The Gouda Cheese Incident

My parents are visiting the Big Apple and staying in a posh Midtown hotel with reams of cheese splayed upon its walls. It's the creme de bleu of four star hotels where the bellhop prides himself on cheesy knowledge.

And literally, the place is crawling with cheese. It's all over the walls, sofa cushions. Hell, there's a centerpiece fountain spouting jet streams of pure cheese.

But don't touch. By God, don't touch. The hotel patrons can order cheese from the in-hotel restaurant menu, but it's frowned upon to pick at a slab of Gouda sitting on the lobby coffeetable.

Of course, that's what I feel inclined to do. And the hotel waiter says, 'can I help you order cheese off the menu?'

But I'm content picking at the slab of Gouda sitting on the table. I'm not paying for any goddamn cheese.

'I'm not paying for your goddamn cheese,' I tell him. 'My parents are paying to stay in this four star hotel, and I'll eat any slab of Gouda as I damn well please.'


In lieu of self-doubt

I can't recall the details of last night's dream, but I'm sure it starred a talking chicken salad sandwich.



I'm selling memberships at work to only lesbians. I have sold about fifteen memberships and am entering how much they paid down on the SDR. Michi calls from the front desk and asks, "What are you doing?" I reply, "I like to see how much I can get from them."


David Duchovny, why won't you love me?

I'm in a communal environment, like a dorm or something. I'm aware that some sort of disease is passing around and people are bleaching the hell out of everything. Light switches, doorknobs, everything. Suddenly I feel a swelling in my throat and realize that I've been infected. I reach in my mouth and cough up a thick, leaf-shaped pod the color and consistency of a plump aloe vera leaf. It falls to the floor and everybody begins to panic -- I'm contaminating the place. I keep choking up pod after pod and spitting them on the floor and in the sink. As I'm plucking one out of my mouth, it breaks in half and my mouth fills with green guts.

As these things, which are clearly alive, are falling out of me, I'm trying to join the bleaching fun and sanitize everything. I end up alone in a basement where two folding doors conceal a laundry room.

This dream bleeds into another in which girls from high school are taunting me. They're being so mean, I wake up with tears streaming from my eyes.

Once back to sleep, I was late to a friend's wedding. I was in the wedding party and decided to go exploring the beach while everyone else was rushing around. I get back to the house (my old house, where all the wedding preparation is going on) and my friend begs me not to be late. I shower and make it to the church with wet hair, hairy legs, and white tennis socks under my high-heeled sandals. I sneak the socks off once I've sat down in the wrong seat. The bride is furious. So furious she leaves the altar and makes me watch everyone's children in the back while the wedding party sits in the front row.

Strip mall school

I am at work. It's close to the end of the night, around the time when people start leaving and, if needed, passing their still-out pages on to people who will be around to typeset them later. My co-worker MR is getting ready to leave. He comes over and asks if we (Ashley and I) want to go see the new stores. I'm really not sure what he's talking about, so I decide to check it out, only after confirming that he needs me to send A2. So Ashley and I get up and walk with him down the hall a bit, past this large, bubble-shaped glass window overlooking AutoZone Park, where a day game just happens to be going on (so much for it being the end of a publishing day, which, for us, comes at about 11:30 p.m.). (This makes no sense for lots of reasons, including the fact that my office is certainly not close enough to AutoZone Park be connected to it by a hallway.)

The corridor we're in is long, so the trek takes some time. It's mostly empty, but as we continue walking, we begin to notice more and more unfamiliar people milling about. We pass a couple of empty store fronts (they sort of look like stores in airports; small, shallow) and see, at the end of the hall, where all the people are coming from: McDonald's. There is, apparently, a new one that has just been built on our floor. There are huge glass doors leading to it, and on the other side, huge glass doors leading to the outside. MR says it's time for him to go, so he slips out. Ashley sort of disappears from my view too. All I can see and concentrate on are the tons of flabby-ass touristy types hanging out in McDonald's, my new work cafeteria. There are fanny packs and lovehandles everywhere. I have to get out.

So I start backtracking, heading back toward the office. I stop at the bubble overlooking the baseball field for a minute and watch the game. They're playing to a packed house, and the view from our little bubble is fantastic. I realize I'd better be getting back to work to typeset the last of my and MR's pages, but when I get back to the newsroom, things have been rearranged and no longer are there people I work with there; I'm now seeing student-types, holding books and sitting in those cheap wooden desks. There are people there I recognize, including Crystal Wade and Amy Forrest. Two teachers — ashy blondes in middle-age, neither of which I recognize — are telling us to find seats and get situated. I sit in front of Crystal and behind Amy, and I'm asking them what's going on. They're not sure. Crystal says, "I went to UT and even I don't know what's going on!"

One of the teachers begins writing things on the board. It's barely legible, which is pissing me off for two reasons: One, teachers should always use clear handwriting; Two, it appears she's writing quiz questions on the board.

The first question I figure out. The answer is l33t. (Dammit, I can't remember the exact question, but it was more like a series of clues than a straightforward question.) I mouth the answer to Amy when she turns around, stumped. The second question I can't read. Nor the third. Nor the fourth. She's writing answers on the board from which we can choose. I can't read those either, and I'm sitting four feet from the board. I vocalize my trouble. The teacher shushes me. I fall out of my desk and sit on the floor, pawing through my books and paper. The teachers tell me to sit down and behave. It's odd to be causing a ruckus in class, but who are these people and why are they having class where I was, just minutes before, working? How did they get in? And why a McDonald's open to tourists?

Good questions, all. But I got no answers, because that's when I woke up.


Sister Act

I'm trying to become a member of the Covenant, but it's hindered by the fact that I keep having butt sex with men.

My parents travel the rocky mountain ranges of the Covenant in hopes of talking some Christian sense into me.

"Don't you realize that we've paid for you to become a nun?" Mom admonishes me. 'All that college education down the crapper.'

My Dad's none too pleased, either: 'Why do you have to constantly go around f-cking people up the ass?'

I'm also constantly getting stoned at the Covenant, which pisses off the fellow nuns because I raid their food cabinets every time I feel the munchies.

"I thought you were supposed to be cooking pizza for the Covenant," a portly nun says.

"I did cook pizza," I respond, "I just ate all of it.'



I'm driving an old-school VW bug, white with rust spots. It's winter and I'm comfortable wearing a scarf, hat, and mittens. I'm listening to the radio and my belly is flipping every time I hit the crescendo of a hill.

Next I'm in a modern house. It's messy and two people from high school are hanging out on my couch, talking about how my mother disliked company when I was growing up.

"Everyone was scared to come to your house," one of them says.

As if on cue, my mother walks through the door and demands I clean the place up and get these strangers out of the house. I scream at her and defend my territory. It's my house and she can't come in here bossing everyone around.

She runs to the bathroom, sobbing, and I feel horrible. My visitors have left, but one of them forgot to pick up her baby from the guest crib on the top floor.



Last night's dreams were filled with fear and disturbing imagery.

1. I am among a large group of people, none of whom I really recognize. We are milling around, circling tables. It's almost as if we're eating from a giant buffet, but I don't recall seeing any food. We're just circling tables. There is a child there who I get a good look at and then have to look away. He is a freak. He's mostly normal-looking, with dark brown wispy hair and black spectacles (a little Harry Potter-ish). But his face, while structured normally, is all wrong. There are parts of skin missing around his mouth, so much that his muscle and bone underneath can be seen. I realize that this kid has a problem: He tears himself open. I can see a rough track of ripped skin and bone peeking up out of his collar, as if he's had open heart surgery and they cut him open vertically, up through the sternum, and it had just begun to heal.

But I know that he did it to himself, and I have a hard time understanding how he can do this and live — how his skin can suture itself back together after such violent splitting.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the kid reach for the wound and dig his fingers into it as if ripping off an uncomfortable Oxford shirt. He rips himself open, exposing bone and organs and collapsing there, and I have to look away. No one else seems surprised that he's chosen this moment to explore his sickness.

