12/12/2016 10:28

The Imaginarium

This weekend I was watching The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which is a diverting but not enduringly great film. For the most part I was able to keep the characters straight (because, for the most part, they wore substantially similar costumes from scene to scene). One of the leading men, however, seemed unusually ill-defined, so that I had to identify him by a process of elimination. Fortunately, there were not very many core characters, and some were female, so elimination was a sufficient means to keep the characters straight.

Well, we know that I'm face blind. Problems with identifying movie characters is a classic symptom. Reasoning out the identities of people I can't recognize is how Iplay the game.

Afterward, I discovered that the character in question had been played by Heath Ledger until he died -- and then by 3 other actors. Even with the line by another character to the effect "I've seen his faces; he has at least 2 faces", and a conversation between minor characters ("that's not him", "it has to be him") I never knew they had swapped actors until I read about it on Wikipedia.

This raises the puzzle of how I could know that three of the people in my dream -- set on the far NE side of Green Bay during a break between activities at ithe West Side Moravian Church -- were young Gretchen, her sister, and her mother. The answer, of course, is that I do not recognize them in the dream. Instead, I assign identities to the images which bubble up from my unconscious. Those were the identities nearest to rationality, and so the more wakeful part of my brain decided that's who they must be.

Those were the only plausible realities to connect with an implausible situation. Not only were we somehow 6 or 7 miles (and 30 or 40 years) from church between worship and Sunday School, but when it was time to return they asked me to drive. (Even more implausibly, I agreed.) Not quite as implausibly, I turned onto a side road which degenerated into a farm lane leading to the back of a barnyard; upon turning around, the vehicle had morphed into an oversized Buddy Dog on which all of us rode until the dream ended.

Had this been reality rather than a dream we would have gone up the hill, past the barn, and out the driveway, possibly stopping at the house to ask the best way to get into Green Bay. By not turning around, our vehicle would not have turned canine and we'd still have a chance of getting back before Sunday morning classes were over.