First Dream: I’m on a date with a hypothetical girl at a coffee shop. We are having a great time and she laughs at everything I say. I spill coffee on my shirt and all of a sudden she turns into my Mr. Butts, my high school gym teacher. He makes me do sixty pushups and on my last pushup I get the check, which is in a foreign currency I can’t convert. To avoid undertipping I leave my entire wallet.
My “Roland Barthes and the Image” Professor: The dream is in the being-there, it’s in the being-there, but “where is the there?” is the question; because it’s erotic and it’s restrained, but is it erotic? You are mobilizing the image of “coffee,” but how does this change how we imagine the coffee of mobilization? I like how you expanded the conversation.
Freud: You are sexually aroused by pain, and licking butts.
Mom: Oh, Andrew, did you wear a white shirt? I told you not to wear a white shirt if you’re going to be messy. Please promise me you won’t wear white shirts if you’re going to be messy. You also reminded me: we went out for a nice meal with the Schwartzes. They are both well, as is Daniel. We went to this new Pakistani or Indian restaurant in Cranford. Daddy got the beef and broccoli and I got a terrific curry soup with chicken, although it was a bit heavy.
Second Dream: I’m on an airplane with every girl I’ve ever had feelings for. Everyone on the plane has the knowledge that it will soon crash but for some reason everyone is calm. The pilot is a moustached version of my high school gym teacher, Mr. Butts. Mr. Butts is plastered on his third bottle of Jägermeister and guffawing about something to do with the avian flu.
My “Roland Barthes and the Image” Professor: I love what you’re doing with the bourgeoisie and the proletariat with the image of Jägermeister. It makes me ask, it makes everyone ask what is “Jägermeister” really? Physically we know, but what is the image of Jägermeister and what does it bring out of the text? What is the enigma of “plastered,” and how can we bring it back to our framing of personal reluctance? Try to avoid discussing intent.
Freud: Your maturation was stunted by a somewhat deviant childhood attraction to plastic. You are deeply and objectively homosexual.
Mom: Are you drinking too much? How often do your friends drink? How much do you drink? Did you get that New York Times article I forwarded you? About the alcohol content in boxed wine? That reminds me actually: we went to this great wine and cheese bar with the Ralston’s. It was in Cranford. No, I mean Westfield. It was okay. They are both well, as is Gary.
Third Dream: I am at dinner with my parents, the Schwartzes, the Ralstons, my “Roland Barthes and the Image” professor, Roland Barthes, Mr. Butts and my brother. We are at a nice new Asian fusion restaurant in Cranford or Garwood, I can’t really remember. When everyone orders, everyone compliments them, telling them what a good order they have just made. In fact, when my “Roland Barthes and the Image” professor orders right before me, he gets a standing ovation from the entire restaurant. I am the last to order and I am still not sure what to get. I ask how spicy the spicy peanut chicken is and the waiter rolls his eyes. Mr. Butts punches me in the arm. The Schwartzes put their napkins on the table and leave, disgusted. The Ralstons quietly ask my parents if I’m retarded. My parents have their head burrowed in their hands, deep in shame. I can’t hear him, but it’s clear my “Roland Barthes and the Image” professor is apologizing to Roland Barthes for my actions. I say that instead I’ll order the sweet and sour pork with fried rice. My brother throws a dinner roll at my face and calls me gay.
My “Roland Barthes and the Image” Professor: You love balls in your mouth.
Freud: Well said.