2. I am inside, cowering from the rain. It keeps getting heavier and heavier. Again, there are people around me I don't really recognize. We are all afraid of the rain. It is relentless.

[this is incredibly vague; I know that there was more to the dream but I've lost it]

Suddenly the windows are deluged with quick sheets of forceful water — sap sap sap! — so loud and frightening that we all cower in fear. I realize the water is coming from these little flying robots designed to terrorize people (sort of like the flying silver robots in Terminator).

[again, there's more here that involves an actual person I interacted with, but I can't remember the interaction ... just that we interacted]

I woke up to the sound of my back door closing and the sight of my neighbor — wearing a black cardigan, a white shirt, and jeans — closing it. Which, naturally, freaked me out. I had apparently forgotten to lock it before going to bed, and, over the course of the night, the door had randomly popped open. There's no telling when it did this. The scariest thing is that I left Felix out of his cage last night, so he could have easily ventured into the interior stairwell and then out the back door into the parking lot. Which would have made this week officially the worst week ever.

But he was inside my pajama pants, crumpled on the floor when I got up.

Small miracles.


Indelible images

There is one image from my dream(s) last night that stuck with me:

That of a woman with long, bouncy brown hair, wearing some floral-print summer short shorts set, holding books, walking in front of me, a piece of notebook paper with the words "One hot mama" (written in that cheerleader font where every angle of every letter has a dot on it) stuck to her ass.



I am somewhere in close proximity to a movie theater or a museum or mall or some other place where lots of young people are milling around, being entertained. It actually sort of looks and feels like we're in Saltillo, or a version of it, near the old school. I'm rummaging through my purse, when I pull out a class ring. It looks like a guy's ring — it's hefty and gold with black inking, and a pretty purple stone, cut into an oval shape with notched angles (is there a technical term in the gem-cutting world for this?) to catch the light.

Except, the gem that had once probably shone smooth and polished, was chipped, dented, and muted from having been knocking around in the bottom of my purse for who knows how long.

It dawned on me immediately, along with a sick sense of oh shit I'm in trouble, that this was (co-worker/friend) Ashley's ring. She had let me borrow it for some reason, and I had forgotten that it was in my purse, being assaulted by a roundbrush, a handful of tampons, crumbs, my wallet, receipts, lip gloss, nasal spray and everything else I haul around with me for fear I might be stranded and need to subsist on things from the Walgreens beauty aisle.

That plot point sort of evaporated then. I don't know where it went, and I don't know where the dream took me after that. But I'd like to find out how to rid my dreams of that constant anxious feeling that I've done something wrong, that I'll get in trouble, that the world is ending in small increments brought on by my irresponsibility.

Pot fueled dreams are the best

Trash filled the kitchen with a New England clam chowder stench.

But instead of retreating into my corner, I got down on my hands and knees and began rubbing the trash suggestively all over my hot body.

My roomie's empty milk carton? I rubbed that sonofabitch over my chest.
And if my roomies walked in, I would shoot them a come-hither stare.

"Whatcha doing, hon," I'd say as I rubbed the deflated box of frozen peas over my privates.

In real life, the catalyst for this dream was well, piled trash and pot.

Since myself and Kevin are the only ones who clean up the goddamn kitchen, I felt driven to ignore the stacked pizza boxes and encrusted dishes for oh, about a week. ("We'll see who breaks," I said to myself one night. "If these fucktards want to live in their own filth, by God, they will.")

But last night in RL (cough: real life), I walked into the stinking kitchen and said to myself, "I'm going to light up a doob."

So after watching god-awful Family Guy for an hour, the pot compelled me to clean the kitchen.

"You don't understand," I told my roomies in RL. "I'm bringing a sense of order into our apartment."

When passing down the hallways to the trash chute and peering up from behind a mound of rotting food, passersby would shoot me an informal greeting.

"Hey Joey, what's up?"

"Oh, nothing," I'd say. "I'm just bringing order to where there once was chaos."

They would shoot me a confused look as I continued to nutter on.

"You should try it sometime," I told them. "It's very liberating."


We all live in a yellow stupid dream

Lindsey and Phil have managed to gain access to a small helicopter. I'm in the back seat, laying with my cheek to the seat like a child, and Phil decides to fly over a rock mountain to get to the ocean. I'm thinking this isn't a good idea, but Lindsey seems up for it. So we fly, barely missing scraping the helicopter's rail thingies on some treacherous-looking crags. I'm terrified and hide my face until we land in the sand.

Next I'm in a glass submarine (what, did I OD on Discovery Channel or something?) with some random dudes. I get the impression that Sean Connery is there, but only because The Hunt For Red October is the only submarine movie I've ever seen. This dream was pretty cool. We sank to the bottom of the ocean and watched all kinds of fish and sharks pass over us. The colors were vivid and I wasn't scared at all.

I'm interested in the strangers who inhabit our dreams. Are they real people from some other dimension or just shadows of people we've passed on the street? How do our brains come up with these composite sketches and why aren't we freaked out that strangers are walking around in our alternate universes without guest passes or invitations?

I've had several dreams in which I hurt or murder someone, but the most memorable dream I've ever had was about a janitor in a basement. We were talking and suddenly I bit his pinky finger off. There was this weird moment of silence and shock between us. I put my fingers to my mouth and spit out the severed finger, gave it back to him, and ran away. I had this dream when I was about ten or eleven, but it was creepy and unforgettable. I can't forget the janitor's old, horrified face. It's as if it really happened.


And another water dream from May 2006

Last night I dreamt of water again. It was flooding the earth, and our town was in a panic. I discovered that our shower was overflowing , and someone had just set a shower inside the old shower, and beneath water was flowing out from under. I shuddered at the thought of soap scum and mildew as I reached my hand inside to open the drain. I ran into Denise at the alien apartment complex where I just knew, as one does in dreams, that Danny and I lived. I marveled at the fact that Denise and I had never run into one another before. I was with Aimee, only everyone I knew drove a black Eclipse like mine. We drove around in one another's Eclipses, braving the floodwaters. Civilization had ceased function, and people ran through the streets and looted. Buildings had crumbled, and humankind was left to climb and jump over and through their fallen beams and arches. Brick walls served as streets and hallways, and cubby holes between collapsed edifices served as dwelling spaces. Some apartments still stood. Ours was quite crowded, but it didn't matter because I had things to do. I was free to do as I pleased, because there was no work or responsibility, no bills to pay, nothing to do but roam the earth. I knew we would all die soon from lack of clean water, but I didn't care. It was as if I had been given the gift of knowing a safe existence, and then a pass to go out with a bang in the midst of a post-apocolyptic dystopia. We giggled and drove through the chaos.
We were delighted to find that Target was open, only it wasn't really Target, but more like an expensive, high-end version of Target. I wandered through and marveled at all the beautiful, bountiful produce and food. I kept thinking of what I would cook and what I could create from all that food, but then I remembered that I had no money. I wandered through the kitchen table section and decided that the one Danny and I had chosen was better than all of them. I found a bureau with all these little Chinese boxes built into the top drawer, and I decided that I must have it. Someone had stickered it $419, and sometime after that someone had attempted to rip that sticker off.

