Dream Journal

Cafes and Street Crossings, A Queen, Sexy Teens

In a recent tabloid news cycle, the question arises of whether teen stars Alia Shawkat and Michael Cera slept together while filming on location for Arrested Development. I happen to know they did — because one of my earlist jobs was as their adult minder on set. Obviously this makes me reticent to confirm it to anyone, but I’m excited to know something relevant.

In fact, I’m inspired to try to find the beautiful valley where we filmed, just inland from the Bay Area in California. It had a unique self-contained ecology. I have intense memories of clambering through dense acacia-like trees not far from the dusty road. Their branches and trunks were covered in short leaves. Everything had an impossibly sunny cast, like the ideal of a summer day.

There’s a cafe in Portland I frequent, a place with tall glass windows and wood banisters seperating the booths. After getting the attention of one of the baristas (who know me) I suggest that I might set up a little mini-golf installation. This would be mutually beneficial, as the cafe needs regular changes of its decor to keep things fresh, and I would get a bit of income from renting equipment. I think they’re going to agree to the deal — I don’t tell them I don’t have any of the materials yet.

Leaving the cafe I cross the street outside, noticing halfway across there’s a throng of people and unusual hubbub ahead. Unknown to me, Queen Elizabeth is making a visit in town and just passed this way. I cross a sidewalk (and a little hedgerow maze entrance) that was quite recently occupied by royalty.

Another sidewalk cafe, this one a touristy cafe in downtown San Francisco. Normally it has computers for travelers to use but it’s been under renovation. One day I start pretending I work there — I just keep showing up and no one questions it. I’m fond of the place, but I also want to keep an eye out and surreptitiously learn anything I can.

After working (for free) one day, I get tired and decide to take off for the evening. I ask my new work friend if they fancy a bit of the Irish Castle, a 102 year old entertainment venue across the street. They’re game, but instead of crossing directly they lead me the longer way around the block. We arrive through the entrance of a quaint 80s mall (still much postdating the Irish Castle, though) and I notice our flat fancy shoes are slidey on the tile floor. We can use them almost like roller skates. My friend and I race and they’re in first the whole time. I couldn’t tell if I’m letting them win or they’re simply very talented at this.

Dream Journal

Animation of the Corner of a Painting

I remember where our truck is parked here in San Francisco and it’s gotten a ticket by now. No need to have kept it there, but instructions led me to believe that it was necessary for that time.

I watch the corner of a painting like the Garden of Earthly Delights, a recently assembled animation which shows animals morphing. The action skips around a bit with sections that have been lost over hundreds of years.

I vacuum a fence to where there are no more dead leaves in the backyard, but it starts to feel so clean it’s not our backyard anymore. This unusually parallels actual cleaning I’ve recently done in our own backyard.

Queen Elizabeth, a law passed to make her decrees about family easier to enforce. Learning about this in the gutters of a miniature golf course.

Dream Journal

Queen Elizabeth’s Garage, Rally to Speech Grounds

A fridge outside on the street, needing to be moved inside. But I must ask permission from the garage owner: Queen Elizabeth II. One spot inside is next to a small fridge and sink, one spot across is behind a couch. This garage is having a hot dog feast with family — I have to search for the last dogs, bringing a plate to my family’s table (mom, dad, grandparents) who are eating only a few plain dogs. I don’t have a plate; the queen then suggests I not sit and instead go back for my plate, not understanding these are the last few dogs and I might not get any. Yet in the end I do manage to get two, their cheese all melted and congealed.

While many of us are waiting for a rally, with me squatting leaned against a pillar in the garage, my former lover Dara shows up. I spot just her black-heeled foot at first. But she’s made up to the nines and looks fly as hell, a femme fatale, long bare legs and a short black skirt. I’m overjoyed, throwing my hand on her foot and running it up the whole length. I make a joke for the sake of anyone who might be watching, how “I suppose I should’ve introduced myself first ma’am”. Dara’s a candidate in some sort of competition, which we’re all about to begin.

Me and my friends start on a group walk along a planned route. I’m in the lead at first, chatting side by side with a dude friend. A small girl I haven’t known for years, Quetzal, swaps into the lead. I yell encouragement behind her back saying “Quetzal will know where to go” but she doesn’t turn around to acknowledge it. I find myself wishing I’d double-checked her face as she passed to make sure it was really her.

The path takes us over a wooden walkway, one that a grumpy adjacent homeowner claims he owns. The extended line of us has to find different ways of going around. I swing underneath the wooden support beams of the cliffside house, sneaking around acrobatically like a ninja or rogue. I take a shortcut through the lower level of the house, what looks like a messy neglected in-law unit. I succeed making it to the double door exit, but my curiosity gets the better of me and I turn back to investigate the darkened octagonal space. As my eyes adjust I suddenly recognize there’s a dark man sitting upright and perfectly still nearly in front of me — I nope the hell outta there right quick.

Finally arrive at a gathering ground with an upward slope of steps where politicians sometimes give speeches. It appears Joe Biden is claiming he is the victor of the competition/walk. I learned from talking to people that in fact Dara has fulfilled her promise and arrived here first, giving a speech earlier before I arrived, making her the actual winner.

Dream Journal

Destination: Cozy Nostalgic Coffee Shop

A “destination” coffee shop with various odds and ends, tasteful lighting and wood panels, a relaxed atmosphere, comforting smells. It’s run by Eileen (but with nobody else I know). I say hi to her, tell her I finally saw her in that documentary “Caffeinated”, but it was silly how they only used one clip — she’s already turned away though, either doesn’t hear me or pretends not to. Haven’t seen her in a long time, so it might be fair.

I’m here because I spent most of my day postponing putting on my motorcycle riding gear to get to my Russian school, not admitting to myself that I just don’t want to go. Eileen’s shop has rows of merchandise, uncrowded during the pandemic. I find a few items that make me nostalgic for earlier times in San Francisco. One, a cardboard tube with a signature affirming it’s been packed by my old friend Kelly Gallamore. (Perhaps the store is instead run by Noona Nolan?)

Someone I talk with there shares a personal difficulty. In what is a typical response for me, I share a tangential factoid I happen to know… some incident that happened to Queen Elizabeth II (then, viewing a flashback with Prince Philip as a colorful robot, playful geometric designs on all his clothes, colored plates covering his face). Later, I discover my old moto jacket and pants stuffed in a garbage can and fish them out.

The shop has a long row of machines (perhaps for copying or the like). Mine gets a very long piece of paper stuck in it, just as an employee unknowingly points me out to someone as a veteran user/customer who might help them. Down further the row become a trough of water, with a long flat rail down the middle. Several objects I need are floating in it.

Home now. Looking down from our apartment’s back room. To do that, we peer around a large rusty statue of a chicken that our landlord’s had mounted on the corner of the building forever. I think “huh, so odd but I’ve never had that thing remind me of Chicken John.” There are a few massive beasts getting aggressive with each other in the backyard. One looks like a bodybuilding panda with eyeliner, the other a stairway-bumping basilisk. They’ve wandered in, though could choose to fight anywhere. Up closer, I try to consider what to, but there’s not much else except watch.

Spiderwebs encrusting the middle of trees, trees all in a row, as I travel past at high speed. The only way to see them is to line their row and look through several at once. I crack that code, but can’t guess if anyone else has seen this strange metaphor. A metaphor for what though, I can’t say.

I remember: looking up at a dusk-time sky, thinking as if I’m outside my own life, that I was born here and now because I picked this lifetime so I could see humanity’s transition. In this case, the transition to digital.