What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?
I can’t say I’ve ever felt like I was walking through a Rene Magritte landscape, though I imagine it would be fascinating — like laying on the ground and seeing shapes in the clouds to the extent that they turn into what you’re seeing… Scary. Surrealism has that kind of “what if” quality about it. What if the world were turned upside down and nothing was what is what it seemed?
This is pure fantasy, and my mind has never conjured up anything quite so bizarre. How fascinating it would be to have the eyes of a particular artist — does he see things differently, or interpret them in a whole new way?
Stretching the definition a bit for my personal experiences, the most surreal experience I have been “in” was when we (our family of 6 with 2 grandparents) were visiting France many years ago, the Dordogne. We stopped the car to admire the view from a small parking area where the land just dropped away and you could see vistas below and above. All of a sudden, a helicopter came zooming nearly straight up from the side of the chasm carrying a long piece of pipe on a chain. It zipped over the heads of onlookers, making them scatter like terrified squirrels. Then going to a nearby location, it hovered as a man on the ground released the pipe into a pile, obviously for some kind of construction work. then it zipped away like a deranged dragonfly. Our enjoyment of the scenic spot was spoiled. We were left with that “what just happened!” feeling.
In Scotland there is this phenomenon called a “haar” — a very dense fog that tends to sneak up at the end of hot sunny days when the temperature of the air and the North Sea collide to create this moisture. It is so thick it looks like smoke advancing down a street. Once we (family members) went out onto the beach when there was a haar, and that was weird. The furthest you could see was about 10 feet, and if someone was further away, they were gone. We played some game like Marco Polo trying to find each other in the damp mist. When you did, it was like they just “materialized” in front of you.