Another water dream from June 2006

This time a college campus was flooded. Water was slowly rising. There was a music teacher who also taught English, and I waited on a concrete stoop outside his classroom and watched the backwaters rise.
A student indicated her displeasure about the professor’s assignment of 045 words. I laughed with him outside the classroom and said, “That’s, like, a paragraph!”
He said that he needed to take lessons from me because everyone says I do things like a black girl.
We wandered through the campus, but kept coming upon the wrecked ambulance in the flood water and I kept seeing the same scene over and over again. I was inside, and an EMT tech was hooking up a long, inflatable hose filled with oxygen. Trapped under the ambulance underwater were a male and female. The girl’s face turned red as we finally got them in. “Give her some oxygen!” I commanded, and she gratefully sucked in the air before collapsing on the ambulance floor.
We broke into the cab and discovered that the driver had drowned.
Then we ran into Lynnsie Condrey, and somehow she was involved in this cabin incident.
I had been lodged on a concrete beam, and I was applying a sticky tape in designs on the beams, yet my application of this tape served some vitally important purpose.
We fled the floodwaters and I found my wallet in the bushes. I had $11 dollars. We looked for a place to hail a taxi. I searched backward through other dreams and remembered that Dan’s ex had caught a taxi outside her dorm, so we headed there. Suddenly, Crystal was with us and sounded apprehensive when she asked, “How far up is it?”
I assured her that it was just over the hill.
I was remembering another dream wherein Savannah had been contorted into a darkened, psychotic version of itself, and I had continually gotten myself into tight, dead-end roads with my car, and the place was abandoned. I remembered that growing panic that I was utterly alone and utterly lost.
Then I was back on the stoop outside the classroom. I knew I had to get someplace before any band directors seeped into the dream. I knew they would be looking for me there, and I could not let them find me. The last time they found me in a dream things got worse.
I was off again, careful not to let my feet touch the water.
And then my alarm was going off.

Take the A-Train

My peers must now ride the A-Train, because I found myself almost naked and wedged between a saucy black woman and a bum on the line back to Harlem. It was one of those dreams.
I had draped my nether-regions in a snazzy fleece jacket, looking very much like a sumo wrestler. I figured being almost naked, I sure as hell didn't want any onlookers eyeing my chitty-chitty-bang-bang. I cupped my man tits, though.
"Child, you best be looking at yourself," the saucy black woman told me.
Meanwhile, the bum gave me a towel.
"Use this to cover your junk," he advised.
For the rest of the train ride, I pretended that I had just returned from Rockaway Beach, towel tucked across my pubes (even though it was freezing balls outside).
No one will never know the difference, I thought to myself. They will think that I have a time share in the Hamptons.


Dream, Interrupted

I was dreaming about Lindsay Lohan snorting a line of coke from Britney Spears' snatch and my upcoming metier at Pus Weakly, when my roommate Frenchy McFrench's alarm clock blared like an Odyssean Siren. It's the most high pitched sound you'll ever hear.
I shot him a look like "turn that fucking thing off, you French sonofabitch." Mind you, he lets the blasted thing continue to screech.
So I'm trying to think about my dream and Lindsay Lohan snorting a line of coke from Britney Spears' snatch, when Frenchy McFrench decides to eat cereal in the kitchen. This also is the loudest gnawing you'll hear this side of the Catskills. I can hear him in our fucking room.
Frenchy McFrench's jaws of death flapping furiously over wheat pebbles, gulping down a carton of tainted Mexican milk he bought at the cheap-o store for $.99.
I picture him as my cat, Bitey, who likes to chomp each piece of his Kibbles & Bits into a nice puree. Like his animal carbon copy, this Bitey concentrates on each bite, deriving a sick pleasure from the act of mastication.


Mmm, pirates

Failed college again last night. Like a maniac I dug through my backpack looking for a history book so I could study for the final, which wouldn't matter if you count the first two exams I skipped. I remembered seeing it in my locker, but where the hell is my locker? What university supplies its students with lockers and how did my mother pay for it? I sure as hell didn't get a scholarship -- I'm failing, for crying out loud.

It occurs to me that these dreams have replaced another reoccuring dream about not finishing high school. I'd get a letter, hey, surprise, you needed another class, give us that diploma and get back in here.

On to my favorite sex dream. L-rock-a-thon, you're familiar with this one.

Johnny Depp (yes) and I are making out on the floor of some abandoned studio or something. The floors are wooden, the walls are white, and all the furniture must be in storage. But there are sheets everywhere and we're rolling around in them, Johnny and I. We do it. If only I could recall the details, but alas, I only recall the swollen sensation of my loins upon waking. After we're done, he rolls away and gets up to split.

"Hey," he says. "Don't forget to tell your friends I nailed you."

I won't, Johnny. I won't.


Lucid Smoking

Last night a portion of my dream was lucid. But then, and this has never happened before, it turned back into a regular dream. And forget sex-dream blogging. I plea for other murder dreams.

Seriously, if you've ever dreamt you killed someone on purpose, please blog it.

I stabbed a fat man in the stomach with a steak knife. It didn't really work well so I threw my weight into it and sunk it deeper in the fat (he was cooperating by lying down on his back). I decided I needed a better knife, so I got a silver-handled athame and stabbed him with that. After I was sure he was dead I decided that I needed to dispose of the body PDQ.

And where better to dispose of dead bodies than outer space? I pranced along the edge of the space ferry, not wondering why I could breathe without a space suit. I dropped the garbage bag full of fat man off the side and watched as it dropped through nothingness, and then buoyed back upwards to orbit around the ferry. "Look! It's orbiting us!" I declared, though I was on the space ferry alone. Then, as I turned to bounce back toward something, I realized that I was dreaming of being in space. I decided to see if I could bounce around weightless. I bounced off the walls and marveled at zero-gravity. Then, because I knew I was dreaming, I decided to see if I could smoke in space. And I could. And it had a euphoric effect on me.

Then I was in a shoddy apartment, not lucid but full of panic. I had forgotten to dispose of the murder weapons! I gathered up the knives and began a panicked search of the complex. I ran out the back door of the apartment and realized that an ancient balcony made of wood stood shakily behind my unit. It was the kind where two-inch spaces flanked every plank. I put my eye to a space and noticed that the area beneath it was a moldy abyss, perfect for disposing of murder weapons. However, instead of flinging the knives into murky oblivion, I carefully balanced them on underlying planks for later retrieval. I looked up and two children ran down from their apartment and plucked two knives that I had hidden earlier from their resting places and danced back up the hill squealing, "Look at the redneck toys!" I was glad that they would mar the finger prints, but was afraid the mom might notice the blood and gore caked on them.

Then the knives had fallen and I'd forgotten to wipe my prints off them! I was sick with regret. How could I forget something so fundamental?

I knew I was wanted, and journeyed long and far. When I returned my shoddy apartment had been labeled for "throw-away." I kicked the door in and noticed that all my furniture was gone, but my keys and sunglasses were still on the table. There was a bag on the floor (someone had been squatting there). A peek out the balcony door confirmed that officials were combing the area for clues. "Did I dispose of the body down there?" I asked myself, picturing a bloated corpse resting in the muck.

Then I was being questioned, and I was lying so very well. In fact, I ended up being released to a physics classroom, where I was explaining equations and theorums to my family. Dad looked at someone and said, "She understands it because she actually cares about it."

Then I approached a shopping center and three different kinds of officers were waiting for me and calling me by name. I fingered an envelope in my purse and reminded myself to pay the rent.

From the Dream Log I forgot I had

Oh, hell, why not throw these two up here for good measure? They come from a Word document I apparently created in April 2005 in order to track my dreams. That project was shortlived.

Date unknown
First lucid dream, had while sleeping at my parents' house

In real life, my dad and grandmother were fighting. In my dream, they were fighting, and I was diplomatically trying to explain to my dad why his iron-fisted demands would not work on Grandmaw. I was using a TV analogy (sadly) to explain to my dad why my grandmother would never see it his way. “It's like you're a fan of this TV show, and you're watching it, and suddenly the directors decide to take it somewhere you don't necessarily agree with. You can write letters to them and complain about what they're doing, but ultimately they have complete creative control.” Of course, the analogy really breaks down in the waking world (if I really tried to explain it like that to him, he might laugh me out of the house), but at the time it made a lot of sense. I remember that about the time I said "creative control," I realized I was dreaming, because I was like, "Whoa, I was just falling asleep a minute ago!" I didn't panic right away, but I felt almost embarrassed or like I was in danger and needed to return to the waking world. For a fleeting moment, I wanted to just go with it and see where the dream took me, but once I realized I was dreaming, I felt compelled to regain control, and the only way I knew how to do that was to wake up. So I forced myself. It felt like I was coming up from deep water, out of darkness. It always feels like that when I wake myself up. Normally, though, I'm not fully in a dream when it happens; I'm usually lingering right on the brink of dreaming. But when I woke up, I felt incredibly vulnerable, my heart was pounding, and I was a little afraid to go back to sleep.

