The bed was a normal bed until you laid down on it. The first time I did I thought I was having dreams, but I wasn’t. They glowed around me, these soldered shapes in the dark. At breakfast the next morning I asked my good friend, who was the owner of the bed, why the bed did what it did. She didn’t know. She seemed embarrassed about it. Or uninterested. She offered me eggs, knowing full well I am not an egg person! She said, Oh that’s right. I thought better of understanding her outrageous offer. That morning, I was more like myself—that version I try to get to the bottom of but never seem to…that perfect version—than I had ever been. As if all my switches had been flicked back to their default positions. I seemed to know the answer to any question asked of me. Hesitations had been dissolved. I had felt like a building built for a very specific purpose and was being utilized as such—quite efficiently. Which got me to thinking about the tribe in Uruguay and how they believe the art of building is only accomplished by unbuilding something. They don’t even live in buildings or huts or anything. They have what are translated into English as “invisible safeties.” They are a strange people and I wish more scholarly work will be done on them in the future. Things that aren’t immediately understandable should always have more work put into them. That way, everything will be understood. Or, at best, be ready to be fully un-understood—which is where the true business of understanding begins.
Shane Kowalski is the author of Small Moods (Future Tense Books).