240: Dream Girl
Title text: No matter how elaborately you fool yourself.
This comic is a commentary on people who dream, daydream, and wish for things to happen, commonly in a romantic context. Cueball dreams of a girl who gives him a time and a place, and the last panel implies that he went to that place at the given time, but did not find the girl. The strip builds up hope and anticipation that this supernaturally romantic reunion will occur, but grounds the reader with the last line of the comic and the title text.
The coordinates of the note lead to Reverend Thomas J. Williams Park in Cambridge, MA, USA. The time on the note, September 23, 2007, was about six months after the publishing of this comic. One hundred eighty-one days, to be exact.
Notably, several hundred xkcd fans met up at that very time and place. Randall also visited the meetup, and was recorded as saying "Maybe wanting something does make it real."
The idea that the frame of the comic grabs the people inside was already used in comic 82: Frame.
- [Cueball and a friend are talking.]
- Cueball: I had a dream that I met a girl in a dying world.
- [In the next frame, Cueball's words fill the entire frame.]
- Cueball: It was all coming apart. Hairline cracks in reality widened to yawning chasms. Everything was going dark and light all at once, and there was a sound like breaking waves rising into a piercing scream at the edge of hearing. I knew we didn't have long together.
- Cueball: She grabbed me and spoke a stream of numbers into my ear. Then it all went away.
- [A girl grabs him as cracks in the edges of the panel become tendrils and grab Cueball and the girl.]
- Cueball: I woke up. The memory of the apocalypse faded to mere fancy, but the numbers burned bright in my mind. I wrote them down right away.
- [A note reads: 42.39561 -71.13051 2007 09 23 14 38 00.]
- Cueball: They were coordinates. A place and a time, neither one too far away.
- Cueball: What else could I do? When the day came, I went to the spot and waited.
- Friend: ...and?
- Cueball: It turns out wanting something doesn't make it real.
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