April 25, slept 3 a.m.-10 a.m.
Home (Lynnfield Place apartments)

Before bed, read Lighthousekeeping and As Long As We’re Together.
Had a string of dreams: One involved me feeling like I was in our old Hooker’s Bend house (but actually a surreal reinterpretation of it). Another – the lucid part – involved me standing in the middle of a road, realizing at some point that I was dreaming, and pushing myself to do something fantastic: fly. So I put my arms out, as if to dive into the sky, and I took off without any trouble. It was amazing, and not as scary as my last lucid dream. But, while in flight, the lucid dream transitioned right into another dream, but I was tricked and thought I had waken up. The dream involved me recounting my lucid dream to my dad, who expressed surprise and concern that I could control my dreams. He never outright said it, but I assumed that he felt lucid dreaming was in some way evil or risky (the same way getting your palm read or doing something else to tamper with the unknown would be considered evil), even though I didn’t feel vulnerable or scared of what I’d done. Then the dream transitioned into another involving my dad, my brother and my uncle (all the men of my family). We were near water and a dock, and discussing Beach Boys tunes, and which was the best. I woke up with “That’s Not Me” in my head.


Killer plants and porno shops

Two seemlingly unrelated dreams puttered out of my skull this morning some time between 8 and 11. I think. Also, The second dream is NSFW. And completely embarrassing. And I blame it all on the fact that I watched Y tu mamá también right before bed. This officially marks the start of mandatory sex-dream blogging so I'm not the only one out here on this skanky limb*.

Dream, the first: There are cars and people everywhere. It's nighttime (Jesus, do I even have dreams set during the day anymore?) and there is urgency in the air. We are escaping or hiding or trying to do both simultaneously, and doing neither very well. It seems like we are in a vast but enclosed space, like either an irrationally large house (with ceilings so high they can't be seen) or under a network of complicated interstate overpasses. I can feel architecture overhead but it's so dark, it's hard to see.

There are large plants everywhere — LARGE, as in towering above us. It soon becomes apparent that this is what all these people are afraid of. The plants — with thick green stalks covered in tiny hairs — are killing. But it's not yet clear how.

So I wander.

This is what I do in my dreams most of the time. I wander. Always with a vague sense of urgency or anxiety. What am I supposed to do? Who am I here with? Where am I? Am I in danger? Guess I'll wander some more.

I am looking for my family. My grandmother in particular. It feels like my family is gathered somewhere with a cooler, taking it easy until the game (what game?) starts, but I can't find them.

I go through houses and down winding stairs and around walls and in and out doors to get to them. I am outside and I look up and realize how the plants are killing people and why we are running. The petals are alive. They have become giant curved spikes with faces — grinning, sinister faces that peer toward the ground and wait for someone to step into the light so they can strike. Quick, like a bee sting.

Dream, the second: I am lying on a couch in a porno store. Of course there are all sorts of skeezy things hanging on the walls around me, but I am barely paying attention because I am thinking about getting it on with Phil. (I think. Details, like the location itself, are somewhat sketchy!) He is there and apparently we are going to do it on this couch, which is situated right beside the entrance to the little shop. The couch is red vinyl. It's not cold anymore, even though I am naked and splayed on it.

There is a television mounted right above one end of the couch, apparently for visual aid. Phil (I'm still pretty sure it's Phil) goes around the corner toward the back of the store. I realize he's going to get a video. I am incredulous. "Dude, what the fuck do you need a video for?!? I'm ready!" Plus we are surrounded by indecent material of every incarnation you can imagine, and it seems unbelievably sad to me that anyone would need a skin flick playing two feet from their face to encourage them to fuck, even in a porno store (though, in retrospect, porno stores are unbelievably unsexy, so I suppose this makes some sort of twisted sense, even if every part of it pisses me off back here in reality; seriously, my subconscious is a comedian to create this storyline). But Phil insists, and pilfers through the videos around the corner and beyond my sight.

He is taking too long for my liking, and he is pissing me off because here I am, a living, breathing, writhing being on this nasty vinyl couch in this disgusting little store, and he's got to have a sexbot on video help him reach the precipice, so to speak. There are other people milling about, doing a surprisingly good job of minding their own business. So I grab this and offer it to this guy and he seems more than happy to take up the slack——

And then Gonzo starts biting at the cage and I wake up and Gael and I will just have to rendezvous some other time. Hopefully not in a fucking porno store.

* Okay, I kid. I can't make you blog about your sex dreams. But I actively encourage you to.


The yearbook

The apartment I'm in is filthy and run down — a slum, constructed in equal parts of MDF and cardboard and plastic sheeting and plywood. I am stepping over shit and debris and cardboard and wondering how the guy I'm visiting — a prominent area nightlife blogger — can seem so upwardly mobile and urbane when he lives in such abject filth. His living quarters are what I imagine a bona fide crack house might look like. And it's making me incredibly uncomfortable.

Someone hands me a yearbook. I am in two photos on the cover — one where I am in profile, with short hair and red lipstick, laughing. I am disappointed by how fat I look in the photo. Then I notice the other photo. My mother is in a hospital bed, smiling (ostensibly this was during the time my mom was hospitalized a few months ago), and I am leaning in and smiling beside her. Also leaning into the frame is SF (she of Nightmare '06). It makes me sick to see her. I don't understand why she is there with me and my mother, and who took this photograph, and, especially, who put the photo on the cover of the yearbook in light of the absolutely awful turn our relationship took.

I can't decide if the person who put the cover together just didn't know about The Badness, or if the cover designer intentionally wanted to open up some of my old wounds by reminding me of people I am trying very hard to forget.

I halfway decide it's a sick joke played by people who obviously don't care much for me.

But I also feel like I'm being haunted by a photograph I don't remember being taken.

Salmon & Wine

I'm at the unveiling of a new rap artist's debut album. He's signed to Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment.
We're in the Captain D's parking lot, and I reach over to touch the rapper's creme seersucker suit.
"Nigga, don't be touching my suit," the rapper says.
"But I really like it," I tell him. "Where did you get it? Brooks Brothers?"
The rapper shoots me a look like "silly white, gay boy."
Once we're inside the line for deep-fried salty seafood goodness, a pimply faced teen comes over with a bottle of wine.
"Captain D's serves wine now?" I ask in dumbfuck awe. "Well, pour me some of that shit."
Again, as we inch closer to place our orders, I keep trying to touch the rapper's suit. I have to know what fabric his creme seersucker suit is made from.
But I soon spot Diddy in line, talking on his Blackberry. He pauses and glances over at me.
"Nigga, don't be touching his suit, now," Diddy says.


Thanks, Maevis

Last night Craig and I moved to Block Island to share an apartment that looked a bit like my old apartment in Murfreesboro. Leaving Long Island was devastating and I began to cry.

"Are there ocean beaches around here?" I asked.

"Yeah, but you have to drive an hour," Craig replied.

Of course, Block Island is locked in the crux of Long Island Sound, but I suppose dreams don't follow geography.

I was also devastated over my decision to move in with Craig. I wasn't ready for such a big step and he was situating ugly furniture in ways that didn't reflect my intense need for a space I'd like to exist in.

My gut-wrenching decisions stewing in my insides, I drove around the island (which is beautiful and quaint) and came to an intersection with a laundromat situated on the corner. This was no ordinary laundromat. It had no walls, kind of like one of those covered picnic areas you see at parks, and was filled with angry black women shouting at each other. I was somehow able to see the building from a Google Earth point of view and it was shaped exactly like a woman's reproductive system, complete with a vagina and Fallopian tubes and everything.

