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Head in the Clouds

“The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is ever as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, and fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend–they go on and on.”
–Chuck Palahniuk
I was in class today, obviously, “listening” to my professor go on and on about patrilineal and matrilineal societies. He lost me sometime around the time he started saying that most societies consider your cousin to be your ideal marriage partner. It was too early in the morning to get a really good grasp on that.

So I was looking around, observing people in my class. I see them every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and yet I know only a couple of them. We all sit in our usual spots, take notes, and get through 50 minutes of lecture 3 days a week. But I always wonder about these other students. For example, there’s this guy that I’ve noticed most classes. (JUST FOR CLARIFICATION–not in a, “whoa, he’s cute” kind of way, but more in a “he looks like he would be an interesting person to get to know.”) He spoke up in class the other day, bursting out with this amazingly strong Scottish accent…I mean, it was overwhelming. It took everyone aback too. My professor snapped his head back, and everyone in class jumped to attention. I think it was just because hearing that accent was so unexpected. I enjoyed it just because I love hearing people’s accents. I have a thing about that. The next class, I noticed this guy again, and there was a new guy sitting next to him. I happened to be sitting near them, and I listened to their conversation for a few minutes. (I know, terrible of me, but it’s not like they were talking about anything earth-shattering.) So this other guy happened to be from Pakistan, and since then, they have begun to sit together every class. They always talk about their home countries, and how Texas is different. Of course it’s different. I put that quote in at the top for a reason. Prior to this event, I never would have imagined that this guy was from a different country. In short, he wasn’t what I imagined.

I have quite a far-reaching imagination. In the case of that guy, I guessed a few different things about him, and turns out, I was way wrong. I tend to imagine scenarios out before they actually happen, and without fail, things always play out exactly the opposite that I imagine them. And I feel like this quote by Palahniuk, a fantastic author, is completely on the button. Things never turn out the way we imagine, and I think it is disappointing. I know I get cripplingly disappointed when things don’t go the way I imagine. For all the reading I do, I have quite a range of end results jumbling up my head, and I think those often get in the way of real life. But I also think it makes dreams so much more powerful, something to cling to with an iron grip when things in real life suck. I had a dream this morning, one of those dreams where I was half awake but clinging to sleep with all my might because my dream was so wonderful. That dream has stuck with me all day. And it’s something that I know will never happen, but the alternative, reality, is too dismal to face right now.

So in a roundabout way, I guess I’m saying Chuck’s right. Dreams are fantastic, whether it’s dreams for the future, imagining moments into reality, or fantasies that have no hope of becoming reality. I guess I’ll always have my head in the clouds, because I know that most of the time I prefer dreams to reality. I like to have my head up in the clouds. It’s clearer up there.

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