September 10, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on September 9, 2018

I had a dream last night wherein I was getting familiar with a new iPhone I suddenly and inexplicably had in my hands. I was at M.’s birthday party, sitting at a table – or maybe it was a booth. This new phone was weird: almost square, not rectangular, it was also a hell of a lot thicker than any other model. It was about twice or more as thick as the 4s, and similarly clad in black glass all around. In fact, it seemed to be completely encased in smooth black glass, and it wasn’t possible to make out any obvious “on” or “home” buttons. There was nothing to suggest a point of user interface. And it was heavy, really heavy. Small enough to fit into one’s palm, but almost uncomfortably heavy.

Just as I was puzzling with this, turning it over, I must have turned something on and it morphed into a shoebox-sized camera – still heavy, but what a camera, what lenses! I could, it seemed to me, see things through it which weren’t available to “normal” human vision. A sort of strange macro lens, but also a telephoto lens – a camera that seemed to know how to direct and focus itself. I started calling to the people there to come and look at this. I think some did, but the dream sort of petered out then, too. So weird.

At M.’s real life party last night we met a cousin of hers, probably about early 40s, named N. He and his wife, V., whom he married when she got pregnant and they were both still in high school (he dropped out to “do the right thing” by her: marry, get a job, support the family), are both from a town hit hard by the opioid epidemic. We talked at length about the town’s history (it had been a manufacturing hub), and how it was now ravaged by drugs, unemployment, and social problems, and it was interesting to hear the views of someone so fundamentally honorable and decent on education (trades are undervalued, under-acknowledged), family dysfunction (he always wanted his kids to be aware of all the mess-ups in his own family, rife with drug abuse and addiction, so they would know that they can choose his (N.’s) path, not his brother’s), corporate infamy, and so on. I didn’t probe his politics, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he leaned both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, i.e., populist. But all-American.

We also met a young German woman, B., who au paired here a couple of years ago and is now doing the same in Texas. She came up just for M.’s party. It was odd, for there was something too uncannily perfect about her. Mannerisms, speech – and naturally (or not?), perfect appearance. Best teeth ever, flawless skin, sleek brown hair, perfectly groomed brows, deep brown eyes, a “10” figure (of course), perfect posture. But something about her seemed stamped from a template. Cloned. Robotic. Simulated. Where’s the real B.? Oh, that was the real B. Oddly weird. Can perfection be too perfect? How dependent are we on aspiring to something more in order to stay real? Feet of clay and all that… It’s probably all an illusion…

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