Back at the apartment, where my coffee table was patterned like a Scottish tartan, a random girl from high school showed up with a gift certificate to the laundromat. I was afraid of the screaming women, but before I could decide to use the certificate or throw it away, Pete knocked on my bedroom door in real life to tell me that Maevis shat on the rug.

Rainbows and Donut Holes

It was Saturday night, and I remembered, suddenly, that I had a leeson with Mrs. Hartford on Tuesday, but I couldn't remember what time. I was slogging around my old bedroom in Savannah, stepping over clutter that seemed to be my stuff, and frantically trying to recall the details of the situation. I remembered that at some point she had accepted my plea to give me a lesson, in an almost evil this-should-be-interesting-you-hack manner, but I simply blanked on the meeting time. Was it 10am, before work, or was it after school? I knew I would have to call her, but I didn't have her number. I knew there was a phone book in my Dad's living room, and I thought ahead to where it would be as I maneuvered out of the mess.

Then I'm at a school. I've never seen this school before, but I seem to know my way around pretty well. Brandon Holloway is trying to say that he's not gay. I start to print off a document at his station and rainbow colored paper starts shooting out. I laugh hysterically and start to make rainbow-colored paper wads to throw at him. He runs over in consternation and insists that I stop wadding the paper up because he's going to return it. He adds loudly that he bought it by accident. He says there has to be a certain number of sheets left for them to accept the return. I look at the monster ream and then glare at him. "You counted all that?!" He nods. Then I realize that I absolutely must use the rainbow paper. He has some pastel pink and blue, but that is no substitute for the brightly colored reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. I tell him that I must use it. He reminds me that he's returning it. I ask how much it was. "Thirty dollars," he replies. I look again at the monster ream. "You paid thirty dollars for that?" He nods. "Okay, I'll buy it," I say.

I turn to the back of the classroom and notice that there's a written conversation that someone has doodled over a sign that's taped to a long table. It's more like a podium fashioned into a bench for students to sit at than a table. Upon closer inspection I realize that it's Brandon and Lindsey Turner's writing.

Lindsey writes: BrandonY's Sarah ?. Brandon has written a response that Sarah Saint is just a friend. Lindsey has written a sarcastic reply. (I did know this, but I've forgotten what she said). I look up and see Sarah sitting in class.

Then I'm asking which mall is the best for shopping for holiday gifts. Candance Durbin is supposed to answer this question. "Is it Florence? Or is it the one in Jackson? Or how about Selmer?" I prod. (To my knowledge there is no mall in Selmer.) There are holiday lights all around, and I'm wearing a black leather jacket. I realize that I'm supposed to be Mrs. Hartford. We are in a nice room with plush chairs and dim lighting that could totally be a hotel lobby. I realize I've got to keep them fooled into thinking I'm Mrs. Hartford. "I was going to take the Jeep," I begin, lying, "but it's in the shop." Brandon sits down at the computer. Sarah says, "Want me to drive?" I throw my keys onto a bed. "Sure. The Jeep's in the shop." Brandon is MapQuesting the mall. "Want some gas money?" He asks, sending an email. "Sure," I say. But he's planning on luring a friend on the trip to donate gas money by promising for them to get lots of dirt on me from riding with Sarah Saint. I can't believe what's going on, but I'm supposed to be Mrs. Hartford so I keep quiet. Brandon is proud of his accomplishment.

Then I'm at a family gathering, having driven some maroon car there, briefly wondering why I hadn't used this car before if it was so obviously at my disposal. Inside the kitchen there is drama. Someone is drunk and pregnant. My grandma and me and other members of the clan I don't recognize tarry in the lawn. Granny says, "Whose maroon car is that?" I crane my neck and see only mine. "That's mine," I respond. "No," she says. "Whose is that one?" I look at her and repeat, "Mine." Granny gets an attitude and responds, "NO, it ISN'T! Whose is THAT one?!" I lean around the corner of the house and see three more maroon cars. They begin to pull out of the driveway onto the highway.

Then I'm wandering down a street with a couple of bums. One guy is trying to swindle me out of whatever it is I have, and he promises to get us some food with his old glazed donut holes. I don't question whether the cafe will accept this as payment, so I hand over whatever it is he wants. We sit down in the cafe, so glad that we're about to get real food. I decide I want a sundae, order it, and start counting out donut holes to pay. Then one of my bum friends comes to the table and says, "They don't accept that as payment! They're talking about what they're going to make us pay with! Either liver donation or even jailtime!" I look at my sundae in disdain and mash a donut hole into it. I decide I'm not that hungry.


Italians stain it best

My house is full of people from The Lob. They're weaving in and out of doorways, packing up all my stuff and enjoying drinks and conversation at the same time.

Mags and Zephyr are on my bed and we're gossiping about the boss's latest wild accusation. His wife apparently put together a yearbook (complete with a video of sketch comedy) in which I'm clearly the star. I look great in every picture and am the funniest of all the spoofers. Our manager, however, is portrayed as a thief. I try to talk to her about it, but she's pissed.

When I return to my room, Mags has spilled ravioli all over my bedspread. Actually, it looked more like gnocchi, which is delicious.

Moldy Peaches

Mutual friend Nick Fowler and I have just purchased an apartment.
We're driving back from a round of grocery shopping in Fowler's cherry red pickup truck, which looks straight out of a Toby Keith Ford truck commerical.
While I'm lecturing Fowler on the social implications of rap music ("It really taps into the radical fuck-you counterculture of the 1960s," I tell him), I feel the urge to throw up on his sunroof.
"Oh my God, can I throw up on your sunroof?" I ask him.
"Sure. Go for it," he says.
With a simple flip of the switch, I'm up on the roof, hurling violently. My entire body quivers in spasms and vomit puddles down the windshield.
"That looked awesome," Nick goes.

"There are two kinds of people who live in our apartment building," Nick goes, "you have the professionals: the doctors and lawyers."
He pauses with the slightest hint of resignation, "and then, you have us."
Back at the hacienda, I notice that my apartment has green mold growing everywhere.
Hunks of mold form on the floor in intricate patterns, randomly culminating in thick-skinned moldy husks.
To soothe the pain in a workaday world, I come up and start picking at the mold. I jab the mold with my fingers because I must get rid of it. I must.
"You moldy sonofabitch," I say to the mold while finger-banging it.


The White Rabbit

Most of my dreams lately involve cocktail parties.
I get the sense that I'm not invited. I just stand back between the plate of weenie rolls and rich people chomping ice cubes and stare hopelessly away at the object of my affection.
Last week, it was Maureen Dowd.
She came to the cocktail party, and I followed her around like a doe-eyed puppy dog. MoDo didn't return my advances, so I dejectedly returned to the plate of weenies.
The other night, it was this muscle-bound real estate agent. I wanted him to take me to the upstairs closet so that we could fuck like rabbits. He had closely cropped blond hair, dark blue eyes and dimples. God, he had dimples.
I stared at my vodka on the rocks with its sexy red straw poking up in a suggestive manner.
"Please take me to the upstairs closet," I mouthed to the bottom of my glass.
The blond real estate agent never did and again, I returned to my spot between the plates of weenie rolls and rich people chomping their ice cubes.


I get the sense I'm with my brother, walking through a touristy commercial district San Francisco, quickly, trying to get this little black boy to the hospital. He seems fine, but it's urgent that he get to where he's going by a certain time. We get to the hospital and it's enormous, surrounded by towering palm trees with white lights wrapped around them, and thick yucca plants planted in cedar mulch. We miss the correct entrance (it's labeled something other than "entrance") and walk all the way down to the far end only to realize our mistake. We go inside one of the little offices and tell the women at the desk we're lost. They're happy to draw us a map and point us in the right direction. They even call the doctor ahead so he'll know we'll be late. We use their map to find the entrance and go inside. We are running and a cop, who is busy doing something else, yells at us to slow down. So we run faster, away from the cop, taking the escalator. One of us accidentally takes the up escalator and has to jump over the handrail. We push through the teeming crowds, away from the officer and finally, according to the map, toward the area we're think supposed to be in. The hospital looks more like a big, lit-up mall with all the people surging in it, and the way it's built with enormously tall ceilings and glitterying skylights that reflect the light from the palm trees outside. We hurry through a series of well-hidden doors until we finally, with great relief, get the kid to where he needs to be. He seems very happy that we have helped him find the right place. Once securely in the right spot, we decide it's OK to leave him and head home.

