I went bowling a few weeks ago. I am not a bowler. I lose interest too quickly, not because it is slow-paced but because I just don’t get it. But bowling is not to blame. I don’t get a lot of things. In fact, the older I get, the less I get.
Recently I was told that a ten percent discount I had asked for applied only to online purchases. I had gone in person to renew my membership to the New York Botanical Garden. They don’t give you the discount if you take the trouble of actually showing up. “It’s just online,” they told me. I thought about asking the question that stumps all those who have to enforce policies they themselves are not responsible for–why–but didn’t. I’m sure no one knew. Besides, you have to pick your battles.
I had a dream about bowling a few nights ago. I’m slow that way. It has taken all this time for the experience to run through my psyche and knock on the door of my consciousness. It went something like this. A woman in a 1950s, mustard yellow, sheath dress with pearls, red lipstick, and an Italian hairdo (the kind worn by Sofia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor) handed me something hidden in her hand as I passed by. She let me know that it was very valuable and a secret. Then I went looking for a baseball stadium–a stadium, not a ballpark–the kind used for football games today. I took a path along a steep ravine that was rugged and dangerous. Just when I had lost hope of finding it, I emerged at the top of a stadium but on the outside. The path had led me outside the upper deck of seats.
As I continued along the path, I came upon a bowling alley, where the woman in the yellow dress reappeared. She was in charge of it. I had to get in line with other people rushing down the middle of a lane. They were headed toward the pins and ball pit. I lost my place in line and went up to the woman, who handed me half a bowling bowl. That’s all I had to roll toward the pins. Then I had to start all over again. I remember thinking how strange and “distasteful” all of this was.
In dream analysis, of course, things are more than what they appear to be. In this case, the colors yellow and red, the pearls, secrecy, a dangerous path through rugged terrain, my arrival outside the stadium, and the split ball. They each tell a story. Collectively, it isn’t hard to see that they show me outside and detached from groups of people and, more importantly, systems. So I end up on the outside of the stadium, missing my place on line, and starting the game with half a ball. I remember my frustration over the entire situation.
Modern life is composed of a web of systems, each one connected to the next. Anyone who has had to retrieve a password or gone to the emergency room knows this. To live or work outside of them is asking for trouble. For if you touch one strand of the spider web, they all vibrate. And then guess what comes out? Dreams are one way of escaping from the web or at least calling your attention to the spider. This is why I say that the older I get, the less I get. I am further and further removed from systems. That may be wisdom, but it is often regarded with suspicion by those who are heavily biased–the ideologues.
However, detaching from systems may be what aging is all about at this point in history. And it doesn’t matter whether the system is capitalistic, socialistic, materialistic, or technological. They still impose their own internal logic in such a way that people form unconscious biases they call “reality.”
So, it is entirely possible that wisdom comes with age only if we reach a point where we don’t get things like bowling but finally understand why we don’t get them. That could be the secret the woman handed me, since I never did find out. It was either that or my ticket for bowling shoes.