A straight street in the grid of an unfamiliar tourist town. I park underneath the eucalyptus, with a view to the sandy ocean beach further. Maybe somewhere in central California. There’s some stalling — young lovers saying goodbye in their own car parked in the right lane. When I step out I discover the charming miniatures set up on the asphalt road, placed by local art grant no doubt. I warn the young lovers of them. I go back shortly thereafter and find that the tiny tourist town has already towed both of my rental cars. My immediate thought — perhaps maturely, or even fatalistically — is that I need to make it to the impound lot as fast as I can to save money on added fees.
I have a saved memory with my late Mom that I didn’t know I had, that I’ve never seen. It’s comparable to a voicemail one has never reviewed. It’s a zipline experience (something I’ve never done), over an old gold mining area with hand-hewn wooden posts, and pines; looks something like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It’s long, with the cable suspended across several pillars, big circular pulleys, looping back in places. There are tasks to complete sometimes. It plays through and at the end my mom disappears — the file auto-deletes and that was the only time I’ll get to see it.
I have a moderately intense good cathartic cry then wake up. It’s still early. Usually I have a dilemma at this point, since this seemed like a unique and important dream, yet writing it down will probably wake me up for the day. But when asking myself if I would forget it completely should I fall back to sleep, the answer was… no, no I won’t. And so I didn’t.
I’m one of a privileged few able to attend a new archeological attraction in Afghanistan. The ground is dusty and broken out of shape. There’s a special feeling crisping the air, a feeling like this could be the same as it was thousands of years ago when the artifacts were buried.
While in Arizona for unrelated reasons, I rediscover a railroad museum I visited as a kid. I use the opportunity to pull around the narrow side road and into their back parking lot, which has quite a view. It’s on a gentle clear slope overlooking a valley. The lot itself is a rounded square which I have repeated difficulty pulling into with my big class field trip van. The museum is having an outdoor thrift sale day. Alone among the liminal grassy area of the museum’s backside I peruse stacks of colorful boxes on shelves. Occasionally I find one worthy of carrying around like a talisman, maybe to buy. There’s one odd steam engine which I locate in two pieces separately, clicking into place the oversized cabin. I’m rewarded for this with much interest from museum staff and other shoppers. Yet I find myself most comfortable around the shallow pond, with the distant view. I’m there when it begins to snow.
Excited to soon be flying back to Australia after so many years, for a school trip. Compared to last time there’s much more structure but many more people to do things with. A long gap follows this part of the dream, yet though forgotten seems connected to later parts.
My assigned male activity partner sits on the corner wall of a lot where the school group has gathered. He’s hefty, and the loose dirt crumbles. He falls into rushing water — the one thing that was stressed about him was that he’s (really, actually) allergic to water. Immediately this feels like some sort of test. I swim frantically after him though I don’t hold much hope. Yet I’m able to catch up, then heave his immobile body onto the inside curve of a sandbar to hopefully dry and recover. I pull myself onto the shore further down the bend. By then he’s recovered — more like been revealed — to be a powerful muscular young Zeus-like figure.
We expropriate a neglected academic area, a bit like single story underground dorms. Surveying the cramped little warren of rooms I spot an Austrian flag hanging on a darkened wall. Satisfied, we begin planning a takeover. Our small group of like-minded rebels improvises a space, repurposing walls and making a few rows of chairs. We view and discuss ideas presented from a stage.
One such dramatization of an idea is like a subdream featuring stop-motion bundles of sticks: a Subaru hatchback driven by a pair of 50-somethings backs into a barn near a lakeshore; the barn catches fire and explodes inexplicably. In the chair next to me sits an old man I don’t know very well. I’m sitting at the end of a row, having thought I’d be further from people. I’m now uncomfortably aware that I’m naked from the waist down, and adjust my posture and shirt in a futile effort to compensate.
Events take a twist when a college girl wearing a Lakers cheerleader uniform returns from a bender. It’s her space in which we’ve been squatting, and she has many pointed questions. We’d prepared for this eventuality; quickly I snap into the role of distracting and misdirecting her. (Especially from a disturbed patch of wood at the foot of my seat — a relic from before our takeover, uninvestigated and best forgotten). I talk and play friendly with her, giving a tour which surreptitiously avoids the group’s more sensitive aspects. It’s tricky, but I lean toward providing truthful explanations wherever possible — without any group plan it seems likely we could easily be caught in a lie. This would be a greater risk than tiring out her questions and slowly earning her trust, though I worry if my compatriots might think I’ve betrayed them. Thankfully during my ramblings on our tour I spot one of my conspirators and, while her back is turned, signal with my hand to give the companion opportunity to take action. It’s acknowledged with a subtle head shake, showing me that while they’re not ready to move forward they also recognize the part I’m playing.
Soon she asks to go into an especially sensitive five-story building, to the top floor. There’s a library located in the center of that floor which would be disastrous if our interests in it were revealed. There are also two balcony rooms flanking it where students often congregate, known as “Celebration Point”. As the library comes into view I deploy a powerful strategem: I act bashful and say “The thing is… and I’m not sure you knew this… Celebration Point is where a lot of students traditionally go for a first date.” I managed to say this twice in different ways, proud of my brilliant acting, while realizing if any companion were witness to it I’d appear highly suspect. The stakes are increasing but I’ve pulled it off so far.
My third grade crush sits right on my face! See her hips move slowly down without seeing her face. Hairless. She’s rewarding me for something, my expertise and skilled performance. We’re glad to see each other again after so many years. I don’t think she has kids in this lifetime.
Two Danish tourists are swingers. Not important to the story, but they were there. I have an appointment to keep and need to climb the lines of a long diagonal tramway upwards to meet our Atlas Obscura tour boat. I get there with just a bit of time to spare, overlooking a small dainty Greek island I’ve been to before. So small, almost a carved model.
The volcano explodes, but I know what to do. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been close enough to feel the shockwave.