Sunday, July 02, 2006

"West Wing" Shout-Out From "New York Times": Dream About C.J.

From the New York Times Metro Section "On the Road with C.J. and the Demons":
"THE other night I dreamed I was in an accident with C. J. Cregg of "The West Wing." The accident was of immense proportions — something involving colliding vehicles or collapsing buildings — and it was crucial that we returned to the White House at once: C. J., who was the President's press secretary, needed to be there for an extremely important news conference her boss was about to give.

(True confession: Before going to bed, so help me God, I had watched the five episodes leading up to President Bartlet's shocking public revelation that he had multiple sclerosis.)

Post-accident, C. J. and I found ourselves on a highway, which I somehow knew was in New York City, though it looked nothing like the F.D.R. Drive or the West Side Highway. Our clothes were shredded, and C. J. was covered in dirt; one of her teeth had been knocked out. Half-naked, we tried desperately to hail a cab, but the cars were whizzing by at top speed, and none of them had their lights on. The only cabby who stopped was unacceptable to C. J. — he seemed to be drunk, and the inside of his cab was dirty.

Even in my dream I remember thinking: You want to move back there?

I have never been blessed with the ability to recognize that I am dreaming, even in the midst of the most absurd and unlikely scenario. I am never able to say to myself, "This isn't real — wake up!" as I begin to walk onstage, my lines a blur, or as I prepare to jump off a tall building without reason or a parachute.

But somehow the other night, in the midst of frantically running around with a fictional character from a television series that had been canceled weeks ago, I knew that staying in Boulder, Colo., where I lived for eight months last year, would have been easier than returning to New York, where I had built a life since 2000.
What worries me more is that I am not the same New Yorker I was when I left. My body is not all that has weakened. While I was away, my tough outer layer of skin started to peel off, and what is underneath is something soft to the touch.

The dream about me and C. J. made all too clear my subconscious belief that living in New York can sometimes feel like being a player in a horrible and continuing disaster. How does a New Yorker so transformed survive in a city that hasn't changed a bit? Can one continue to exist here without at least the illusion of invincibility?"

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