[blank spot]

Now we are on a long, flat, gravel country road. Still in California. There are modest houses along the road. It looks a lot like Tennessee. I'm marveling at how their leaves are turned slightly, but aren't dead and brittle yet. I am telling my brother to quit throwing pebbles around; the homeowners are going to get pissed and wonder who the hell we are and why we're walking down their road. We are trying to make our way back home, but we have a long journey and no way to travel but our feet. The distance from home seems enormous, but there is a great sense of freedom in it. Like we're on the ultimate road trip with very little baggage. (I don't recall carrying anything.) There are also moments where we are slogging through pits of mud and who knows what else, and I am constantly worrying about what I am stepping in. We stop periodically at rest stations to clean off. I see my brother stop and get some things out of a locker, as if he's taken a shower and is putting on his watch and some other things again. I don't remember him putting them in there to begin with.

[blank spot]

We are on a plane, a commercial jet, being piloted by one of my bosses, SA. It's funny because you can look up to the front of the jet and see his face in one of those enormous rear-view mirrors they have on schoolbuses. The plane is full. I am bragging to the people around us, who are all chatting in a very communal way, about the way we made it out to California using only mass transit (don't know why this is a big deal, but at the time, it seemed amazing) and our feet. We are going home. The relief is palpable. We have just taken off and we can see the ground shrinking below us. There is something large and black, chunky and modular, like a train, just below us up in the air, moving slowly out of view. One woman near me yelps, "Oh, SA, look out!" At about that time, our left wing clips it. There is a sickening dip, almost like we're about to lose it. Everyone tenses up, bracing for the impact and the skid. I watch SA in the rearview as he struggles to keep us in the air. The plane bounces around for several minutes and no one is sure if we are going to live or die or just get stuck in a fiery inferno or what. I look at the guy beside/behind me. He looks a lot like the cult leader from those Strangers With Candy episodes. Which is to say he is cute. He has very light strawberry blonde hair, and he's wearing a light green shirt. We look at each other seem to recognize at the same time that we should kiss. So I lean in and we share a quiet French kiss, which is actually quite calming in the middle of an airplane crash. I am suddenly filled with feeling for this guy, and I resolve to keep in touch with him if we make it out alive. The way he looks at me makes me swoon. He has looked at me like that for the whole flight but I had not really noticed until I thought I was going to die.

The plane has leveled out but we're flying low. We realize there's going to be an emergency landing for some wing repair. As we are trying to find a suitable field to land in, I look in front of me and notice a guy sitting there who looks familiar. I get his attention. "Hi, are you Stephen Miller?" I ask. He grins. "Oh my god!" We hug and I say, "I haven't seen you since high school! What are you doing in California?"

He has kind of an odd style about him — one that's incredibly square and almost Alfalfa-like — and he doesn't really resemble the Stephen Miller I remember. "Oh, I came out here for love," he says, cutting his eyes at me. I realize he means he is gay. "Good for you," I say, hugging him again.

We are in a field now. The landing must have been ultra-smooth. There are train tracks and a busy road nearby. We have to taxi onto it, so some cops help stop traffic. My relief at not being dead is overwhelming.

[blank spot]

Home. I am telling my grandmother what happened with the plane and she doesn't believe it. My dad comes in and has a hard time believing it too.

Who falls in love amid a plane crash anyway?


Hazy Recall

This one is rather hazy. I dreamt I was with a group, but I was there in competition with them, as if we were all going for the same job or something. There was a large bus that resembled a school bus, but something was different. The sun was scorching and everything had that bronzed, desert look to it. At some point I fancied that I had the upper hand in the situation and quickly set about loading my luggage into a car, clearly thinking, "I'll make this stuff fit!"

I forgot a great deal of the details of the in-bus drama, but it was long and meandering and I sense that I felt like most of the shenanigans were beneath me.

Then I dreamt that Sabian was my size and he was attacking me. He was batting at me and clearly trying to be playful, but I kept seeing those huge claws extend and cringing when they poked and ripped at me.

I didn't remember the Sabian part until this morning when I woke up and looked at him and had an inexplicable, fleeting sense of foreboding wash over me. Then it all came back.

Passive-aggressive dreaming

Last night I confronted the enemy. My mother, whose face stretched and changed into scary Jack Skellington-esque smirks, shrank to my height when I grabbed her shoulders and demanded she stop acting like a grumpy animal. I'm not sure what prompted the confrontation, but I sensed pushing her up against a metal locker.

I found myself coming home to an apartment I'd never seen before (I love that -- I always feel certain the place will show up again in my real life and I'll be in for some wicked deja vu) where Patrick was waiting to hang out with me. I told him he had some nerve coming over after what he did to me. We began to argue over whose fault it was when I stopped the bickering to make the two points I should've made in real life. I told him that his behavior, regardless of who did what to whom, was cruel and immature considering the important things that should be considered -- friendships and positive efforts to maintain said friendships, forgiveness, and keeping the peace. I explained that the last two years had given me no reason to expect anything else. I also told him that romantic relationships are complicated and assured him that I'd come away just as hurt (if not more, considering my personal disappointment over my behavior in ending the relationship) but had flown home willing to nurture bonds I consider monumental in my life. At some point, Craig called. I hung up, defeated over his too-long pauses, and tried to reheat leftover New England clam chowder, which we made together, on a stove that wouldn't light.

The last dream sucked. I woke feeling upset over things that were laid to rest years ago and dug up and reburied weeks ago. Life is often unfair. And so are dreams, apparently.

One night, 3+ dreams

In the order I remember them:

One: I am at a place that feels like my parents' house, yet it looks nothing like it. It's nighttime, probably summer. The world feels large and open, the sky a deep milky blue. We are having an enormous house party, but I get the feeling that either I had nothing to do with the party (despite all the people there being my age) or I orchestrated the party and am now so stressed out that I want to take it back and make everyone go home. I feel completely separated from the activity. Everyone is playing sports of some sort. I get suited up but immediately feel silly and useless as a player, like I've lost all my youthful ability to play sports. At some point during the night, I venture out onto a balcony to use the toilet, but think better of it because everyone can see. It registers as slightly odd that there's a toilet on the balcony. I decide to go to bed early, since the party's just not working out. When I wake up, everyone's gone, including my family. I wait around and fret until my mom comes home with a bag of groceries. Somehow the house was pristine even though I never touched a broom.

Two: I am in a motorboat with a younger version of my brother. We are riding with a family that is not ours — a family with a grandmother, a soccer mom-looking wife, a blue collar-looking father type (the type to look like he'd coach the soccer team) and their kids, though I can't remember what the kids looked like. Perhaps my brother and I were supposed to be the kids. We are traveling over terrain that feels familiar, like it's been covered in water. The family is talking about buying some duplex on the side of the road (where did the water go?) so everyone can have a bedroom between the two apartments. The house is two stories, red brick, with a gravelly front yard, right up next to a highway that's elevated a few feet above the baseline of the house.

That conversation resolved, the dad keeps asking us if we want cheese dip. We are apparently headed to a restaurant. I get the feeling we're in Pickwick. We are speeding past people and trees, and we plunge down a steep hill and stop and take a right just like we would have were we in a car. (That's some boat.) We get to the restaurant and it's got sort of a Moroccan-inspired feel to it, with embellished tiles and curved architecture. We are still in our boat. I nearly fall out, but they pull me back in. My brother has already gone into the water and he seems fine. For some reason I have no desire to go swimming. Yet he's having a great time.

