Dream Journal

Strange Forms of Water in Coves

Observing shapes of water in a bay from cliffside above. A lighthouse or dock sits amidst what seems like turbulent waves, which coalesce into nearly vertical walls of water rising from the estuary floor. They form sophisticated mirrored patterns. An informational picture-in-picture appears in the corner and I scroll around a wider view, examining the next cove over — where the shapes are less grandiose but more distinct. The sharp outlines of the PIP really help discern the unusual forms, which are mesmerizing.

Riding in the backseat with my dad driving down a road in Palm Desert. A tiny bit on edge as I’d normally be driving myself, but I’m handling it ok. We round a slight curve and he has to brake hard and quickly merge out of the left lane as there’s a wicker bench in the road. Briefly I mention how lucky it is he was only going 22 mph, the same speed I choose to go on that particular stretch. I volunteer to get out and move the bench aside if he stops at next place to pull over. But that’s a country club, and instead of just stopping by the side of the road in the little turnout my dad drives around their big complicated parking lot for a bit till I tell him to just pause. I jog along under some lush overhanging foliage along the outside of the road, mindful of cars that could be coming. I realize I’m not fast like I used to be, and the turnout was pretty far from the bench. I finally round the bend and see it’s actually a parked car without even blinkers on. The task now changed, I dash across the road to see if I can find the driver. I do, on the second floor of a weird little ski slope store. Despite much patience on my part they seem disinterested in even listening. I realize, oh, this person just feels entitled — I can’t rationalize the problem to them because they don’t care about other people.

Running airline tubing in a long narrow kink club space where I work/volunteer. I remember the first time I went there, the entry corridor (made up of personal side rooms for storage/changing) seemed to take forever to walk down; now I barely notice. While fixing something in-between the gate and the front door I get locked out. I was half-expecting this so I’m not stressed, I just climb carefully over the old corrugated roof, taking my time. Spot landlord of the building down ina courtyard and pause, not wanting to meet him. Thereafter, examining the tank, I decide we can’t have a keyboard in the aquarium despite that it looks pretty cool.

Special event room with bunch of kids partying. It’s like a home movie night, with pull-out beds in a bleacher stand configuration, popcorn and snacks provided too. But it’s a small space finished in bamboo, smaller than 10′ x 10′, and I consider the COVID air problem. There’s a nitrous dispenser stocked on the bed, but I’m not going to point it out to the kids — one of them seems to know, and calls it a whippet.

Not long after, I’m cleaning up a couch in what is kinda the top floor flop pad of a hostel. It mirrors the previous space, but I can’t say if it’s the same. I manage to dislodge an old plate that’s been wedged into the cushions for a good long while, discovering in the process it was put there by someone I like. Although I’ve done a great job cleaning the couch, if I report this find I know my bearded and newsboy-capped friend might get in trouble.

Dream Journal

A Mess of a House, Yet Still Fancy

Palatial house owned by my family but poorly maintained. Notable is that the layout on the first and second level are the same, both with very tall ceilings. Refrigerators happen to be in the same locations above and below. I notice this after I must deal with the one on the lower level being dark. My dad has put some bulk food on the edge of spoiling in there, and there are few shelves to work with. This isn’t much different from the state of the rest of the house, though I’m not bothered so much as coming to recognize and accept it.

In an alcove of an all-white, blank-walled mall space (still perhaps within the large poorly-kept house), while animatedly chatting on a couch with my partner, we invite a friendly stranger to talk with us. They accept and futz around with the jumble of white upholstery on the couch. All of us simultaneously realize we’ve neglected to tell them about a roommate asleep underneath us, laying still on his side in the blanket pile. Somehow, the prospect of having to explain it seems more inconvenient than the odd situation itself. Across from us is a sunglasses store, seemingly highlighting the uncoolness of the situation.

Dream Journal

Singular Standing Dream, Dad’s Casserole

A marathon of a first dream that seems to last most of the night. Yet little of it is remembered… as so little seemed to happen. My crush and I stand next to a program guide — this is the main image. We simply stand there, still, static.

As the dream deteriorates into wakefulness, I ride a bike around a specific blind corner in my neighborhood (the crosswalk at Potrero and Cesar Chavez). In the instant I round the corner I imagine threading my trajectory between a former crush and new crush, one oncoming and one outgoing. I wake up and realize I’ve had the strange experience of sleeping nearly 8 hours dreaming basically a single scene.

I go back to sleep wishing to gather more dreams. Not the worst excuse, I suppose.

