Escaping a house which represents Ukraine, as besieged by the Russians. I was a journalist and accidentally became stuck there, making the most of it going from room to room. Noticing near the end they finally changed everything and cleaned up all the rooms, and are dragging away my big metal box. Yank it away and flee through the front hayloft door. I manage to warn incoming friends about a girl with a vagina between her digits (middle and ring finger), that she secretly works for the Russians. The paper topper for my box detaches and blows across street — I walk to retrieve it, thinking about the image of the Angelic Sword of Michael.
Parents finally trying to get themselves together to move into their new house, which they’ve owned for awhile. It stands on a corner — tall, narrow, empty, and pristinely white on every surface. Inconveniently, the squat modern apartment my parents rented for me to stay near them is three plots down. Not having adjacent backyards means we can’t spend time together but be in our own spaces. Going through the charming sideyard, with loungers and decorations of flickering tiny pumpkins, I understand better that we’re really using it as an Airbnb.
A streak of trees and sky filtered through some distortion, like glass, but treated by my mind’s eye as a real object. A striking impression of autumn in New York.
My family has bought back my childhood home. I’m puzzled to discover that several small things that I left behind are still in place. For the entire time they lived here, the former owners took care of my plant wall (which is actually the back window of my current home). Everything has been kept in place, and the plants are still healthy. It’s been 16 years!
Other things are sadly missing. Much of the backyard has been cleared down because of the sale. There’s no sign of the cactus garden, the row of agaves by the side-yard, anything near the sheltered window of my teenage bedroom. All over, there’s a lingering tinge of The Other, those unseen people who lived here for years. The property feels hollowed-out, barren, despite all the uncannily familiar landscaping and fences and everything else.
I run along the top edge of the back brick wall as fast as I can. The wall isn’t as narrow as it felt when I was a kid — there’s an odd mixture of delight and melancholy, as I consider how I never thought I’d be able to do this again. How I can do it as many times as I want now.
Near the furthest corner of the wall I survey the horizon of the desert valley. In the distance there’s an area I can clearly make out a strange red cloud. I indicate it to one of my companions, wondering if it’s a concern — I’m told it’s just a high amount of large particulates, suspended dust from desert winds.
As I’m going through inspecting rooms I come to the garage. I’m sure it only used to hold three cars, but the darkened empty space appears to have at least four spaces. Little bits of random ephemera can be found across seemingly every surface; I wonder what else changed. Near the water heater I find a funnel attached to a tube. It’s attached to a small device making a high-pitched noise — I guess it must be for controlling roaches. (I’ve never lived in a place that had roaches, that I know of.)
Outside, the air is clear and oppressive. Although I grew up around here, I sense that I’ll need a period of adjustment where I can get used to these environs again. Everything has changed and grown different than what it was, but I still remember how it used to be. Myself, too — my adult senses perceive the world differently than I once did. I know I have to get to work soon. At high noon, I feel like an alien on a strange planet.
An isolated snippet, perhaps from a separate dream: soft plush shelving at the base of a stairway in a little room at the bottom of the stairwell. In it are kept pet rodents, or perhaps more likely material for their keeping. All stacked within. Very reminiscent of a weird meme I saw recently, of plush shelving.
Departing much later, I locate a three-piece visor — curved plastic semi-circles joined together at the temples. It takes some adjusting but I figure out how to wear it below my chin and above the crown of my head, with a light-up box close over my eyes. This obscures them like some cyborg ninja from a video game, one I can’t place correctly.
A mysterious final sentence, left over from notes and not reviewed in time to make sense of it: “Discovering receipt inside book which proves it was the same guy.”
Big empty house that I can move into with a group. The house is recently vacant — so recent there’s still laundry on a bathroom island, a teacup with Earl Gray mixed with gin & tonic made on a big pullout bed. The bed has a big frame headboard like my Nana’s bedroom.
It’s the final class on the last day of school. My history teacher Mr. Conklin is in the classroom of my English teacher Mrs. Snowden at my middle school. The room is rotated so it’s facing what would be the back wall. Students are excited and animated, gradually catching on that we have to stop participating in whatever activity there is before we get to go home. A kid at the end of the front row throws around a pistol carelessly, causing it to land on the ground.
Hanging around former crush in a space that’s hers. Been long enough since she was a jerk to me that I realize she should I’ve already trusted me by now. I consider asking to take one of the floppy disks she has sitting in a pile, the ones she was saving for an art project. Despite that, it occurs to me that if it’s a floppy disk it most likely contains ancient financial documents from her parents or something equally benal yet private.
CIA has built a pair of identical houses, one in Chile, one a block away in my neighborhood. There’s a link between them, like a portal. I had accidentally visited mine before it’s renovation, when it used to have a green tile lobby. Now the stairway has been cut off in the renovations and it’s not clear how one would even get upstairs. There’s not even any windows on one side.
