A group of us is invited to dine underwater with the creatures of an aquarium. One particularly lively critter is a plump round little octopus that circles the tank excitedly, farting over our heads.
A long bit later I notice that I haven’t seen any recent updates on our local remake of Deep Space 9 lately. On top of a plastic bin under a little tarp, I find our dried-out octopus friend. This is so sad, as he was producing DS9, and he would have survived if anyone had remembered to spray him with just a bit of water occasionally.
I realize, also, this was accurately predicted by a fortune cookie, which is perfectly clear in retrospect.
Donald Trump’s existence suggests an axiom: the higher the getting, the bigger the dark side.
Being hosted at some guy’s elaborately-decorated stylish apartment, white walls and expensive décor, a congenial upper-middle class bougie gay dude. He gives up his bedroom per my request. In the middle of the night I’m awoken and think I’m being visited by a group of raccoons, but it turns out to just be a few of his cats.
Later, I think it’s happening again so I stay asleep. Yet slowly I realize that in the bedroom with me are a whole menagerie of apes, macaques, zebra, even a giraffe maybe. This is his personal zoo, something he acts like I should be impressed with, while he himself acts nonchalant. It is (I admit) bizarre and impressive. Doubly so with the apartment’s trendy Instagrammable Pinterest-y surroundings.
(This is midpoint of my night’s dreams, which I remember when I wake up earlier in the night — for real — with some insight into my own progressed technique into the writing of dreams. Yet I still don’t wake up to take notes on it, worried I might not get back to sleep…)
In the classroom of a middle school, which feels near the coastal location of my University. I’m my current age, hanging out in bookshelves behind the rows of desks observing class, but I pop in occasionally, keeping tabs on the teacher and mingling with students.
A class lesson: “what’s wrong with this cream cheese recipe?” I personally think they added lemon juice, or didn’t use real cheese. Moving past, the teacher calls on me, somewhat jokingly. Nose in a textbook, I respond mispronouncing ‘book’ like ‘boooook’. She responds in the same joking tone that we’ll name our next lesson’s monster “Orin”.
I abruptly notice that a green starfish kid in the front row has suddenly developed injuries consistent with exposure to a contagion we studied in class. Teacher has also noticed but is playing it off so as not to alarm the students; I don’t do so well hiding it. We help get the student out. Afterwards I take time reflecting on it in the bookshelves.
I return just a bit later, but class appears to be over for that year. Instead, the room is occupied by a choral group of young kids, 4-6 years old, in flowing robes with hoods, singing what could be a Buddhist funeral dirge. Their parents wait behind them to take them home, some breaking down crying. It’s obvious the starfish kid didn’t make it.
Jolted, reminded of life’s brevity, I set aside time to enjoy hanging out with one particular girl I like who reminds me of a fun redhead I knew in high school — Sam Promenchenkel. She’s quite taller than me; my head reaches just under her armpit. With a group we stroll along a stepped boardwalk away from the school. On the way I’m goaded into doing a scooter trick up some stairs, and manage to leap all the way to the second-to-last step, where I do a little bounce and make it all the way up.
My cousin Betty is with our group, skipping away ahead of us toward her wife. She seems so happy and excited, I’m very happy for her, though I watch her get further and further away.
We get to the ocean and do tricks leaping into the surf on scooters. Someone brings up how left-brain-focused people will typically veer to the left and miss their mark on the waves. We practice crossing our eyes, water streams squirting from our pupils, trying to get the streams to meet where we want.
My wife is on the phone. While I happen to be listening in, I hear a family member on the other side say very specifically “hey, your dad has lost his life”. I have an instantaneous reaction of FUCK, followed by (embarrassingly) a feeling that at least now things are closed. Maybe we can inherit something now, even. I bolt awake at 3:21 am.
I park a borrowed Lamborghini on the street outside a hotel on the waterfront of the bay. Perhaps I used to work there. It’s fancy and expensive, but the neighborhood next to it isn’t. I spend a good long time exploring inside during the uncrowded early morning golden hour — traversing interior suspended walkways, decorating for Christmas, and discovering a second-floor gender-neutral bathroom labeled “Theirs”. One curiosity I come across in this mall-like atrium-like space is a very amusing bird sculpture/toy, finding one cleverly hidden mechanism after another to press with my fingers.