Visiting my childhood home after a long hiatus, where my dad still lives. I notice the house’s original CRT TVs are mostly gone. When I ask about this my dad says they tended to get cracked from falling forward onto the ground, since their design was off-balance. Eating some of my dad’s
hastily prepared food at the kitchen bar (maybe Cheez-It casserole?) I find a hair embedded through it. I make a conscious effort not to worry about it. My dad puts on an 8tracks playlist he made through tinny computer speakers. I help by casting it to the living room speakers too — they coincidentally sync together on the first try, no trouble. My wife mentions she’s hungry so I offer her the casserole. She tries it but finds the hair right away and can’t eat it. Because of the hair. Guess I can’t blame her.

It dawns on me that the amount of males and females living in our apartment building has always remained constant. Whether this is intentional or not I couldn’t guess. But I do note this was true until a pair of kids move next door not long ago. They are, curiously enough, a boy and a girl.

Dream Journal

Criss-Cross Causeway, 777-11-21

I encounter my crush topless in my backyard. She has no nipples though, a smooth flat chest. From context it’s completely unclear if this is a normal state of affairs. It does tend toward disconcerting for us though. Over the course of our conversation they manage to grow, though not returning quite to normal — more like odd unpainful welts in their place. Meanwhile, a party three backyards over continues to rage on (a strange detail is this exact thing was happening as I went to sleep).

After travelling along a causeway, in a car with my male family members, we pull into a gas station. My turn to drive and I immediately pull around and run over the curb at the corner of the pump. Nearby there is a famous but struggling restaurant, Jalisco Taco. They’re known for the great human contact of the restaurant setting. Not so great during the pandemic, obviously.

Young Patrick leaves the little coupe, and inside we examine a map marking out where we’ve been today. There and back again across the causeway, also showing what sections I’ve driven. A feeling of being young and uncertain about what I was supposed to accomplish.

I receive a call from a relative on my dad’s side. The caller ID has changed from a very expected 18626 to the mysteriously intentional-looking 777-11-21. (I feel like I never used to dream of specific numbers, but this was very distinct. I have no impression of its importance, but it was certainly a number tied to an emotional reaction.)

Dream Journal

Dad’s Converted Drawbridge Cottage

I possess a gigantic condom as big as an arm, though it’s almost completely dried out. While trying to demonstrate to my little brother how to use it, the ring at the base chips off immediately. It’d be a waste of a unique object to simply throw it away… but this is difficult. It’s so large it’s useless for anything but a demonstration anyway.

A cottage my dad worked on when he was young, in his twenties. Situated at the left edge of a canal gate, it’s a former industrial drawbridge operator’s cabin, narrow as as a subway line, somewhere in Los Angeles near a museum. Dad was a “2sq/fter”: someone who could take two square feet of soil from their home (in this case Illinois, though my Dad is actually from LA) and transform all the ground on their farm with it. Dad didn’t do that though, he’s just taken care of the native soil and built a charming and solid little shack just above the water level.

I kick off 4 of the 6 teammates on my canoe. The only ones left are one Finnish guy (looks like Willem Dafoe plus angry/sad Moe from the Simpsons) plus my dad. A theme song plays while we watch a betrayal.

Replacing the stove in my house after finding a more matching 1970s stove. The back control panel slides off separately, with my normal spice rack on top of it. I set up a hanging fluorescent click light at the back, near the vent (like the one above my kitchen table in waking life).

I discover, a web domain of my grandfather’s name, still registered by my dad. I make a phone call to the associated number but hang up when someone answers who’s obviously waking up from sleep.

A character named Jean Auern (an alias of Jean Grey from Marvel) has been alive for 14 billion years. She’s been involved in US politics for 300 million, non-linearly. I learn in depth of these events while traveling through a box of charcoal.

The person I called when investigating calls back. Jean confesses the truth of shutting down his home, punishing him. She then restores power to the narrow tube apartment, the same one my dad built, just like flipping a switch. I watch as he throws a few stray items out of the way in the narrow kitchen, before a train comes through at a T junction near the end. So he didn’t have to move the things out of the way — he’s been here since before the trains stopped running, before the place’s powers were cut off. So whose was it before him?

Dream Journal

Called my Nana “Mom”, A Lack of Unaccomplishment

I called my nana “Mom”. It’s the second time in the dream, and we make a little joke out of it.

Leaving motorcycle across the street in my neighbors driveway temporarily. Dad’s white car is parked across the street.

Feeling like a loser, living in my parents new apartment, trying to decide my life. Only so many places I could go, maybe Palm Springs, maybe a traveling job like a trucker, build a small place in the woods. Also, my parents don’t know I vape — one more thing I guess. I wear an elaborate creased-shoulder shirt, one with a small triangle hole cut out of it. It’s an odd detail, but I know I couldn’t replicate that myself if I tried.

