Posted at 18:35 on 18 Oct 2011 by Pandora / Blake
I dreamed the other night about reading an autobiography of some (fictional) well-known man. My dream, of course, focussed on his school experience. The most memorable part was his recollection of cross-country PE. Long runs through beautiful green English countryside in horrible grey English weather. Icy wind and stinging rain that raised goose-pimples on your bare legs below your scratchy white shorts. And a sadistic PE master who would wait for you at a turning point, cane in hand - ostensibly to prevent the boys from getting lost, but missing no opportunity to slash at you across your damp, chafing shorts to encourage you along.
Because this was a dream, the same PE master could be waiting at every crossroads, snug in his warm blazer, applying a cane stroke to the seat of a struggling boy every few minutes during a 3 mile cross-country run.
I think I know where the dream came from. I'm still hobbling around on crutches after spraining my ankle last Wednesday, and when she was visiting over the weekend Adele Haze told us a story from an Australian autobiography she'd read - a true story, although I can't remember who told it - of a school teacher who delighted in caning the hands of the boy with the hurt leg with special relish, knowing he'd have to use his welted hands to make his way back to the back of the class on crutches. I shuddered when I heard it, sickened and unable to fetishise such targeted cruelty when I'm struggling so much with mobility at the moment.
Despite having loathed cross-country runs at school almost as much as I currently hate being unable to walk unaided, the school scenario of my dream appeals to me much more. Perhaps when I'm off the crutches my kinky brain will be able to appreciate the sadism of the true story, but in the meantime fiction suits me just fine.