My wife Cat and I are on a coastal trip with friends Patrick K., Beth K. and Emily F.
Emily is looking for the beach. But the tide is in. So we have discussions on the nature of the existence of the beach. The beach is technically there, but it is covered in water and thus inaccessible to us for the moment. We all go looking anyway, just to be sure. We cross the highway that divides the land from the water, and find a gravel pit.
There is an odd series of sudden, blink speed, transitions between this coastal trip (outdoor highway, trees, sand dunes) and being indoors at some sort of museum site (lots of deep reddish brown rooms, long curtains – looks like an excerpt from the interior of the black lodge from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks).
At the gravel pit, I turn my body 180 degrees, and we are suddenly in the middle of a museum corridor; windowless with dark curtains.
The Museum’s Exhibition Catalog is written by Isaac Asimov. The cover is a wrestling mask that can be fashioned from the hardcover and binding. The book also contains several extra pages each with mask directions (though obviously if you wish a mask with any actual stopping power, you want to use the strength of the hardbound version). All the subsequent masks are paper copies. Less tough, but still pretty.
The museum displays are hidden from view. You are required to complete complex gymnastic sequences to get through the museum, view the displays and make it to the exit.
Patrick is quite keen on the inherent math that is represented within the gymnastic routines. Launching yourself from the floor to a beam hanging from a series of pipes under the ceiling, grab beam, balance, wrap yourself bodily around pipe, crawl down inside of the curtain a length, find hidden wall mount, that hides air duct grates, up a length of rope ladder that carries you into an elevator shaft. From the elevator shaft, you make it to the third floor, then down a fire escape to the second floor. Here you need to start back on the ground floor again. Wires, pipes, suspended planks which convert into levers… it goes on and on. Patrick gives us mathematical codes which become directions equating to expressions like cheat codes for video game controllers.
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A and start.
Security guards in dark blue suits and matching scowls trail behind us on Segway-like motorized devices.
I do another 180 degree turn and another rapid transition, we are all back at the beach.
The sky is overcast, or maybe it is night time, or maybe the clouds are just covering up the sun, much like the water is covering up the beach. It is there, just not accessible.
I gradually wake up remembering that the beach is there all the time, whether it is covered with water or not is the question.