Dream Journal

Siftka, & a Dress of a Decayed Drum

“Siftka”, an evocative name with no meaning I can recall. After I’ve been awake a while a box has been left on my front doorstep filled with this, being shoved out bit by bit.

Being shown a small portable dishwasher operated by syringe injection of water. I’m cleaning the fireplace while my dad yells at my brother Patrick in the other room, a daily ritual now. I idly wonder if this is part of him processing being a social worker (his real-life job).

Examining a big metal drum that is suffering from degradation, an appearance like my middle-eastern doumbek but sized like my big Portland djembe. It’s walls are starting to tear and it’s not holding it’s shape. I’m actually inside the thing searching for how to repair it when my wife comes upon me in the kitchen entryway, and we have a moment’s laugh as essentially I’m now wearing it like a tight dress.

Another object is a jacket made of four jackets. I have to find the right zipper to unzip turn off the drum’s automatic drumming.

Dream Journal

Gremlins Do-Over

My persona takes the form of Bobby Hill (from the King of the Hill cartoon), playing a lengthy game all the way through — making terrible choices in difficult situations the entire time. But as the game is about to end, I return to the first level and change my original actions… following a pair of invisible girls through a gateway I’d rejected previously as being an obvious trap. Surprisingly, everything clicks into place smoothly after that. It’s as if I’m playing on easy mode now. Because of this, I don’t know whether the rest of this dream narrative comes before or after…

Gremlins are released into the dream. Present in every scene, they somehow represent failings and hindrances I’ve acquired in adult life and have diverse transmogrified forms, perhaps a tequila bottle, or computer hardware. That would make this akin to Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The original gremlin isn’t cuddly either (like the Mogwai named Gizmo in the original), more like a small green papier-mâché spider one might imagine as a New Orleans parade float.

Another scene, an apartment set for a 1920s movie, an earlier era of Hollywood. It’s made to look like a sitcom that’s an agglomeration of cultures and ideas. One odd detail is a string of koosh balls garlanded around the kitchen island. The young actress who is playing the director has to have explained to her (given the inclusion of several “sensitive” African elements) why the scene is problematic. This is the first time the word is used this way on film, fairly early for when the actual movie was made in the year 2000.

Zooming out from this setting to a reality TV intro showing the cast next to another cast, meant to demonstrate their relative honesty and humble character.

In the same set, an iMac is brought in with a VHS slot to be repaired. There’s a minidisc or two inside and I offer to transfer it to digital by introducing myself to the cool woman who brought it in. I say I’ll get her contact info from my homepie friend Josh (also standing nearby). I have to prevent gremlin-rats from crawling inside the slot. What they represent, I’m not sure, but surely they represent something.

A Schwarzenegger-dad type stands on the steps at the top of a hallway giving ultimatums; it’s like having an angry Zeus for a father. I’m a small petulant boy, a bit like John Connor in the Terminator, stamping my feet in defiant rebellion. I purposefully walk up the steps to pass this dad of mine to express my frustration, only for his façade of tough love to crack into love and forgiveness for me.

I find a long-lost brother of mine. He’s younger, without my knowledge of alcohol or drugs (this is filmed facetiously, a plate of dried leaves being snorted, something to throw the kiddies off) or really any of life’s inevitable mistakes. We search for a place I encountered earlier — a place which called me in my own father’s voice — as we walk through hallways in a near-symbolic (non-realistic) space. We suddenly find the same door again, leading to the command deck of an old-timey submarine. But my brother half-heartedly feigns some reason he doesn’t want to go in. I pretend not to understand his objections. However, when we enter it’s at an earlier stage than when I visited before; it’s still being constructed as it’s a stage set, the wooden ribs of the submarine exposed. One detail: someone has to go and manually rope something up outside, wrapping rope around their shoulders and torso, implied to be a suicide mission — they call it “happy man”.

The dream ends, or perhaps starts over.

Dream Journal

Boat, Bus, (Another Bus), and a Pretty Good Date

On a boat, minding my own business reading. Three lavatory cabins sit on the left of the boat, bobbing widely up and down in the spray. I’m friendly with the boatman, and we take a 15 minute break on a shoreline so I can get up and stretch my legs, and take a pee break outside those challenging lavatories. I watch as a water pressure rocket shoots into the sky.

