Dream Diary: Time CompressionMarch 12, 2013 at 6:34 AM
I had this dream in college, around 1999.
A friend of mine from college — Leonard — and I are sitting in front of an old computer, creating audio tracks for each other. These tracks are supposed to be distilled, compressed versions of living out one day as the other person, as if it were possible to capture the experience of living a day as someone in three minutes of sped-up noise. The computer we’re using sits on the floor of some Japanese teahouse, complete with paper doors. We labor on these audio tracks as though they are gifts to one another.
Leonard plays the one he made for me first, and it’s essentially high-pitched buzzing noises; I expect this. After listening, I work on one for him, but whatever method I’m using isn’t quite right — I keep getting this weird feedback effect that causes the noise to degenerate into two-note oscillating patterns. On the one hand, I think this is pretty cool, since these patterns arise from randomness, but at the same time I know this isn’t what I was trying to do. I’ve screwed up. I’m embarrassed that his track sounds way closer to what we’re looking for, and I try rationalizing it away when discussing it with him.
As I sit there listening to the noise loop, I suddenly realize that everything around me has accelerated to an insane speed. I’ve listened to this time-compressed audio of a day in the life of someone else for so long, that now my brain’s perception of time is accounting for it, and the internal clock of my mind has slowed to a crawl.
I “wake up” from the dream lying in my bed on my stomach, unable to move. I watch someone (who might be my brother) flit around the bedroom so horrifically fast that they’re just a blur, buzzing and twitching near me, examining me. To them, I am staring motionless at nothing, moving so slowly as to be imperceptible. Then I actually wake up.