recollect which apartment I’m living in: I moved so many times in all kinds of sleeping arrangements that I’m totally disoriented. And I’m thinking hard of any “friend” to visit in order to get my memory at ease…

Or I’m wandering in this flat town and realizing that I have no cash, no checks and no credit cards. If I had a credit card I cannot remember the password: It has been so long that I lately used any of these financial facilities.  And the only bank in town is not at a walking or even a biking distance. In the next version, I should open a branch of the bank on these stupid blocks.

There used to be “specialized” bars for singers and fans of Grateful Dead or Bob Marley… and I don’t see them in my dreams. Even the nude bar of Walter Mitty never appears in these dreams… And I know that my dream brain is pretty artistic and inventive, and I wish my dream brain would insert a few scenes of these bars and enjoy fully what I didn’t in real life.

One of the versions made me walk a few hills and noticed historical sites, in this totally flat town with no history at all. This flat university town gets a few colors at the start of the Fall season as students flocks from the southern States and the beginning of the football season. The stadium is packed with the university red and white colors and I had to submit to the boring and unimaginative US fiesta-types: All boozing and shouting and screaming and cursing and nothing to show for in tradition and culture.

A flat university town that empties at Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. The whole town is mine and nothing that matter: Nowhere to investigate, climb, get lost in a forest… Except a nasty wind whirling a few leaves in a desolate moonish landscape…

It was my mistake never to find out how this university was established. I conjecture that it might have been a military barrack for further expansion of the US territory down south, or maybe a concentration camp for native Indians…

The native Indians claim that tornadoes never hit this flat town, on account that it is bordered by small rivers? While Dell City, 20 miles north and bordering Oklahoma City, is frequently devastated by tornadoes.

Another recurring dream is being overwhelmed with baggage. I never travel with more than two suitcases: When I move to another apartment or town, I leave everything in place and give away almost everything, even if I have a single dollar… And yet, my dreams want me to be going back and forth gathering all kinds of belonging and getting pretty much nervous, and I have to wake up.

There is another university in the middle of nowhere. This center of education was meant to teach agricultural disciplines: It currently graduate students in all fields except agriculture…

My last week in this flat town was the most boring and melancholic in my life. The students had vacated the premises and I was wandering endlessly around the empty blocks, this desert of dried up soul, blocked spirit, not a penny in my pocket to open up any lousy opportunity in my diminished imagination… Taking stock of my stupid situation: Where from there?

No relatives or close friends to call on, regroup, celebrate, share…

And I had to go on and survive.

You may read “The Tunnel” chapter in my auto-biography category




January 2023

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