“What is the daydreaming equivalent to flaneur?”
I asked my know-it-all friend Google.
—Or should I have written equivalent of flaneur instead of to flaneur—Halt! Scratch that! (Grammarian-digressions are not “writerly." They are more excuses to drift away. Write now, fix later . . . )
Good old Google directed me first to Flaneur Audio. A fuzzy woodlands image and a playlist of “0 minutes; 0 titles.”
Why do I ask? You ask:
Because “daydreaming” is too passive, to harmless-sounding for this affliction.
The next Google link took me to page 133 of a treatise entitled “A Short Phenomenology of Flanerie” which was, I assure you even as I hyperlink, is no treat to read.
(And no, “Flanerie” it is not a misspelling of “Flannery.”) However, Flannery O’Connor’s Slow, deep, Suthun' drawling style is sort of what I mean in asking the question.
Why do I ask?
Because “daydreaming” is too passive, too harmless-sounding for this WHAT-DO-YOU-CALL-IT? Affliction . . . nay. CURSE!
A CURSE which most recently led to me being stranded in JFK airport at 6:02 am. It struck like this:
Right on time—albeit night time: 4:00 am—I revved up the Long Island Express Way toward JFK airport. Happy the forecast-ed snow hadn’t hit, I hit the almost empty highway with my mind tuned to nothing.
ZOOMMMMMMMMMing along, thinking fluffy, puffy, snowy ideas . . . ZOOMMMMM . . . Past the exit—
Congratulating myself for coming to in time to catch my mistake, I flipped a U-turn, and circled back to the entrance. No worries.
The radio station was replaying the same set it has been playing for the past week. I knew all the words, so I sang along as I drove. Until somehow, I wasn’t singing, I was thinking. Thinking through my stories…about Vampire Baby . . .
WHAAAA WHOP WHOP WHIRRRRRRRRR Sirens! Flashing lights!
I clutched the wheel, scanned traffic, focused as I rolled passed the 1 ambulance-3 squad car-2-car smash-crash
Which got me thinking about boys . . . how they are born with car noises BUBBBBBBBBBB. . . . Max had been . . . Then I got to thinking about Baby no-teefers-yet Ben, and how pretty quickly he’d have teeth. Will he be a Vampire Baby? Then I got to thinking what Ben might bite. . . . what kind of stories will Ben make up and will I imagine stories for him . . . lah lah lah . . .
I'm a grouch! Could I write about a grouch? What kind of grouch?—
I hit the pause button. I didn’t remember signs for the Mid-Town Tunnel on my way to the airport? I didn’t think so, anyway—
I took the next off ramp, which also happened to lead to a gas station, which made me feel more smart than stupid as I was going to have to fill up the rental car anyway, so really, this was a fortuitous overshot (overshoot?) as I could now double-checked the route on Google Maps while fueling--I couldn’t have gone tooooo far past the airport turn off--good thing I’d left so early. . .
Determined not to make any more mistakes, I flipped a U-Turn. This time, paying strict attention to each Google Map lady instruction, I drove straight back to the airport, to the rental car return where a robot recording told me to go inside. So I did, and waited for the attendant to stop kvetching with her colleague and pay attention to me, which she eventually did, and after a quick comfort stop clomped purposefully to the Air Train station where I responsibily checked the directory, found Jet Blue’s location and boarded the next train .
. . . I came to in front of the Caribbean Airlines desks with nary a Jet Blue desk in sight. Why? Because I was in Terminal 4, not 5—
I wasn't phases. (OK, I was, but just a little bit.) The swirling ideas had infused me with wonderment and possibility even this detour couldn’t dispel.
All the way on walk back to the Air Train and the ride back to Terminal 5 and the longer walk to the check-in counters I held tight to the feeling and the ideas--a mind stuffed with BRILLIANT MUST-DO ideas!
In hearing this account, some—not my family—might applaud this . . . this. . . Imaginitis. A gift! They might call it. This kind of dream thinking is vital! Imperative! It’s what makes writers WRITERS. It’s the path to going deeper to our best stories!
That's certainly what I was thinking: “What a gift!” as I waited in the correct queue at the correct terminal, “What a gift!” as I made my way to the check-in desk, “What a gift!” even as upon hearing my destination the airline rep checked her watch. If she had smiled and said “welcome” I might still be thinking "What a gift!"
But she didn’t.
Now, instead of a head-full of insights, solutions to my story problems, brilliant ideas, what I have to show for this latest bout of whatever the correct term for this daydreaming equivalent to flaneur is is a bill for another flight, a day-long wait in the airport, another flight to Miami followed by another wait, and a sore tailbone.
So I ask again, WHAT IS IT?
Is it OCD/ADD? Is it a writer-itis? Is it that hormonal stuff? Or that aging thing that can be cured with heavy doses of Sudoku and crossword puzzles?
Whatever it is, help! Help! Cure me from this daydreaming equivilent-call-it-what-you . . .
. . . Wait!
I just thought of something . . .