Asking a girl I know out on a date. (As it happens, this girl will later become my crush.) We’re at a college, riding around on student buses, among huge institutional buildings with wide lawns laid out on a grid. I point out to her the many little groups of animal sculptures placed on balconies of an incomplete building, supposedly a tradition in Arabia and the Emirates. One group of wolves, though, is alive, and we watch enthralled as they stalk across the empty road outside our bus windows.

We go somewhere inside a big university building, a place with high-ceilinged two-story elevators. A maintenance man actually points out how they’ve recently made them nicer. There’s somewhere I think would be nice to take her for a date, but when we get there it’s a student mental health clinic (maybe we mis-navigated, maybe they moved the location). I figure this out looking through forms over the light of a desk lamp, politely decline their services, and take her somewhere nicer.

We find a plain rectangular room with a bed. I ask her directly if she’d like to have sex. Her reaction is everything: she ponders with her finger pressed to her lips, eyes cast upwards, gently scratching her now bald head. It’s a subtly amusing overacted display of thoughtfulness, and I take the time to evaluate her unique beauty. Finally she turns to me and pronounces a simple, conclusive “yes”. I smile, but realizing we haven’t actually had any regular fun yet I change tack. We snuggle up back-to-front and proceed through a card I have, a written series of jokes and responses, and she quickly picks up on it. We start to form a bond.

Again I’m a young kid, reading on a bus this time. Keep my tiny fuzzy rat Pierre under my fuzzy sweater, with the waist tucked in. My reading is interrupted by a bus guard (seem like a lot of rules on this bus) who scans me with handheld detector. But I feel uncharacteristically fine about it, and don’t worry about Pierre. My dad sits in the seat next to me. While I’m reading, the left lens of my glasses comes loose and blows out the window. I quickly try to remember the street, 45th I think, so we can go back and get it. However, the next street is 11th and the street after that is labelled 11:11.

I attempt to improvise, putting a grid of various colored glitter-water into a cat-eye-shaped lens and frame. Remarkably, the lens is the correct size, yet has a crunchy ice texture that makes it useless for reading through — but fascinating to look at. I study it intently and wonder what I could use it for, my reading forgotten.

Dream Journal

The Boss, The Barbarian, The Beast

Sharing a bed with a female boss, and a kid who joins us. It’s quality snuggle time but I have to be a good sport on account there’s an orange-lighted lamp behind us, one I just barely can’t reach while we’re ensconced together.

Female boss and I leave the relative comfort of this bedroom, a place which has the sensation of a single-room ground floor unit of a multi-story underground parking garage. The neighborhood is the dusty, sunny, oldest part of my hometown (although I don’t think of it as Cathedral City at any point, the architecture and streets are no other). We’re leading a class single-file while we roam the near-empty streets, searching for even one business compatible with ours. Finally, in a wider old-west-ish double collonnaded warehouse area, I suggest that the business there — in publishing — is close enough to journalism that it’s worth pursuing.

Unfortunately there’s a brutish barbarian who guards nearby; he manages to kill all of us before we even realize what’s going on. We’re left — not quite dead, but as good as dead — to perish slowly in the sun strung up on a tall post, like a ship’s crow’s nest. But there’s a saving grace — we’ve got a Brock Samson bodyguard just for such an occasion. He hides under a bridge until the hulking brute passes overhead, stabbing his machete through chipped slats and impaling the aggressor in brutal revenge. We’re taken down from our gallows and recover with no ill effects.

Going a little further in the small near-deserted town, there is a wide shallow lake to the right (something like I’ve seen before in dreams, a wistful view with balconies worthy for gazing in reflection) and to the left, what looks like what could be an ornate orthodox church. I’m pleased to go and explore, knowing I’m versed in how to behave in almost any religious building. Turns out it’s a Hindu shrine to Ganesh, one with specific obeisances to enter. My dad advances too quickly through the entryway crowded with votives. I watch him try to balance on two upturned djembe drums, not quite successfully.

Inside the building, I chat with a few close friends as we sit on barstools. Idly we gaze toward the adjacent wall, the only light in the room, adorned with a massive floor-to-ceiling aquarium — and at least one monstrous inhabitant. It looks like a swimming centipede, maybe a polychaete worm, as if from the Ordovician era. My sibling Patrick seems quite concerned — it’s large, aggressive, and very near. Yet I know something about the tank, reassuring him “that glass may look only 10, perhaps 12 inches thick, but it’s not. That’s what we may I’m call ‘arcane glass’, and for that thing it’s actual measure is [literally] infinity inches.” I’m quite serious with this assessment. As if to punctuate my point, the thing winds up to the glass again, bigger, meaner, with a frightening face, and hits it full speed — which makes a satisfyingly tiny donk sound.