Kanye West is responsible for both of my romantic relationships. Three years ago, a good friend included among her Facebook profile’s Favorite Quotes the following rhyme: “If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell ’em / People never get the flowers while they could still smell ’em.” The track is “Big Brother,” and West describes the admiration a novice feels for his mentor. At the time, however, I was thankfully unversed in Yeezy’s oeuvre, and I interpreted the isolated line as advice for young studs. I kept that sentiment close to my heart as I dialed the first woman’s number, and then two years later, the second’s. Both times I hung up with nostrils swollen pleasantly, filled with the aroma of a fresh bouquet.
In my dreams I live out situations I anticipate but have not yet resolved in real life, e.g. a test I will soon take, or a date I will soon date, or a Hanukkah gift I will soon receive. I have not taken extensive statistical documentation but I would estimate that in roughly half of my dreams resolve pleasantly and the other half veer sour: in one I unwrap a Nintendo Wii and feel no guilt for the cost incurred in my family budget (as I did when I later unwrapped a Nintendo Wii in reality); in another, I sleep right through the seminar I had devoted my energies preparing for all week and somehow find myself in the home of the professor who teaches that day’s subsequent course and whose work I had ignored, and I sit at his family table while he fries eggs for me on his griddle, and I share breakfast with his three young daughters , and I attempt to put out of my mind the thought that I will sorely disappoint him later in class when I have nothing to say about the reading (I do not know the actual sex/es or quantity of his progeny).
Perversely, perhaps, I prefer to dream tragedy, because when I awake, I find I have averted an unfortunate fate, and through very little exertion of effort. When I dream delight, I open my eyes to an extra-long twin with bleach-stained sheets and grow terribly mournful for my ecstatic fantasies that have vanished forever. In this way dreams are an *anti-life*, in which catastrophe is valued and joy is unwelcome because of the toll that they take on my continuous self.