Three: This feels related to No. 2, but I can't remember the segue. We are in a room much like that of the Moroccan-feeling place, but I am sitting with some little girl who reminds me of Dora the Explorer. She is fascinated with a giant tapestry on the wall — one that I really wish she wouldn't touch. But touch it she does. She flips it over and flips it back and shakes it, just playing with it carelessly like any kid would. I scold her strongly, yet she won't stop. I'm afraid she's going to destroy it and we'll get in trouble.

I had another dream about filling up containers or something, but it's totally lost, except for the feeling that it was about filling containers. And as I was waking, that was the only one I remembered. Then suddenly my mind shifted — I literally felt it shift — and I remembered these three and forgot the one about filling containers. That's so frustrating.

This one's not mine

I don't remember what I dreamed Monday night. But I do remember what Phil told me he dreamt Monday night.

I was trying to get a new job. The boss had interviewed me and mentioned that I could get an extra $2 million a year if I'd let her sleep with Phil. So I did. She looked like Scarlett Johansson. I got the job. The end.

At least that's what Phil says happened. Something tells me it might not have involved me getting a job or $2 million at all. But the rest of it? Sure.



Amy's couch was a real hotbed. I visited her in Chicago last weekend and spent each night curled under a colorful afghan and wandering strange streets with my eyes closed. I also have a few recurring dreams and experienced a double shot during my visit. Twice I dreamt that I'd finished an entire semester having grossly neglected a few classes. One was Latin class (taught by my high school Latin teacher, who hadn't aged a day), which was early in the morning and therefore quite missable. The other two were science and math classes I'd never attended. In fact, I hadn't taken the time to memorize their meeting times.

Shit, I thought. Did I miss them again this week?

A final paper was due in one class and I was showing up late for the last few periods packed with the knowledge that I hadn't even started the project and was dangerously close to the point of no return. The professor looked a lot like an English professor I had. One who dressed up in a wizard hat when he taught Beowulf.

I had the unmistakable sour stomach that comes with knowing you're about to fail, pay for a wasted semester, and postpone graduation by another four months. Where are the withdrawal options in these dreams?

I've never had a lucid dream but, oh, how I crave one. I suppose I got close when my time as a neglectful student gave way to dreaming that our friend Kristin was diagnosed with lupus. I wasn't aware that I was dreaming, but I knew I wanted to stick around and make sure she was okay. I wanted to check for lesions and bring her some aspirin. Perhaps it's a start.

Last Night's Dream

I wandered through a book store I had been to many times and searched for the newest volume of Jane's World. It had been there before but I couldn't find it this time.

My intentions were a lucid dream involving Sarah Trybus, but that's all I got.


Last night's dream: All but evaporated

I have a bad habit of having incredibly long, meandering, detailed dreams, waking up, remembering everything, then falling back asleep and, upon waking again, forgetting all but the most incomprehensible bits.

Last night's dream, I remember, was a long one, with many plot twists and moments of frustration (I hate waking up with frustration left over from a dream).

Here are the bits I can remember:

• Being mad at Phil for what I perceived as deceiving me
• Opening up a Strunk&White's Guide to Style and seeing vaguely pornographic photos hidden inside, belonging to a fictional co-worker (the person didn't look like anyone I actually work with, but the sense was that I work with him)
• Being in an unfamiliar house with lots of rooms

Not a lot to work with there.

House fire

To my knowledge, I've only had one recurring dream, and I've only had it twice.

However, both times, it was identical. At least ostensibly.

My memory of the dream has gotten cloudier with time, but here's what I still recall of it:

My parents' house sits up on a hill on a highway out in the country. In the dream, I am driving or walking, not sure, past the house, as if coming home from school. It's daylight. I look up at the house and sense that it's on fire, even though the outward appearance of the house seems normal. There are fire trucks and people around, trying to salvage what can be salvaged. I walk up the long, winding driveway and notice that everything but the garage is on fire (still, nothing looks like it's on fire from the outside). Inside the garage sits my father's copper-colored '73 Camaro (a graduation gift from his parents that, yes, he still has to this day). It is untouched, gleaming. Underneath it, my best friend at the time, Wendy S., is asleep underneath.

Seems like I try to wake her and get her to get out, the house is on fire, etc. She doesn't budge. For some reason I go inside the house, up the stairs from the basement, and into the kitchen, which is suddenly huge and gutted and charred from the fire. Everything inside is made of stainless steel, which didn't burn, but I can see the rafters in the ceiling are charred and broken and the roof looking ready to collapse.

I go up more stairs (it's a split-level) and head toward my bedroom — the old one I lived in before my sister moved out and I took her bedroom. My childhood bedroom's walls were painted Pepto Bismol pink (my awful, awful choice at the time; talk about internalizing social pressures — my favorite color was yellow but I chose pink because I thought little girls had pink bedrooms) and I had billowing white curtains. When I opened the door, the room was pristine, bathed in sunlight and warmth. The curtains were blowing in the wind, and there was a pile of stuffed animals (I used to have an enormous collection) on the bed, arranged neatly, all of them looking right at me as I stood there and wondered why my room hadn't burned when nearly everything else had.

That's all I remember.

Maintenance note

It has come to my attention that this blog looks like creamed crap in Internet Explorer. Instead of all the sidebar crap being on the top and the content being down below in one wide-ass column, the sidebar should be on the, um, side and the content should be to the right in a nice, readable column. There should be a grey background behind it, which means you should be able to READ IT!

I have no earthly idea why it looks how it does, but somehow I've got the urge to blame George Bush.

So I'm going to set to work to see if I can make this damn thing compatible with IE.

And if I can't (my skillz are limited), then you should check this site out. It's the bomb diggity.

Last night's dream: Funerary Pool

I was standing in my grandparents' driveway arguing with someone about funeral flowers. This person did not want to buy new flowers for the casket when we already had perfectly good purple and midnight blue roses. I put them in the back of my SUV.

The next thing I remember is being in the room with the body. The body was apparently some father figure of mine, but it was actually the body of the father, Mr. Fisher, in Six Feet Under. He had been placed in a kiddie pool of water, legs poking out and eyes closed, and blue dye had been added to the water.

Suddenly a girl younger than me in a white sleeping gown crawled into the pool and snuggled up to him. She said, "Hug him, Tamara, he's your," and then she used some word that meant part of the family. I felt like I had to, so I crawled into the pool and hugged the body.

Then my Mom and Dad stopped by and checked me into a hotel. They paid for the room and left. Then I was in the shower and running late. When I got out I had my stuff scattered everywhere. Someone called me from the car, already en route. I talked to them while I tried to pack quickly, but my arms moved like molasses. I had to check the shower three times because I was sure that I had left something. When I headed out the door I turned and looked back at the clock. It read 7:17. I imagined that the funeral must be at 9, if it was already 7:17, and I had a flashback of long hours spent in the Savannah funeral home, with Brooke, my grandpa, and me upstairs in the lounge sipping Coke from a glass bottle. I knew I would be exhausted when the funeral was over.

I was driving, apparently leading a caravan to the funeral, and we were all running late. My sunglasses had been dropped in some sort of oil, and I couldn't see through the lenses. The road was grated metal, so I couldn't steer with one leg to clear the lenses because the wheel was pulling too powerfully. I was exasperated.

When I got back to the room with the body I was met with a frazzled Mrs. Fisher. Her face and hands were tinted blue, and her hair was windswept and her eyes were puffy. I knew the flower girl from the beginning of the dream had come back and was causing trouble.

"Overnight he slipped down into the water and now he's dyed blue!" She said in exasperation. I turned to the body in the pool, and he was indeed dyed blue.

"Oh, no, the flowers didn't wilt, did they?" I walked over to the empty casket, and the roses were soaking wet. Most of the buds had dropped to the floor, and petals were dropping off as I watched. Mostly there were only stems left.

Nate was in the dream, but I don't remember what he was doing.

NOTE: I haven't watched Six Feet Under for a few weeks, if not months.


