27. Those special weak spots

Our boy had a cracker of a dream one night, one that was right out there, but of course was right in here too, and I must admit to giving a little push but not that much. Not that it’s always a safe thing to give much weight to what a dream might or might not mean, although some are more obvious than others, and for the outside observer they can be an amusing guide to what’s going on. Anyway, this one had Benny running a small hotel or guesthouse. He was the owner but was also the cleaner and cook and general all-round dogsbody. But this bespoke hotel was also the inside of Benny’s head — I mean physically, not just as in his imagination. But as with these types of weird dreams, what would otherwise be understood as being a small space had plenty of room for all the people and furniture and everything else.

It may seem contrived and fairly obvious to the wakeful reader, but in Benny’s fantasy the hotel guests that came and went were identifiably thoughts and emotions (identifiable in that ‘accepted truth’ way that dreams can have). But his dream was a handy way to look at the goings on in Benny’s mind actually, and kudos to him (okay, with a little poke) for landing on that idea to weave together for himself such a story. And it was an appropriate concept too, because hotel guests are temporary — they just rent a room, and have no ownership of it or any part of the hotel. They take up some space for a while, but then leave to make room for the next visitor. Check in, check out. Some come with more baggage than others, some need more help carrying things, or demand more room service. Others are quiet and you’d hardly know they were there.

But still, it was just some scenes in a story, and there’s really no need to go into what these random emotion- or thought-guests got up to in detail, suffice to say that, as guesthouse visitors do, there were comings and goings, some were good guests who left rooms tidy and clean, but some were terrible and walked over the carpets with muddy feet, made a mess and left wet towels on the floor or even stole them.

As we know, it can be hard to get to the point when you’re the dreamer, as Benny was, coming out of these dream fogs, but the point that coalesced from this came about in the part of the story where Benny had to clean up the rooms before any other guests could occupy them. He felt strongly compelled to clean up the messier rooms first, the ones where the more disturbed emotion guests or troubled thought guests had been staying (they left papers all over the floor, the mints squashed into the pillows, and didn’t flush).

You may have already unpicked this tapestry and splayed out this reverie’s threads, but the practical application that was taking a slow osmosis-like path to Benny’s wakeful mind was the idea that the more troubling and negative impulses are the ones that need his focus first. The greatest problems, the skewed emotions or grating thoughts that Benny has most trouble with keeping in control, had to be his priority. These special weak spots, and we know they’re there, would otherwise just work to hold back progress. And I think Benny realised this.

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