I look around myself on the parking lot. What on earth is this tent? It is completely dark and I can see nothing. Earlier the same day I had been crossing the same car park on my way back from the university gym, and I noticed a handful of dog owners training their dogs there. Sit here, walk there. Good dog, bad dog. Anyways, as I now found myself on the parking lot again, it slowly dawned on me — like stupidity dawns on a student — that I somehow had bewildered myself into one of these dog owner’s tents. That was the only rational I could extract from the otherwise bizarre situation I found myself in. Scared to have gone into somebody’s private, I wanted to back out with superluminal speed. I panicked as I slowly realized that I had no clue where the exit was. I saw a bed somewhere to the front and completely freaked out with fear. What would the owners of the tent say if they woke up and found me lurking around in their most private chambers in the middle of the night? I desperately looked around and saw a window. The yellow light from the street light shone faintly out in the dark-blue autumn night. I knew I somehow had to get out there again. But I didn’t dare to cross the room. From experience I knew that if I tried to walk, I would stumble into something that I couldn’t see. Things I knew were there, which I just couldn’t see. Like dark matter in a galaxy, really. Quite real, but impossible to see with the eyes. The walls of the tent were flapping in the warm breeze. I discretely sank down into something meek underneath me, as I quietly screamed “no-no-no!” and continued to imagine what would happen if the owners woke up. Who could I go to for help? And what did a big camping tent do in the middle of a huge car park anyway? With a bed inside? As my eyes got used to the dark, I spotted a desk over on the other side of the room. None of my observations actually corresponded well with what I expected to find in a camping tent, and it suddenly dawned upon me that with such strange observations, I couldn’t actually be sure that I truly was in a tent on a huge parking lot in the middle of the night in the first place! My eyes were now bigger than tennis balls and my spirits lower and lower for each moment. My overloaded brain trying harder and harder to remember. To make at least some sort of sense out of the surroundings. To interpret. So far it hadn’t done me any more good than forcing me to realize I didn’t actually have the slightest clue about nothing. Not even the faintest knowledge of where I was, how I got there or what my purposes there were — if any. The tent-in-a-parking-lot theory had proven so filthy that I was now willing to abandon it all together. I was all of a sudden thrust into what seemed like an impenetrable well of complete despair. I felt so utterly lonely and helpless that I could cry. Had I remembered that I had a mum, I would have called for her. If you have never had the panicking experience of not having the faintest clue on all those fundamental issues… well: You surely have missed out on something inherently terrible. I can’t think of something more awful. It is the ultimate state of confusion. You feel so lost. So lost and alone in the big void of no nothing. I think many people are there all day long — if they dare open their eyes to think. To see with their minds and conceive with all their human capacity to do so. Where did you come from? What is this place? What meaning is there to it all? No much fortitude in 42.
And then. All of a sudden, I saw the solution. Like the last riddle solved before you deliver your thesis. It never even occurred to me that I could have been so wrong. I was never in any tent! I was in my own bedroom in the middle of the night and I had been there all along. I was merely having an extremely spirited experience of sleepwalking. More vivid than usual this time. The solution was so easy I could barely believe it. The relief I felt was tremendous and overwhelming. If it hadn’t possessed such explanatory power, I think I couldn’t have accepted such an easy explanation. For myself, I never actually questioned that I was on that parking lot. It was my brain that forced me to realize how badly that explanation corresponded with my observations of the surroundings. My wrong starting point was the reason why I “couldn’t see” the bag on the floor, or the box that I would stumble into each time I tried to make a step. There was no room for them in my interpretation of reality, and thus I simply couldn’t see them — even if they were right in front of me! Now, however, that the right frame of interpretation had been presented to me, it all made such inherently beautiful sense, and I realized that the tent I thought I was in was just the walls in my bedroom. The flapping of the tent in the wind was the curtains in front of my windows. The dark matter on the floor was just a box and a bag! I could see it now. I realized the truth about where I was. By that I immediately also knew how I got there and why I was there. I could go back to sleep. Such an easy way out. Almost too easy to be true. It felt so… undeserved. Thanking the God I suddenly remembered the existence of, I grinned and went back to rest in peace.
Do you rest in peace?