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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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: 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.