In the back row of a wedding, in an upstairs conference room overlooking the bay, I run into my friend Meredith. I show her the nifty bird sculpture (now transformed into an owl) and offer it to her. I also mention that someone trusted me with the Lamborghini out front. But when I go outside again it’s not there. I orient with the nearby landmarks and the saved location on my phone, inspect around and find a note in hard-to-read scrawl — something about average monthly insurance for it being $1200, about “only 12 inches of cocaine” — the obvious implication being that the car will be returned if I pay them what they erroneously believe I actually pay.
Walking up an indeterminate slope, behind my college girlfriend Jenna & my actual wife, others, but for a moment I can’t remember who it was I married. Finally I do remember, and am thankful. I lay down next to my sleeping wife (now more like a long-ago redhead classmate of mine Lauren Wycoff, or the cartoon redhead hottie Jessica Rabbit) and as fond surprise snuggle behind her in bed, and we have sex. The dream actually proceeds through the whole experience: I lube up, it’s quiet and intimate, I finish inside. But for some reason my wife has never told me before that she has a twin! This is very embarrassing (for all of us) yet no one seems upset. Just a never-talk-about-it thing I suppose, although the twin seems… less upset than you’d expect. Perhaps a happy mistake.
A former British prime minister (like Theresa May), exchanging questions with a circle of Americans about things we’ve done. Tangential to her question — something she almost certainly didn’t bargain for — I tell a bizarre rambling story both fascinating and true (within the dream) of a town I visited in Oregon. Not finding our way in despite detailed instructions; driving past a graveyard to get in; discovering the winding dirt roadway between two other roads along a grassy and forested flat area. Picturesque clouds, children’s book sun, mountains in the distance; a rustic cabin near a pixie-haunted broadleaf tree; the wilderness beyond like a dewy lawn.
The next day I text the Prime Minister, having remembered the name of the place: Rasp, Oregon. While it does bear some resemblance to the town of Sisters, Oregon (which I visited this summer), I’m almost sure this was a place I’ve been before. It all may have come from another dream another night, one unwritten, remembered only in other dreams.
A multi-stage heist to steal a baby (or wealth) in broad daylight. It repeats, the same beats with variations of setting, dozens of times. A grouchy burly male criminal, a heavy cart going off the side of the road, and opportunistic me. A sci-fi Star-Wars-like fleet of floating swarming police assault craft, of AT-AT like bubbles, zooms away from a post nearby foiling bystanders hopes of intervention.
The last repetition, we’re stealing the baby/treasure out of the mother’s body. A gesture made fingering to an unexpected hole in the mom. A blank beat, an empty space, the pattern finally breaks and our criminal gang is dismembered and transmogrified. I see my dream character as the female protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, just her doll-like torso and head, floating down into a watery abyss trailing tendrils of blood as she rapidly exsanguinates. The question sits there at the end of the dream: what was different this time, what went wrong?
My first day returning to work as a delivery driver after a long break. I feel different, pulling up and parking my motorcycle near the assemblage of other vehicles. I carry a folded-in cardboard box under my arm, two of my smallest pet rats inside. I naively try placing a delivery bag in there too, and hastily pull it out when the ratties predictably find it (but before anyone notices).
It’s my first day back at school, too. I’m in a classroom where the teacher is demonstrating how to hang string lights above a blackboard, but giving wrong information. I smoothly take over and show how to correct braid them so the strands stay together. She admonishes me by asking “something-something to not” and I wittily joke as if she said “to knot”, still trying to act as though I’m not overriding her. She pivots to teaching a lesson of describing me by an insulting term, akin to”North Idiot”, or Naardviot. I’m pretty sure she actually meant Naardveet, though by now I can’t say anything without her authority feeling threatened.
A girl I don’t know is sitting on a locker room bench talking to herself in Korean in a semi-crazed tone. But I can understand her, and see the danger for her, so sit nearby and begin talking too. I begin improvising as if we’re having a normal conversation, miming eye movements as well.
Still sitting nearby, I change from my 2nd school period outfit into that for 3rd period, without taking off my pants. When I see the pants I believed were white on me, they have huge overlapping layers of colorful stains on them. I don’t have enough time to change again and I have to make a compromise one way or the other.
Applying to work at Acme Bread Company which is a big multi-level modern building, glass, columns, and white walls. I encounter Mary (from long ago at the PacTrades hostel) in an art installation in the ground floor. While I’m there I unexpectedly get a phone call from Chicken. He starts in on a speech about how the time has come for he and I to settle the past, make up and all that. It’s such twisted wish-fulfillment claptrap that I actually break out of my dream in order to shut it down.
