Dream of: 30 June 1996 "Dalí's Brown Sandy Plane"

submerge and cleanse yourself in the stream of art

After walking into an antique store together, my wife Carolina and I had strolled off in different directions, she down one aisle, and I toward a counter. I stood in front of the counter, which was about waist high, and looked at a shelf just a little higher than my head directly above the counter. Seeing an intriguing-looking array of cards and books arranged on the shelf, I reached up and pulled down a stiff piece of paper which I at first thought was a large post card – about the size of piece of notebook paper. Looking more closely I saw that on one side of the card was a picture of the four main characters from the television series "Bonanza." Writing which looked like different autographs was scribbled all over the picture.

Intrigued by the photograph and the autographs, I again looked at the shelf above my head, reached up, and this time pulled down what looked like a loose-leaf book with about twenty notebook-size pages in it. I held the book in my hand and began flipping through it, amazed and quickly absorbed by what I saw. Page after page of artwork unfolded before me – not ordinary printed artwork, but the actual original work of the artists. I was astonished to even find an original painting by Salvador Dalí and one by Pablo Picasso. After looking at the book for a while, I thought I understood it a little better. I thought the work was an experimental compilation of original artwork done by about twenty different artists when the artists had all been very young (probably in their early 20s). Dalí and Picasso were the only two artists whose names I recognized, and I thought those two probably had been the only ones who had become successful and famous. The work had been put together as an experiment to see just how much the value of the book would increase over the years. In the lower right corner of one page I saw a series of prices which had been crossed out, each succeeding price higher than the last. The last price was $217, which I concluded was the current price of the book, and the amount I would have to pay for it if I wanted it. Although I thought that sounded like a lot of money, I was nevertheless definitely interested in buying the book.

Only now did I notice that several women had walked up together to the counter and were talking with a man on the other side of the counter. Overhearing what they were saying, I realized the women were talking to the man about buying the very book I was holding. At least they were talking about buying a book like the one I was holding, and since I didn't know if any other books like this one were available, I thought they might be talking about buying the one I was holding.

I knew I had to act fast if I wanted to buy the book, but I wanted Carolina to see it before I actually told the man behind the counter that I would take the book. I quickly spotted Carolina in one of the aisles not far from me. I beckoned her and she immediately came over to me.

I laid the book down on the counter where she could see it, and once again I began flipping through the pages. I was specifically looking for the paintings by Dalí and Picasso, thinking those were the most valuable ones and the ones which I especially wanted Carolina to see. After flipping through about ten pictures, I found the one by Picasso and I showed it to Carolina. But it seemed strange to me, because I thought the first time I had looked through the book, Dalí's painting had been first in line. Nevertheless we both looked at Picasso's painting. It was done on brown paper about the color of a paper sack. It was actually little more than a series of black lines with no color and little or no form. Nevertheless, Picasso had signed the work, and I knew his signature was what made the painting valuable.

I continued flipping through the book again until I found a painting by Dalí, but this one was different than the one I had first seen. This one showed some figures on a brown sandy-colored plane, with an azure sky overhead. It was quite beautiful, but I still wondered about the other Dalí painting which I thought I had seen before. I flipped back towards the beginning of the book until I found the other picture. Now, however, I was uncertain that this other picture was actually by Dalí. I couldn't be sure, but at least the book did have the one beautiful painting by Dalí, and it might even have two by Dalí. I was quite satisfied. When Carolina indicated that she also liked the book and that she thought it was a good buy, I handed hte book to the man behind the counter and told him I would take it. I was unsure whether I had that much cash on me, but I thought I could pay with a credit card.

Almost immediately, however, I thought I had acted too quickly. I thought I should have tried to haggle with the man; perhaps I could have bought the book more cheaply. I reflected that I felt pressured by the women, who were still standing there, and I had acted precipitously to avoid their buying the book out from under me. I still thought there might be some chance that even though I had told the man I would take the book, I might be able to get it more cheaply.

I looked at the man, who had just finished putting the book into a white plastic sack, and I asked if he would take $200 for the book. The man stopped and looked at me. He didn't seem offended that I would be making such a tardy offer, but instead of handing the package to me, he laid it aside on the counter. He then politely told me that he couldn't lower the price, and that in fact his boss had been talking about raising the price. Realizing there was no hope of getting a better price, I told the man I would take the book.

***

Carolina and I were standing alone together in a sparsely wooded area behind the antique store. We had already made our purchase and were now standing next to a small muddy stream less than a meter wide and less than a half meter deep. Carolina was wearing a pair of tight fitting white slacks and was nude from the waist up. She looked extremely sexy with her brown skin and large breasts.

Both Carolina and I knew the stream where we were standing had something to do with art, although it was unclear to me what it was. Somehow I thought the stream flowed into the antique store and into other buildings in the area. The stream also had something to do with movies, and this aspect of the stream was what most interested Carolina, who may have already been standing in the water.

For my part, I felt as if for some reason I myself needed to stand in the stream – to get my feet wet. I was uncertain what I would accomplish by standing in the water, and I hesitated to do so because the water looked dirty and perhaps even polluted. Nevertheless, I knew I needed to stand in the water, and I didn't think the experience would prove to be terribly unpleasant.

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