I indulge in a thought experiment with my friend Anthony, who has a government job himself. What secretive jobs do they pull in there? Drone operations? Covert assassinations? Paperwork?
Landlord has started painting our apartment building. I discover this sporadically, noticing the sudden changes, and never see his workers. Ugly strange patterns in garish colors, dappled sponges (like in the ’90s). I have to find him and complain, having this lack of control and this poor taste is unlivable. Usually he doesn’t do much work — and usually we don’t even complain about serious stuff. But before I can get him, I peek out into the entrance hallway and it’s transformed by a second coat into a surprisingly acceptable if bland two-tone blue.
A couple teenagers steal a bag of UK Pound coins. They dash haphazardly out into the street and spill it on the pathway of a public park, inviting everyone to grab one.
An advertisement navigates down a scenic but underdeveloped street in San Francisco, a slight slope with scrubby greenbelt on either side. Though the ad substitutes a silly marketing phrase, I eventually imagine looking to a street sign and recognize it as Jones from my time as delivery man. I picture what a single land plot would be, snug perhaps, but the kind of multi-level house that would be built in SF would accommodate several people. And it’s a few long, long rows.
Inspecting my art aquaintence Colin Fahrion’s collection of old banknotes. Ones from Bolivia, Brazil, others. In their pleasant little folios they have a fine canvas texture, yet seem to feel like tragedy, as if they bare the weight of political events long ago that they could’ve changed. Beautiful, cursed money.
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.
Invited to the opening of a large collaborative art project, something like Meow Wolf. The tall Victorian facade of a house is embedded in the wall of an enclosed chamber (reminds me of Petra, Jordan). We’re let in all at once. Wanting to dissipate from the crowd I quickly find a door marked 42 which leads to what feels like a back area for staff. Inside there’s a room with stalls and toilets, some working some not. They obviously didn’t think anyone would want to explore here. Nevertheless one of the rules of the event is that you take what you want — it’s supposedly essential to collectively solving the “mystery” of the experience of the place.
Later, down a narrow greenway from the toilets room, I recreate on a pleasant lawn with friends Miah & Jessica (who don’t live nearby anymore, irl). In the background we listen to Trevor Noah’s Daily Show. I fixate on building a tower in a tree, a spiral of overlapping flat metal square plates arranged around the central post. I’m almost done bending the plates into place over the rim when I wake up.
Dusk. Crossing a curvy dirt driveway around a one-story ranch home near the end of a rural road. I’m staying in this compound on vacation together with a group of strangers. Thoughts about WordPress, the blogging platform, as the sun sets on the far horizon. I bite off half the tip of a thick plant leaf — a succulent of some kind. This is like biting off a piece of skin on my finger cuticle, and I’m not looking forward to how it will feel as it is healing.
Going scuba diving around the same or similar small ranch house in shallow tropical seas. I got the cheap package though, so I don’t have pressurized oxygen, just a small tank (about the size of a soda bottle — we recently acquired a SodaStream). I get below the waves in this twilight water and take one breath, realizing this is about how much I will get, recalling the image of the man who filled it only blowing a single breath. Wondering what I could do differently to make this trip better.
Man asking for popcorn at every store. People asking him how he expects to find popcorn at so many places that he admits he’s never seen popcorn. He answers that he’s just a man looking for popcorn. He then peels off from his face something that looks like a beauty mask — a sticky round circle covering from his mid-nose to slightly blow his chin. Underneath is revealed a distinct lighter circle of skin, perhaps reminiscent of a scuba mask.
I’m in a house with my brother Patrick. The house is built with half walls, quarter walls. It’s modernist but neglected, and we are guests without a host. Reminds me of darkened apartments from other dreams, places I’ve lived where I’ve discovered unused rooms. Patrick takes up the task of picking a new animal to represent the Inca Empire, to replace the llama.
I’m later flying around the neighborhood, skipping along a narrow brick wall at the edge of a religious building’s property. Idly I fantasize of visiting each and all of the different denominations nearby. Reminds me of my childhood street in Eureka, California between ages 4 and 8.
I fly back to a campsite where we recently stayed, just off the road. I have to retrieve three items my group left behind because they “couldn’t pack it all” without my help. I have a view through pillars at the edge of the camp, and spot my mentor and his young daughter approaching. Unseen, I wait behind a waterfall window between pillars. The daughter begins a classical poetic recitation to an audience. I’m able to crouch/slide onto the floor in front of her mid-performance, giving her a reassuring nod and encouragement that steers her performance toward success. I can’t tell if her dad was withholding this kind of approval until the end, but I’m able to swoop in and give guidance she was lacking.