Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Late afternoon languor, tedium, residua. The Phoenicia Volunteer Fire Department arrives in three giant pickup trucks, none of which are official trucks, but each of which has impromptu scaled-down police lights on its roof. The assembled concerned citizens demand to search the house for fire hazards. My step-mother, three younger sisters and brother are all present. The Phoenicians are horrified that so many seemingly sophisticated strangers are living in a small house—they don't realize that the family is only on vacation. The volunteers meticulously go through my personal belongings. When I think no one is looking, I try to hide incriminating items. One concerned citizen picks up a personal check for a sizeable sum, reads it, shows it to her husband, and says "see, it happened to him too." I assume that she is referring to a certain questionable real estate agent. "I can prove it, I say," trying to ingratiate myself to my fellow citizens, whom I assume have been similarly wronged by the same real estate agent, herself a foreigner from Woodstock. The husband and wife are unimpressed by my attempt at conversation and do not reply. They continue to search my belongings. It is only at this point that it occurs to me that these citizens need a warrant.

The citizens are quiet, nosy, almost bestial—like the invaders in Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, but not as rowdy. I think maybe I am in a film: the home under seige is probably the central motif of horror andwestern films from The Searchers to Scream. Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs is merely the most extreme embodiment. I should be more welcoming, less patriarchal, less territorial. The home invaders eye my books with particular suspicion.

The inspection seems to be going badly. One man says he will have to cite me for my barbecue being too close to the house. Another man is rummaging through the electrical panel, with a mixed look of disapproval and confusion, as if he hated this technology he didn't understand, but knew that he should understand.

My family seems annoyed with me for taking all this so seriously. They seem unconcerned about the home invasion. At one point my sister reproaches me for being so disorganized. What did I expect? Naturally visitors should be appalled by my lifestyle.

The increasing incompetence of the inspectors is becoming apparent. One of them drives a massive Hemi V-10 truck into a smaller pickup accidentally. The smaller truck rolls over against the side of the house, and is left there lying on its side. No one seems much concerned. The occasional lethargic reproachful glance is cast my way: otherwise the Phoenicians carry on about their tasks. It seems as though they have decided to move in.

At this point, I decide to make my last stand and mention the issue of the warrant. Some of the locals are now sitting down nonchalantly. The house has grown in size. As I prepare to confront the citizens, I realize I am in the Phoenicia Diner. This is no longer my property. I awake.

[Yesterday before bed I was reading Adorno's Dream Notes and earlier in the day had written the following lines from Dickinson in my notebook;

I am alive- because
I do not own a house. (605)

Did Nietzsche have a mortgage in Sils-Maria?

Adorno [while dreaming]: "She asked me why I made fun of myself in my
dreams and, without thinking, I answered: to fend off feelings of
paranoia" (Dream Notes 54).]