Chapter 14 - Ants

(Main is character coming out of a subway and bumps into a girl.)

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

Waking Life: Chapter 14 - AntsHey. Could we do that again? I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. "Here's your change." "Paper or plastic?" "Credit or debit?" "You want ketchup with that?" I don't want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be an ant, you know?

Yeah. Yeah, no. I don't want to be an ant either. Heh. Yeah, thanks for kind of jostling me there. I've been kind of on zombie auto-pilot lately, I don't feel like an ant in my head, but I guess I probably look like one. It's kind of like D.H. Lawrence had this idea of two people meeting on a road. And instead of just passing and glancing away, they decide to accept what he calls "the confrontation between their souls." It's like, um, freeing the brave reckless gods within us all.

Then it's like we have met.

(They shake hands)


(Same two people talking in a room.)

So I'm doing this project, and I'm hoping that you'll be interested in doing it. It's a soap opera, and, so, the characters are the fantasy lives or the alter egos, of the performers who are in it. So, pretty much just figure out something that you've always wanted to do, or a life you've always wanted to lead, or occupation or something like that. And we write that in, and then we also have your life intersect with other people's in the soap opera in some typical soap opera fashion. And then I also want to show it in a live venue and have the actors present so that once the episode is screened, then the audience can direct the actors for subsequent episodes with menus or something. So it has a lot to do with choices and honoring people's ability to say what it is that they wanna see, and also consumerism and art and commodity, and if you don't like what you got, then you can send it back, or you get what you pay for, or just participating, just really making choices. So, you wanna do it?

Uh, yeah, yeah, that sounds really cool. I'd love to be in it, but, um ... Uh, I kind of gotta ask you a question first though. I don't really know how to say it, but, um, uh, what's it like to be a character in a dream? 'Cause, uh, I'm not awake right now. And I haven't even worn a watch since, like, fourth grade. I think this is the same watch too. Um, uh, yeah, I don't even know if you're able to answer that question, but I'm just trying to get like a sense of where I am and what's going on.

So what about you? What's your name? What's your address? What are you doing?

[Laugh] I, I, you know, I can't really remember right now. I can't really, I can't really recall that. But that's beside the point, whether or not I can dredge up this information about, you know, my address, or, you know, my mom's maiden name, or whatnot. I've got the benefit in this reality, if you wanna call that, of a consistent perspective.

What is your consistent perspective?

It's mostly just me dealing with a lot of people who are exposing me to information and ideas that seem vaguely familiar, but, at the same time, it's all very alien to me. I'm not in an objective, rational world. Like I've been flying around. Uh ... I don't know. It's weird too because it's not like a fixed state, it's more like this whole spectrum of awareness. Like the lucidity wavers. Like, right now, I know that I'm dreaming, right? We're, like, even talking about it. This is the most in myself and in my thoughts that I've been so far. I'm talking about being in a dream. But, I'm beginning to think that it's something that I don't really have any precedent for. It's, it's totally unique. The, the quality of, of the environment and the information that I'm receiving. Like your soap opera for example. That's a really cool idea. I didn't come up with that. It's like something outside of myself, like something transmitted to me externally. I don't know what this is.

We seem to think we're so limited by the world and the confines, but we're really just creating them. You keep trying to figure it out, but it seems like now that you know that what you're doing is dreaming, you can do whatever you want to. You're dreaming, but you're awake. You have, um, so many options, and that's what life is about.

Well, I understand what you're saying. It's up to me. I'm the dreamer. It's weird, like, so much of the information that these people have been like imparting to me. I don't know. It's got this, like, really heavy connotation to it.

Well, how do you feel?

Well, well, sometimes I feel kind of isolated, but most of the time I feel really connected, really, like, engaged in this active process. Which is kind of weird because most of the time I've just been really passive and not really responding, except for now, I guess. I'm just kind of letting the information wash over me.

It's not necessarily passive to not respond verbally. We're communicating on, on so many levels simultaneously. Perhaps you're, you're perceiving directly.

Most of the people that I've been encountering, and most of the things that I would want to say, it's like they kind of say it for me, and almost like at my cue. It's, it's like complete unto itself. It's not like I'm having a bad dream, it's a great dream. But ... it's so unlike any other dream I've ever had before. It's like the dream. It's like I'm being prepared for something.


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