Doors. Lots of them. I think I hear muzak, and it might be “Riders on the Storm.” (“Into this world we’re thrown.”) I can’t make out much else about the large space I’m in. But there are definitely a lot of doors.
I’m the one who is normally played by either Gellar or Stewart, but today the actor or actress doesn’t matter. (I think to myself: Only the acting matters?)
The doors are all closed, and they all have engraved plaques on them, gold to match the doorknobs. As I look around, I find that I must look directly at a plaque and concentrate hard in order to see what it says; otherwise it just appears as a blur. The one that I’m looking at now, with great effort at concentrating, says “CONSERVATIVE” in bold capital letters. As soon as I look away, I’m aware of feeling exhausted from the effort. When I try to look at another one of the plaques, an ache develops behind my eyes and I have to look away.
A door (it doesn’t matter which one) opens, a man emerges and shuts the door behind him. As he walks toward me, my vision begins to clear a bit. He is dressed in a bright purple outfit that includes tights and a cape. There is a hood over the top of his head, and he wears a pair of goggles that make his eyes look comically large. There is a large bright orange letter ‘C’ emblazoned on his chest.
It’s Category Man, of course.
“You made this stupid room, didn’t you?” It comes out slightly more venomous than I’d intended, but I decide that’s OK.
He stops about three feet in front of me and places his fisted hands on his hips. “I most certainly did not. I had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, I strongly object to being appointed as the flunky who has to address the POV character in this post!”
“What else could you be besides a flunky?”
“I know, I know. CATEGORY MAN (man) (man) (man). Don’t these doors represent your categories?”
He sighs and nods, as if grudgingly. “It would seem so. Yet this abominable room is in no way my doing.”
I’ve now gotten to the point where I feel able to try looking at another door, and I do so. Very difficult to focus. “CHRISTIAN” says one. I quickly try another. “ANABAPTIST.”
I have to stop and rest. I rub my eyes. “Anabaptists are Christians. Why two different doors?”
Category Man crosses his arms. “That’s but one of the many things about the room that is so abominable! The categories all make sense individually. I would be fine with each one in the proper context. But here they hopelessly overlap! They jar against one another with no clarity whatsoever! There is, of course, one that says ‘LIBERAL;’ you just haven’t seen it yet.” He gives me a bit of a meaningful smirk. “I would think the Ministry for Clarity and Disambiguation would be all over this.”
“But the doors represent categories. That’s your thing, right?”
Instead of answering, he seems to scan some of the nearest doors with a look of disgust.
I look at him until he returns my gaze. “What are you supposed to tell me?”
He looks at me, completely serious now. “This is apparently ambiguity in which you must live, in which you must be able to feel “at home,” insofar as anyone could feel at home here. You might continue to go in and out of the doors, but HERE is where you live.”
“So far, this seems to be something that I already know.”
“Of course you know. But you do not KNOW. That brings me to the end of that to which I have been made privy.”
I narrow my eyes a bit, and stare at him for a while. He does not blink.
After about a minute and a half, I speak again. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Expressionless.
He turns and goes, exiting through the same door by which he entered.
I look around, noticing the space instead of the doors. It’s spacious.