Surreal Experience of Flying – David Lohrey
May 25, 2020
Dying of a heart attack or running out of cigarettes is not surreal.
Sur-reality is not the same as misfortune. No, it doesn’t mean divine.
This word has been hijacked by the bourgeoisie, right along with “gay.”
No, you may not bring your collie to class.
“But flying during a pandemic turned out to be more stressful—and surreal—
than I’d planned for.” In what sense is flying difficult to comprehend?
Like walking into a painting by Salvador Dalí, for example?
“Working today was, like, surreal, what can I say?”
“I missed lunch.”
“My boss was in a bad mood.”
“The phone rang.”
Are these experiences fantastic? Odd? Or disturbing to you?
How did surreal come to mean ordinary? By surreal one means funny.
Let’s look together at a De Chirico. Does his work
come to mind when you miss your bus?
Are we to understand that when Oprah cracks a joke, viewers
think first of his The Disquieting Muses?
How did this come about?
Why do American truckdrivers, university professors,
call girls in Nevada, along with East L.A. punks, reference 20th century art
when they want to say they’ve had a bad day? And need to get laid?
Celibacy is surreal.
The traffic in LA is so bad it makes drivers think of The Melancholy of Departure.
What then is one to make of Magritte? René, or Joan Miró?
Neither together nor apart, I don’t.
My question is this: what do Magritte, Miró, the Lakers, or Trump have in common?
Why is their work called surreal?
Have we lost the impulse to know what we are saying?
It is just a slogan…
Surreal has lost its meaning. It’s gone. You might as well say you are gay.
And it is said that Brad Pitt masturbates to Mozart every other week
while draped over his bedroom furniture.
All this, according to the way the clock lies over the front of his dresser, dripping.
There. But why do you tell people you are from St. Louis.
You may call this surreal, but surely arriving at the ATM and finding it broken
cannot be understood in this way, although it could be if Brad urinated pink lemonade
at certain times of the year.
Don’t forget now: Matt Dillon roams the streets of Santa Monica,
aimlessly. Which is another way of saying the White Rose Laundry
has nothing in common with the White Horse Tavern, in Greenwich Village,
or with Sydney Pollack, or with Dylan Thomas, who is now dead.
Wouldn’t it be the slightest bit surreal, if you met them all,
and they were carrying Flintstones lunch boxes with a pound of salt-free butter?
Now that would make a beautiful picture. But it need not be called surreal.