The Monster that Contained Fire

This was the nightmare that haunted my childhood. It arose, mostly, from watching Star Wars as a young child. (Imagine that I would grow up and collaborate on an anti-Star Wars comic!) I had this dream over and over again, and I would always wake up scared shitless and haul ass in my sleep shirt to wherever my mother was.

My grandfather, my mother, my father, and myself were in the living room of our old house. They were talking in hushed tones about something that was trying to get us. They saw a round shape sail past the living room window, and we all decided to freeze. Mom slid herself into the speaker stand of the entertainment center, Dad and my grandpa sat on the couch, and I - stupidly - leaned against the coffee table in the middle of the room. I just realized that I was out in the open when the screen door to our back porch slammed shut, and in rolled R2D2. This R2D2 was not a friendly, beeping robot, though. It was understood that this thing could and would incinerate anything that moved. I got scared, and when it rounded the kitchen table briefly out of sight I decided to make a run for my mother. But when I collapsed at her feet her eyes were wide and horrified, looking past my shoulder. I turned around and saw the Monster looming over me and my mother, about to burn us to bits. I realized that I led him to my mom, and I scream.

Three Correlating Dreams

There is a confusing theme in my dream world, a theme of water. In almost all of my dreams water is present. Usually it's a threat of some kind, but occasionally it's simply the soggy forest ground after a rain. I have no idea what it means, but I believe it symbolizes something negative that is heading my way, or that I am directing myself to, or something along those lines. Read along and perhaps you can help me sort out my water mystery.

The following are three entries from my dream journal that all deal with water. One name has been changed to protect my already-fragile ego. Some of you will know exactly who it is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2006

Last night I dreamt that I was at MTSU, but it had a layout reminiscent of my middle school. Lindsey Turner was with me, and so was Sarah Odio. We lived in a kind of dorm that was an absolute mess. I couldn't figure out what to wear and kept changing into these weird outfits. I wanted to wear one of my many, many (surprisingly stylish!) UT shirts in my closet, but thought it would be inappropriate since I was at MTSU. (Sarah Odio went to UT, and she wasn't wearing a UT shirt.) Then we went to class and discovered that our classroom had been flooded. The walls were glass and we peered through at the caved in ceiling and the blue tarp that billowed on about ten feet of water. Magically, no water leaked out while the door was shut. Then someone said, "Let's open it!" And we ran from a wall of water. Then I'm late for my sax lesson with Davich, and I'm trying to get my sax in its case, but I've got bits of saxophone everywhere! Necks, mouthpieces with reeds on them, you name it! It's five til, and I'm panicked. Later I was at the Hippy Shack and my Dad was poking around with a flashlight being sketchy.

Sunday, March 27, 2006

Last night I dreamt that I was in a wacky peanut butter factory. There were tubes, open tubes, like the tubes in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Peanut butter ingredients surged through them from where they mixed at the open top. My desk and chair were perched precariously by the metal stairs, several feet above a concrete floor and a potentially-mangling set of metal spiral stairs. I was terrified that I would fall and I kept backing away. Then I was at a house party, and flood waters were advancing. I'm looking out the door while everyone else is partying, and I'm asking, "Does this bother anyone else?" Then I'm on my bicycle and I'm kidnapped by a guy on a motorcycle. They subject me to some treacherous terrain so that if I fall off I'll die. I later understand that two men raped me.

Monday, March 28, 2006

(Last night when I went to bed I decided to have a lucid dream and confront Mrs. Hartford* and try to resolve some of my issues with her. It's the only dream I've ever had where, instead, she emerged and kicked my ass, basically. It's as if she was having her own lucid dream and was replying, "Oh, no ya don't!")

First, Brooke and I are cohabiting an apartment. She and I are having breakfast, but I can't figure out what time it is because every clock says something different. I am cooking Dan a vegetable omelette. By the time I'm done cooking mine he's already finished eating his, and he eats my breakfast in one bite. I keep freaking out because I think I have to open the gym at nine, and half the clocks say it's already past that. Then I'm at school, and I drop Brooke off with her shiny new stuff. (She was given an anonymous gift. Someone left it in the microwave. She got a new pink cell phone with her name on it, an ornate porcelain unicorn, and lots of other goodies.) So I help her get her nametags and gear and leave her at her gymnastics practice. I go to the band room and sit down with the saxes. I sit between Tommy Campbell and Kristen from UT. I realize I am at UT. Daniel Lancaster and James Clark are in front of me. There is a space-age set of bass saxophones outside that blows my mind. Then someone gets caught with gum and they start checking every mouth. I discover that I have a large mass of gum in my mouth that I can't swallow. They make Tommy check my mouth, I try to hide it as best I can, but he rats on me. The Gum Checker asks to see, but suddenly my right hand won't work and I can't pull my cheek aside. That's when I realize that Mrs. Hartford is the new director of bands at UT. She's skinny and hot, too.** She singles me out, walks up, and shakes the hell out of my hand. She announces, "Tamara Burross, what a surprise. A very confusing, weird surprise." I can't speak because there's more gum in my mouth. From then on I keep pulling wads and wads of gum from my mouth, but I can't get it out. I can't tell what she's thinking, but she's looking at me scornfully. Then we divide into groups - I'm put with the Beginners. Kristen is hitting on me and kissing my cheek. Everyone is supposed to have a tuner, but I don't. Then I realize that I have on no bra or underwear, and my skirt is really short. I check for the bari and bass display, but they're gone. I look through a window and realize that Brooke's gymnastics competition is going on next door, and I realize that it's the same room from two dreams ago that had been flooded. Outside I can see there's a huge lake.

* Name changed.

** Cringe.

Let your brain do all the work

One of the more fascinating, ephemeral, confounding things in life is the idea that when we sleep, our brains are still at work, making up stories — often laughable and improbable, and often frighteningly realistic – that we may or may not be aware of when we wake.

Dreaming has always been something I've aspired to know more about. What's its function? Do dreams operate by any standard rules? Can they be manipulated with practice? Is it possible they are more than just an info-dump and have a connection to another part of life that we manage to avoid throughout the day? Why doesn't the brain just shut down all but the necessary bodily functions — breathing, blood circulation, digestion, etc. — when we sleep? Is dreaming a necessity to ensure that we will wake up without the aid of alarm clocks; are dreams just meandering poetic stories with climaxes meant to startle the body into consciousness?

Some nights I'd swear so.

I doubt my informal research will definitively answer these questions for me. And, really, that's part of what's so special about dreams; they exist just just beyond our grasp of understanding them fully, so we have to take them for what they are: Pure mysteries invented inside our skulls when our eyes are closed and our rational selves have checked out for a bit.

So, here we are at a blog — the proper way to explore an impulse in the 21st century, of course — where several team members will document their dreams in as much detail as possible. It'll be sort of like story time, only we're making nothing up. These stories already exist, invented by an idle brain and hopefully recalled by an addled memory.

There are no set rules about what to post or how often; team members don't have to post about every dream, but the more posts the better, obviously. The only rule I see as necessary for now: I would like to keep the blog as truthful as possible; fictionalizing or fudging details is discouraged, even though I know how difficult it can be to convey certain parts of dreams that are so vague that they exist in our memories as just gut feelings. It might seem easier to just plug in info that seems like it would logically stitch the dream together, but it detracts from the idea of documenting. We will write only what we can remember and describe, and if you need to note in the middle of a dream that you can't quite describe what's going on, then that's preferable to making stuff up that seems like it would fit.

Names of real people should, if at all possible, be preserved. But I understand the need to change names in particularly embarrassing dreams (I've had a few of these and probably will have many more).

You can also feel free to talk about your own personal dreaming patterns and dreams you've held onto throughout your life. And you can post and comment on news stories that involve dreaming.

Basically anything goes, so long as it's truthful and dream-related.

The idea here is to tell the stories our brains made up for us when we were sleeping, and, if it's possible, to ponder and maybe even figure out why we dreamed what we did. My own personal goal is to become more aware of my dreams, and to remember them more clearly from night to night and nap to nap.

So get some sleep, and meet me back at Nocturnal Admissions in the morning.