Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Submitted For Your Approval

L. and I have just started watching Lost, so we're in a kind of "hidden eerieness" frame of mind at the moment.

Ignoreable offtopic digressions:
  • There should be a verb that distinguishes watching episodic TV week by week on the network or cable channel that airs it versus watching it ad hoc on DVD. And, probably, for as long as there's this distinction, between network watching and TiVo watching. We are, for the record, DVD watching.
  • How long before the Style Manual is updated to indicate that titles of works, just as they are to be italicized in regular (non-hyper) texts, must be linked when they appear in hypertexts? And what will the guidelines be for what is to be at the end of those links? Will placement in the Style Manual be something that, say, Amazon can buy for books, or IMdb can buy for movies and TV shows?
  • Discuss
  • Do not discuss anything about Lost, because we do not want any of it spoiled for us.

With that in mind, I present this: the other day I woke up with the flavor of an odd dream still lingering in my brain, in which I was married to somebody else (a real person, somebody, in real life, that I used to work for), and sort of came into the dream in medias res thinking, "Crap. This must have seemed like an okay idea at the time, I mean I like this person well enough, but I was really happy being married to L. What the hell happened?" Later I either woke up or dreamt that I woke up and discovered it was all okay. Later that day I off-the-cuff emailed L. about it and...wait for it...she had had the same dream--same situation (in her dream she had married the (real-life) son of some friends of her parents), same sense of the dream (the sort of wtf? at suddenly being married to somebody else).

We were trying to figure out what might have triggered this little synchrony--the only thing we could come up with was that we'd gotten news the night before that some very very long time couple friends of ours were getting married (unceremoniously taking the mantle from Sam and Red as Partners Who Held Out Longest Before Succumbing to the Heterosexist Matrix, Who Are Also Friends of Ours) (It's a really nice trophy, too, burnished metal mounted on an oak base with gothic lettered engraving, I really hate to have to fly to Wales and relieve them of it). But that was as good as we could do, and it wasn't an entirely satisfying explanation.

People spend about five minutes with us before remarking that we sound like the same person. I guess this happens when you start evolving in tandem with somebody else, and from my perspective (and L.'s, I assume) it's that our brains (figuratively!) run in the same channel. There'll be some sort of external stimulus, such as a third party saying something, and as if it were the setup to a joke we both know, we'll burst out with the same response. So this dream thing, if the dream was the punchline, got me to wondering what the setup was.

You don't remember words, or images, or smells, or sounds. What you hold in your brain are chemical patterns and signals, and other parts of the brain interpret those things as words and images and sounds each time you remember something. In the same way, dreams aren't made up of images or sounds, they are made up of chemical signals wandering around--my own pet theory is that your brain is doing a nightly RAM dump, that 'tiredness' is actually your available RAM filling up, and dreaming is your conscious interpretation of the brain's batch job that moves the day's input either to the hard disk or to the trash bin. The images and sounds, in any case, are just a translation.

If all of those things are true, it's not even that surprising that L. and I would occasionally have run-ins in the sublimial realm. It wouldn't be surprising that we'd interpret a particular stimulus of the day with a similar response. It sure was creepy, though.


Sam said...

You'll have to rip that trophy from my hands, in Wales. It will not be delivered to you. Do they win the award because they married later or because they were together longer before marrying?

As for the dreams, I actually think that it's as much about physical proximity as it is about similar cues to the brain. I really don't dream much at all most of the time, and I never remember my dreams. But I always have crazy intense dreams when Rebecca is having crazy intense dreams, and I have, for years, blamed her for this in that she causes me to have this dreams when she's having them.

Sam said...

By the way, did you change your settings, because your comments now work by way of pop-up menus and I don't like that since it always meta-tags you don't to the comment window and then you have to scroll up to see what folks said before you. (could just be me)

Sam said...

'down to the comment window' (not 'don't')

Transient Gadfly said...

They win because they were together longer--they started dating when they were in high school. Freaks.

Also, I have seen the reason behind the lameness of pop-up comments and changed the setting back. Stupid pop-up comments.

Sam said...

OK, I'll concede that the victory is legitimate, but I'm still not giving up the trophy willingly. You guys have to come get it!

Thanks for fixing the comments.

sageblue said...

um, now we have the trophy, right? i mean, since we could actually get married, then that means we win right now, right? i mean the last trophy i won was for longest throw-in at a skills contest at age 10, so throw me a bone here.

re: dreams. i don't dream anymore, except about cats, so i don't know.

re: speech patterns. i think L wins here: she's had much more of an influence on you than you on her. as for me and R? hrmmm, i think he might win, sadly enough.

Sam said...

Yeah, I think there has to be something like a 5 year minimum to qualify, but you guys are well past that already. (right? I'm bad on dates). So the trophy really should go to G & R.

By the way, as of this week you guys could have the full legal benefits of marriage here in England and Wales (but just to be clear, you are still legally barred from marriage; and R & I are legally barred from civil associations - oh how I LOVE 'separate but equal' instutitutions).

Tarn said...

Okay, I don't know what's creepier -- the confluence of dreams between you & L or the fact that you analogize (is that a word?) the -- subconscious, wholly mysterious, often recognized as spiritual and deeply profound -- essence of the dreamworld with temporary computer memory, put so lovely as "ram dumping"; AND! that nobody else even batted an eyelash at that remark! That's not to say I don't also find from time to time that computer memory and brain memory seem just so darned similar...

Rebecca said...

yes, what's weirder is that Sam actually dreamt once about upgrading my software to the latest version of OSX; I read this as more a loving maintenance of me than a suggestion that I was in some way outdated, mind you, because you have to upgrade your software regularly, right?

Transient Gadfly said...

It shouldn't be inferred that I think our brains are, you know, analogous to machines or nothing. That's just my pet metaphor for what's going on when you dream. You are consciously interpreting a kind of reshuffling. That's also not to say that there isn't meaning in the patterns that occur while the reshuffling is going on, or that there isn't meaning and/or stuff to be learned from what one dreams about. But there ought to be some reason that you do it (dream) in the first place, and that's my best guess as to why.