I sent someone a message on Facebook. No response. I sent a different person an email. Nothing. I called someone and left a message on her voicemail, asking her to call me back. She never called. This all happened within the last week. Today I arrived at 9:10 for my 9:15 dentist appointment. I signed in and sat down to wait. I like early morning appointments, because you usually don't have to wait long, because they can't be running too far behind yet. Other people came in, signed in, sat down, and got called back. I sat there till 9:30.
I started thinking about a story I read in college about a person who didn't actually exist. All through the story, it seemed like he was a real person, but at the end it was revealed that he was only a character in another person's dream. When the dreamer woke up, that character just evaporated. That story blew my mind and disturbed me on a deep level. I spent months (ok, probably years) wondering how we can definitively prove that we exist.
All these events converged on me at once, and I suddenly wondered if I was real. There was one other guy in the waiting room, pecking away at his cell phone. I stared at him for awhile, but he didn't glance up, so I finally said, "Hello." He never removed his beak from his phone. Awkward.
I finally got called back for my cleaning, and the pain and blood suggested to me that I was, in fact, a real person. (These same signs suggested to the hygienist that I need to floss more often). I stopped at Kroger on my way home. I went to the self-checkout lane, just to be sure that I would be recognized by the checker.
The minute I got home, I was greeted by people who wanted to talk to me, a message to call my mother-in-law, a pile of dirty dishes, groceries to put away, children who wanted me to make lunch, and cats who wanted water. I felt like I existed. I also felt that, if I really was just a figment of someone's dreaming imagination, this would be a good time for that person to wake up.
A strange postscript to this story: When I went to the website for my blog, I got this message: