Slept at a couple friends’ home in Oxnard, CA
In a familiar communal velvet plush gathering space, chairs and windows in an oval, I talk with Patrick who is a week out from graduating high school, very bright and proud. The building is long, with conveyor belts in the workshop/basement open to the air, reminiscent of the Acme Bread Co. Unfortunately an old sorceress grandma has recently put herself in charge. I’ve no recollection of why she was evil, but my co-conspirators and I concoct a plan to overthrow and kill her. I shapeshift and sneak over the back fence. My disguise seems to fail on the way down, and I land naked in a puddle. Luckily the enchantment only gives me the illusion of failure, and to others I appear as a football (the most similar object that would make sense coming over a fence and landing in a puddle). I’m thrown by a conspirator to nearby the witch/sorceress/grandma and successfully trap her face in a plastic bag.
My wife’s late grandfather, Pa, sitting peacefully on a chair in the middle of his old living room. Grams sits on his lap, both gazing at something I can’t see. They’re having a fond conversation, and although I watch their lips move, I hear nothing.
Malaysian news crew leaves a 200 ft. folding ladder in our student news studio. Of course, this is a great temptation for my lads and I. Later, on my way somewhere else, I climb a similar fire escape ladder. A bubbly, distressed blonde runs up and hugs me, surprisingly warm, then effusively apologizes for mistaking me for her close friend who regularly climbs that fire escape.
On the city’s jagged, street-level highway there’s a single minivan going the wrong way, but the cars manage to drive around it as though it were an extremely temporary one-way lane. Later the same thing happens while I’m riding a scooter on a one-way street, an entire line of cars that were diverted, with no notice from our direction.
Australian PM has a special rule, 612, where she can reject things based on being a grandmother. A door displaying the news is marked 612. Sitting around a table, Lynae gets up and a made-up but world-weary Asian girl sits in her chair. Despite the possible tension from bringing up politics, I solicit opinions by sharing the analogy of an internet response code, ‘4xx – machine on fire’. The Aussies seem properly amused. A newsstand reports “PM unhurt by nip dip”, and I learn this refers to the particulars of temporarily banning high-priced smart devices. Australia, after all, is the country exporting the raw materials to make them. Unbeknownst, the PM was sitting at the next table over, appreciates my gab, and takes me on a local tour.
The semi-arid town seems generic — there’s a central roundabout, off to the left is the industry, upslope to the right are short flat houses with fenced-in yards. In the distance is a chunky green promontory, much like Monument Valley USA. As we drive closer I see stunning medieval-imitation towers, ramparts, and fortifications. I can’t even fathom such artistic means, or their intent. This is what the area is famous for. I’m so awed by the beauty I begin to doubt its realness, even telling the PM it looks like a Myst game. This only exacerbates it’s majestic quality. Against the golden dusk light, the elegant stone buttresses on the far side of the hill spout waterfalls, the leafless trees clutching spherical mud-daub treehouses. Yet nothing degrades into unreality, it simply remains repentantly beautiful.