Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I realized I had driven for days to get there - had actually done an extra day's drive to retrieve my hat - and that I had not slept in all that time. I could not prove it to the person sitting in the front of the car with me, but I knew that I had perhaps dreamt that I had slept and dreamt but had not actually slept. The driving had been intense, with the highway suddenly switching between a divided highway and traffic screaming towards us in the left-hand lane. We had just passed the point where we had had to turn back to get my hat and so the road ahead would be new to us. I remarked that the first time we had made it this far the sun had been setting and so it had taken less than 24 hours to retrieve my hat. As we neared the cliff and the road took a left, the sky turned yellow and the sun began to set. It was impossible to see with sunlight reflecting off the road, and there were no shoulders as we were on a ridge of a mountain. Occasionally the glare off the pavement relented and I could see an approaching car or that our road suddenly turned to the left with only a driveway diving down the cliff to places unknown in the direction we had been going. The car was apparently of European make, because I was sitting on the left while someone else was operating the vehicle from what I had thought was the passenger side, with the cliff dropping down beside him. The person may have been of European make as well, because he kept driving in the left hand lane, passing cars blindly and swerving back towards the cliff when an oncoming car suddenly appeared. 

That had been before, and it was again daytime.  I was climbing a mountain with my double bass, playing a few notes every few minutes. It was a piece by Bottessini, i think, and this is how it was supposed to be performed. Then one of the strings broke, and as I started to go back the way i had come I realized that this was a different version than the one I had played before. It looked very difficult to get back down, especially with the bass. It seemed like I would need both of my hands to steady my descent and I had no idea what to do with the instrument.  I started up again and remembered something. There was a cave somewhere that served as a shortcut and that was why this didn't seem familiar. I looked around the coniferous trees for a path that branched off. 

I was handing over a red 100 dollar bill for a new string and was very much indoors again. I was standing at the side of a booth where the luthier was saying something to me while a line of people were paying someone else at a cash register for ice skates, I think. The luthier was very insistent and had decided that he had to make a new hole in the bass. But it was trepanning he was talking about. Two assistants wielding hammers walked away briskly saying let's get it done. Someone else waiting to pay shook his head no at me telling me that the man was crazy and not to let them do it. I kept explaining that perhaps it didn't sound loud enough because i had two basses and didn't play this one very much - that this was the instrument I climbed mountains with but the other one sounded much better and that perhaps it didn't need a trepanation. I was talking to no one and had to walk through the warehouse to find the office where the luthier was. As I approached I noticed three names on wooden plates next to the two offices. The bottom name was the once-famous composer and luthier. A Russian cellist I knew was being consulted in the office in front of me. He was sitting with his back towards me and nodding at the person at the desk but looked back at me as I walked by and raised his eyebrows. The luthier, who was also the composer of something and apparently someone respected in another era but just permitted to hang around these days, was in the next office, to the left of the first, shaking his head.  

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