Saturday, December 22, 2007

shame in being disliked

However hard one might try - and I do - it really isn't possible to be friends with everyone.

As anyone who has read their fair share of comic books will tell you, there's no shame, no shame at all, in having a nemesis or nemeses. It's best to keep the numbers down if possible, but occasionally even the most open minded and cheerful of folk develop - to their discomfort - a deadly enemy.

So it is with me. Just a friend of a friend, and it's not someone to whom I hold any particular grudge, it's just someone I worked out a while ago doesn't much like me, and whom I, on principle, likewise decline to admire. So we rub along just fine, ignoring each other and casting the odd dismissive glance, and that is that.

Except last night I had a whole sequence of odd dreams. Seriously. One featured me driving a jeep over a valley of dead bodies. I know. Another had me as a university lecturer, except I kept skipping lectures. The third, most disturbingly, was one of the nicest dreams I've had in ages. And all the pleasure derived from the fact that the drift of the dream was that, oh, despite it all, I finally made friends with my nemesis.

It was wonderful. First off we sat reluctantly at either end of a table, casting disgusted glances at each other. After a while we started talking, grumpily acknowledging each other's jokes. And it finished with us arm in arm, striding through the streets of Brighton as the best of friends. It was genuinely a lovely dream, and a tremendous relief to sort that difficulty out, because believe it or not I really hate the thought of being disliked or thought ill of.

And then I woke, basking in the glory of having turned things around. I felt really, really, flat to discover not just that I never sorted this awkward relationship out, but worse, I still think, despite it all, that we will never be friends. What was weirdest was that the warm feeling I had developed in the course of the dream was really hard to shake, so I had to keep reminding myself, all morning, that the person in question has repeatedly treated me in an unfriendly fashion, and has not - yet - earned anything more than an open mind and a bit of patience.

All the same I find my resolve thawing. Why are dreams so hard to dismiss?

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