Back in the dream, I’m working across the street from Acme Bread at a more overgrown/neglected industrial building, I watch the company car’s futuristic white plastic dashboard light up the underside of the car through the dashboard as I drive away. Incredible overkill for a safety feature, reminds me of the F-35’s $400,000 helmet that lets a pilot see through the plane.
A run-down rustbucket of a bathroom at a friend’s house, maybe Don & Tracy, maybe Uncle Robert & Aunt Carol. I peer the over top of the wall’s half-height window/mirror a look into the exquisitely messy bedroom of some punk rock artsy girl. She comes in and notices me, comes over friendly-like but with a glint of challenge in her eye. Reminds me of Koe a bit.
Outside the Fartpartment, on the sidewalk of the Mission, I’m helping unload a bus. We have to rescue Mabel’s stuff that’s been left on the curb in disarray. Perhaps echoes of the occasion when Mabel moved out from downstairs and a crew including Lorelei left all sorts of interesting stuff out overnight, only to get collected for the dump the next morning. I wish I’d rescued all of it.
On a bike, escorting Chicken to the hospital after the birth of his second child. I find it difficult to pedal up the ramp, and I’m actually escorting him less and less. We make it but I wait outside with my bike.
Lynae tells me a rat has died, calling it Scrap at first (Stimp?), then rat #1. When she finally admits that our rat Henry died in the night, I’m instantly bawling. We just had such a nice time playing together on a chair, I even read an article about him. I wake up exclaiming “but he wasn’t even sick!!” That morning at breakfast we discovered that one of our fish had, in fact, died in the night.
Awoken suddenly by a dead child entering the room.
Earlier: Chicken is still captain of the boat, The Relentless (but bigger with more people). Fun party, I’m playing along, trying to act goofier than I’d otherwise be — everyone else gets inebriated quicker, per usual. I make up with Chicken with a brief but amicable conversation… he’s the big man, after all. Lying down amongst the potted plants of a side hallway, the boat approaches a water gate, and I watch from the front window as we swerve and brake to the right, nearly hitting a Coast Guard tugboat trying to help us through.
In another dream, I peek in the garbage and my wife has thrown out several frozen dessert cakes… she says they’re expired (as well as cheap sugary garbage food), but I’m compelled to fish them out and go through each, deciding if they’re actually still good. This dream reminds me strongly of the fact I’ve been procrastinating on piecing out raw meat for our cats — if that were to go bad, it would be a stinky, expensive, embarrassing mess, and it would be all my fault since my wife is out of town.
Anyway, I’m in a room… someone’s there with me helping me do a manual task… mentions what if a creepy dead kid were to suddenly appear… then on cue, from a door behind and to my left, springs out this eerie 8-year-old. Their throat is immediately in my hand. I don’t know what I’m trying to prevent, but I remember speaking ‘dead kid’ in my sleep, and waking up feeling rattled by having to choke something that may or may not have been evil. I only got 4 hours sleep, but the thought occurred to me that I somehow woke myself specifically so I’d have a better chance remembering these dreams.
Like I told the bagpipe bandleader, none of us are really sure how to commemorate the life of a website. Part of that is because, hey, a website isn’t really alive. So it’s a difficult question. How do you remember?
I remember when I wrote about it. There was such beautiful harmony in this clever system of giving people thumbs-up and earning points for photo contests and answering ridiculous yet thought-provoking questions. I’ve long had an affinity for non-binding imaginary point systems, that fact is known to many.
It was sad when I heard that it would be going offline. I had a spree-day contacting people I’d met on there once or twice, people I liked but never really kept in touch with. Does anyone reading this remember when Flickr used to be mostly just bloggers with cool pictures they wanted to host? Every photo had an interesting reason to be there; you had to portion out which photos you uploaded cause you only had 20mbs a month to work with. So you only only put up the best ones. Either that, or you shilled out the $60 to become… pro. Lots of websites go through that high-quality early-adopter content-building phase. Consumating never had a chance to outgrow that magical period, and I’m bittersweetly thankful. I sound silly enough waxing about Flickr.
So I’ll just remember it how it always was: silly; playful; packed with interesting people, far too interesting; a perfectly crafted time-waster; the spirit of an age. Not bad for a site that started life as joke personals ads.