Throwing Eight-Balls at Apartment Walls

One of the synonyms for ‘dream’ is ‘vision.’ A bad dream is a nightmare. As people get older, they complain of a loss of night vision. But is ‘nightmare’ actually a euphemism for a decline in visual acuity in low light? That is, does that loss of optical clarity in dim or dark conditions cause troubling nocturnal delusions? Or, do complaints about the loss of night vision actually conceal a secret mourning for the demise, as we age, of bad dreams?

One might suspect I am a specialist in circumlocution, an expert in indirectness, a trained tautologist. No, I simply wonder whether our brains are wired in weird and not-so-wonderful ways. Or, I should say, my brain. It is possible that the synapses in my nervous system misfire on a frequent but irregular basis, like a gasoline engine with a cracked spark plug or a semi-clogged fuel line. What, does any of this have to do with throwing eight-balls at apartment walls? Let me explain.

Last night—it may have been early this morning—I experienced an odd dream. It may have been a nightmare,  bad dream, a strange and troubling nocturnal illusion. In this fantasy, I encountered in the hallway outside an apartment, a man who had been throwing eight-balls—the black pocket billiards sphere on which a black number eight is printed on a white circular background—against the inside walls. The sound of the eight-balls hitting the walls was deafening and, I was sure, terribly upsetting to the residents in nearby apartments who could no doubt hear and feel the concussion of the balls.

I somehow knew that this dimwit was headed to the same place I was going, a building across a parking lot, where I would join a friend to participate in a game of some kind, along with my friend’s friends.  Nonetheless, I asked the eight-ball-thrower where he was going. He said he was, as I knew, on his way across the parking lot.

“I  hope you’re not going to be throwing those eight-balls over there,” I said, “because people find that damn noise offensive.”

“Oh, yeah, I am,” he responded. “I don’t care whether they find it offensive or not. I’m here to have fun, not to tiptoe around some dipshit’s sensibilities.”

“If that dipshit has a pistol, you’ll care.”

I wanted to be out of that place. I hated being involved in whatever game they were playing. Suddenly, I was like a world-class baseball pitcher, as I threw an eight-ball as hard and fast as I could, right into the dimwit’s temple. Though I did not see it, I knew he crumpled to the ground. By the time he did, I had turned and fled across the parking lot. The last part of the dream I recall was attempting to open the trunk of a car.

The dream seems to make no sense whatsoever. Although, if my subconscious is considerably more complex than I think it is, there might be some convoluted sense in the nightmare, after all. Lately, I have grown increasingly frustrated and angry by posts on Nextdoor and Facebook. Rather than simply ignore them, I’ve let my ire at the posts fester. Finally, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough.

Around noon yesterday, I deactivated my Facebook account and closed my Nextdoor account. Though my Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram accounts remain active, I rarely log onto them, so I will be free of social media except for this blog, at least for awhile. I suppose I could have simply decided not to log onto Facebook or Nextdoor, but it felt better shutting them down. I expect some semblance of serenity to return to my brain in a reasonable time frame; I have been allowing posts on those two platforms to stoke anger, rage, and probably raise my blood pressure to unhealthy limits. I haven’t checked blood pressure lately, for fear the numbers would cause me to have a stroke.

For the immediate near-term, at least, my social media will constitute mostly one-way communication on this blog. I’m satisfied with that.

I’ve already dramatically reduced my diet of television news from every source. Social media was the remaining hot poker that kept stabbing me in the eye; I’ve plunged that weapon into a pool of icy water.

So, perhaps there is a connection between my odd nocturnal delusion, in a labrynthine way, and my myopic inability to simply walk away from the source of distress, instead, taking an ax to it. Or maybe not. For a while, anyway, I will be free of the intellectual blindness caused by dim and dark comments. I’m stretching the metaphors and similes a little too much. If I’m not careful, they might snap back and hit me in the eye like an eight-ball thrown by a world-class pitcher.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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