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Dream Journal

My Childhood Home is Ours Again, but Changed

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.”

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Dream Journal

Vacated House, Last School Day, Old Floppy Disks

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.

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Dream Journal

Double Houses of the CIA

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?

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Dream Journal

They’re Painting My Home, Badly

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.

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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.

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Dream Journal

Collaborative Art Experience, Door 42

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.

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Dream Journal

Ranch House Scuba Diving Popcorn

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.

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Dream Journal

Encouraging A Young Girl’s Campground Waterfall Recitation

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.

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Dream Journal

A Day at our New Home in the Country

A country house just off a main road somewhere small, rural California, where we’ve moved. My wife and I still have a landlord but are overall happy finally settled into the new place.

It’s bright midday and I seal up our younger rats, Pierre & Roscoe, making sure to stretch the three wire cage doors so the locks are tight.

Outside it’s so much quieter than the city. I ponder the neighborhood as I gaze down the dusty street where ours is the corner house. I haven’t fully explored the area yet. Feels like a hot day, summer. I observe a distinction with the city I never thought of before: here, people are spread out enough that you kind of miss them, back in the city it was so packed that you often like people less because there’s already too many of them.

All our old stuff made it there but most things still need arranging. A few items are out on the grassy brown lawn, or under a covered porch with built-in brick planting beds. Our building is old, and has a name on a vertical sign with green letters — something that sounds like a Chinese restaurant. There’s a smaller sign underneath for wayward out-of-towners, clarifying that it’s just an old name, this is a house, and they can find an actual restaurant a couple lanes down.

Back inside, I see Roscoe is out of his cage. I’m sure I locked it securely, and sure enough I see he’s managed to bend several wire metal bars at the side of the cage! I tell my wife and we’re not sure what to do. There’s a square patch of grass on the lawn where the cage would fit, and be blocked off securely, but the ratties might easily get overheated in the sun.

Someone reveals something about my parents I didn’t know (this part is confusing in retrospect as it’s a persona shift, perspective remains continuous, but the backstory isn’t from my l life). When I was first adopted, my parents kept me in this very house. They were inept, and couldn’t keep things up, to the point where they couldn’t keep me either. They only got me back much later, though I was too young to remember any of this.

Inside a few of us (guests and I) are playing around, searching through storage areas in the house. We’re also in part of a lobby for some unnamed organization, a nexus accessible from many locations. There’s a dried mud sculpture, arched and abstract, looking like the letter Π hunkering in the near distance. Old refrigerators containing long-term food stocks hold many curious root vegetables. Some are still viable, and I take one from the drawer with a 3-foot long taproot and swallow it down to the base as a trick.

Danny Glover is there among us, and soon after I’m beside him at a stone sink (I can think of no connection I have with Danny Glover, his presence is puzzling upon consideration). When I pull the long root out of my throat, the thin length ending in a tangled clump, I realize that it could still be planted in the dirt outside. Whether it’s the worse for wear being in contact with my stomach acid for an extended time, I simply won’t know until I bury it in a garden bed.

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Dream Journal

Empty Family Home on an Island, In Australia

I’m exploring a house for sale with my Homepie friend Mickey. The attic is large and has multiple nestled little sleeping areas, a place the current residents call Monticello for reasons not known to us.

I’m having some of my old stuff shipped back from Australia, left behind from when I was there. This must happen before the river islet the Monticello house is on floods. We travel the small circular waterway via canoe. To haul the boat out of the water they’ve rigged up a garage door opener near the riverbank — clever little contraption, useful for rural living.

I pick out my stuff from the many cupboards and cabinets of the newly abandoned home. Most of this stuff I’ve forgotten (it’s been more than a decade). I can’t help but steal one thing: an iridescent plastic bowl from the 1970s, easily missed by the family and easily excused as an accident. It’s unique and oddly beautiful, and obviously unappreciated judging by where I found it.

Having everything gathered it appears that shipping is going to cost $60. I hadn’t thought about that cost and second-guess whether I want any of this stuff at all anymore.