I dreamed last night about the 0%-2% credit card balance transfer scheme that I use regularly, being called “cooking” by a mortgage specialist at the bank.
“You’ve been cooking”, he said to me with a little bit of admiration and the sense that it was an okay thing to do, something smart people like us did. Then he brought his supervisor, a very very black man, who tried to be serious and authoritarian. He leaned over, and I told him I had been “cooking”. He wasn’t amused. He tried to tell me that it was no good. All I could focus on is how black he was. Very very black. And wearing a dark suit, perhaps dark blue. He was young, and a little nervous, not really all that confident in his abilities. He was good at representing the “man”. I didn’t care what they thought of “cooking”.
I rode away in a car. I was traveling uphill in a city, and the road swerved to the left into a curve and then straight again, and all uphill, like the streets of San Francisco in the movies. I was aware that I was drifting from the left of two lanes onto oncoming traffic, but I brought the car back into the left lane, on the correct side of the median. I was also aware some madman behind me, perhaps the black guy from the bank, was trying to overtake me on the left, but he had to hold back, because the road was going to curve, and it was uphill and it was too dangerous. I had to focus on the road in front of me. I don’t know what happened to the guy behind me. But I do know that as I got back on the straight road, that an oncoming car lost its nerve, and took a sudden harsh turn, and the car started rolling on its side, at the same time as going downhill. It flipped and flipped. I saw it in the rear view mirror. I thought it was my fault. I had been going too fast. I had unnerved that car. I pulled over into the parking lane, reluctantly, with dread, in case it was my fault. I was feeling sick with the idea that the driver had gotten killed. I was actually more sick with the idea that it was my fault. But I did stop the car and got out to take responsibility. I was feeling so sick I woke up.
As I lay in bed, thinking it over, I had a big realization. I never made contact with that oncoming car, and so it wasn’t my fault, but *maybe* the car that had been following me, and going into the oncoming traffic to overtake me, maybe *that* car had frightened the driver. Maybe this whole catastrophe was not my fault. I felt relieved. I felt relieved that it was probably not my fault. I could face the calamity and take part, offer help, take responsibility if it was mine to take, and that I could get into my car after having been present and then I could drive away. Yes, I had been going fast, but it wasn’t my fault that the car went rolling and if the other driver got hurt. I could get out of bed now.
Artist: Ilya Repin 1872