Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Beetle

Sometimes I forget about the beetle.

My father is one of four brothers, each in their own way quite as loud as he, quite as aggressive in some sense, quite as intelligent. We are truly the Jewish Intellectual breed... a noble prize winning physicist, a famous psychologist with a vested and personal interest in queer studies, my father the lawyer and professor of law, known for civil rights and anti-death penalty work, and the youngest, a playwright turned charity founder-and-director. All of them are prone to asking difficult questions, posing riddles, making their daughters and nieces (for my generation is all girls) think in ways they'd prefer not to.

When I was much younger, the youngest of these brothers, my uncle T, asked me how I could prove my existence. He posed that perhaps I was (and am) in reality a 10 legged black beetle, in some swamp somewhere, dreaming this entire life of mine.

I couldn't prove it wasn't so, and I was troubled. Because I couldn't prove it wasn't, some part of me believed that it must be true. But even then, I wasn't sure the question was worth asking.

The beetle's dream is all I've ever known, and I'll I will ever know. Unless someday the beetle wakes up, in which case mine will be a small and scuttling, many legged life, with very different interests than the ones I currently hold dear.

And just as I don't care too much about the beetle, I won't care about the dream I left behind.

I realized today that my own hair reminds me of Boy. It has gotten long, where I once kept it short, and when I let it down in class today, I thought of him. He is the one with long hair in my life. In his hair I bury my face, I feel safe, I hide and I smell him and all is well. In my own hair I can do the same, almost... all with the thought of him. He's in my hair; he's everywhere.

He has become the hero in the dream in which I am the heroine, the black swamp beetle's endless, pointless dream that is my life.


Blogger sara. said...

this is wonderful. I wish I could have chatted more with him when I was there.

also, it may be totally meta-wank-tastic to write a post in response to a post you wrote in response to me, but that's what you've made happen. it is forthcoming.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Switch said...

's quite far from pointless, thank you very much. reminds me of an old chinese quote i just tracked down (typical of T to posit a 10 legged black beetle, though *grin*):
"In a dream I saw myself as a great and colorful butterfly; now I am not sure if I am Chuang-Tsu dreaming I was a butterfly, or I am a butterfly dreaming I am Chuang-Tsu"

3:42 AM  
Blogger Switch said...

also, yay sara! 'twas wonderful to meet you too! (still boy, but speaking for my better half as well)

3:53 AM  

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