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Dream Journal

Hotels in Strange Places (Initiative to Work)

The whole dream is somehow about work. Feels like dealing with being overworked the last week, and how I view my own attitude.

I send a rich acquaintance, C. Wood, a few pics while messing with my phone. The first is accidental, the second sent to make up for that with something humorously related. Later I realize she’s sent a response which reads only “?” — a clear warning sign. I realize that for her there’s no context. So both photos don’t make sense, and now they definitely seem intentional.

My family is staying at a sprawling roadside attraction complex somewhere flat and empty (I’d bet Nebraska). It’s the only thing around. Looking from above, as if from our hotel room, I see the layout of the waterpark. In retrospect it must be like a lot of dream-places near the waterside, or the highway. I go out on my own and perform a bunch of tasks of my own volition, none of which anyone has told me they wanted done. Maybe in the dream I’m only a teenager, yet I know I’ve been to this place before and I know how I want it to be.

In my house is a spikemoss plant which lives in a glass jar; it’s thrived and is nearly filling the container (to be clear, this is a real plant which is very much doing this right now). We call it a jarrarium. The plant is a Selaginella kraussiana which I got for my birthday, the first fern/moss I’ve been able to keep alive. I realize it’s so overgrown I really should split it into another glass container, a tall one which I’ve kept in reserve. In order to get it to stand up I have to arrange a styrofoam column down the center.

On a lightly forested hill is a different hotel. The area reminds me of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. I’ve only seen a small bit and the pine smells lovely, but I’m already part of the crew working the back area of the kitchen. It’s a long narrow space which slopes steeply, ending in garage door and loading dock. I’m the only one with the initiative to walk all the way down and outside; I end up where I first arrived at the hotel. The slope on the way back up is much worse, almost impractical. I get the sense that most workers do this trip at infrequently as possible. But I again take the initiative and start fixing the concrete floor so it’s not so awful to climb up on. I look up and see the head chef watching me. I wait to see if he gives any sign of approval, or if I’ve taken too much initiative. Interesting to note that so far, no one has called me on it.

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Dream Journal

Mad at the Sunset at Mustard Truck Ranch

Throughout these dreams there’s an indescribable water park vibe. No theories why, just imagine there’s a waterpark involved. And: a certain man’s wife features in every scene.


Staying as a guest at a ranch. On an outdoor table with benches I notice that the pepper I planted has grown wildly, sucking all the goodness out of its soil. At its base it’s produced a big wrinkly pepper fruit. An unruly stem of 50 cloned plantlets hangs so long it droops over the table’s edge.

Holed up at the semi-remote ranch I defer going to school all day. Counting the hours, missing one class after another, bargaining with myself the whole time. Step outside and look between the gateposts — just in time to catch the sunset framed between them, just touching the horizon. I yell at the sun in frustration, “I wanted to have a day! Fuck you!” It’s like a picture I saw of a sunset in an old vinyl album — evocative in its plainness somehow.

From behind me, I hear the main front door to the ranch open. I don’t wish to interact with anyone at the moment; there’s a baseball hat dude and his wife that I’m not fond of either. They’ve not done anything actually rude yet but I don’t want to give them the chance to.

Along one of the side streets bordering the big compound a group and I encounter a charming little food truck. It’s an old woody station wagon, green and yellow, called The Mustard Truck. They serve warm pretzels and beer and English bar snacks. Surprised, I observe that it wouldn’t actually be that bad living here if there’s things like this to be found.

From the winding sidewalk of small park near a courthouse, I step into the street. I pass a woman I recognize, the wife of Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. This would be Rosie Cotton as per the books — then again but I might instead be thinking of the actor who played Sam Gamgee. A little down the road I watch a car struggling to pass a lady dragging a cart as they’re all in a tunnel. She shouts “passenger!” as it overtakes her. A roundabout way of claiming her rights to use the road (just as a car) but avoiding shouting “car” because that’d only reinforce a second-class ideology. Car, apparently, being the traditional shout.

I’m sitting across the table with some female YouTuber, someone whose stuff I watch (can’t recall who though). We discover we both know this cart lady. I relate this story of her shouting in the tunnel and we share a good laugh. I list a bunch of other YouTubers who might know her (this is why I can’t pin down who I’m talking to: I mention everyone I might be talking to).

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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

Dawn Redwood Seed Packet

Paper pulp with a rough image screened on it, charmingly hand-painted, of the dawn redwood plant Metasequoia glyptostroboides. I accidentally discovered a cache of them in a grow kit labelled “Grow a Living Fossil! Jurassic Tree” — something I got as a gift years ago and forgot about until I read an article abut China’s reforestation efforts on Atlas Obscura. This packet is actually part of a series of seed pulp packets, each one labeled as the one before in a round-robin so to encourage you to collect them all.

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Dream Journal

Little Left-Behind Things at My Old Neighbor’s House

My late friend and neighbor Pete Goldie’s house. Old parking meters have been charmingly repurposed into shelf supports outside. I spot a few stolen telescopes too. An old plant rests on high shelf under the front window, with a hard-to-pronounce scientific name (arbracht-racht perhaps?) It’s big broad succulent leaves look like green Zerg creep, its brown hard woody patches overgrown the pot sides. It’s been there so long, been left to it’s own devices, I’m almost sure it must be forgotten.