I just woke from a very long and vivid dream that I haven’t had before, although during a certain part of it, I felt sure that I had. The dream was comprised of a few different stories, and I’m going to attempt to reproduce them all. Be prepared for a journey.
* * * * *
I’m riding on a tiny motorized scooter on a rural highway past the suburbs of the suburbs of Portland. I’m on my way home and I’m making good time, even though my scooter isn’t very powerful and not really meant to be driven on highways. As soon as I get into the city, it morphs into a smaller version of itself and becomes a motorized bicycle. I have to pedal, but the engine helps provide a boost. I have a choice between riding on a fast-moving freeway or a tree-lined residential neighborhood, and I choose the neighborhood, thinking to myself, It’ll be much slower, but much safer, and also much prettier so I’ll enjoy it more.
I turn and start to ride through the neighborhood. There is a steep hill in front of me, and I pedal mightily up it. At the top, the road becomes a dead end. I see a house with its side door open, and I ride my bike right into the house, past an older woman who is sitting mutely on a small chrome kitchen chair next to the window, watching a cooking show on television. “Sorry for riding into your house,” I told her. “Does [my adopted aunt] live here? I could swear she used to.”
“No, she doesn’t live here,” the woman said. “I remember you now. You’ve been by before to ask about her.”
“Oh, okay. Good thing I learned, huh?” I look over at the TV, which is barely audible.
“I prefer the quiet life–” she starts, but I interrupt.
“That much is obvious.”
“–But I always watch TV.”
I tell her that I’d better get going, so that I won’t have to ride home in the dark. We both say the usual pleasantries, and even ‘good to see you again’, and I go on my way. I ride into a wide cul-de-sac and notice that someone driving an old green BMW is following me. I decide to visit a house nearby in which my brother is staying and babysitting his friend’s young daughter. I park my bike in the driveway and walk into the house, which is dark except for the kitchen, which has one bright recessed light in the ceiling above the counter. I walk into the light and see a coffee maker with its pot full of fresh, steaming coffee. I think about taking some, but decide against it, since it’s late at night, and I don’t know whether or not it’s caffeinated.
I walk into the living room to find my brother’s friend’s daughter (not anyone from real life) sitting on the floor, surrounded by dolls and toys of all types, as well as cameras, small medical instruments, microscopes, miniature electronics; an enormous range of things to keep her occupied. My brother is nowhere to be seen. I say hello to her and sit down on the floor next to her. A bunch of cats appear in the room and walk over to us. Being a cat lover, I try to pet each of them separately, but they all arrive at the same time, and I soon find myself covered in cats.
I reach up at one point to adjust my glasses, and I notice that an elaborate piece is missing from the left corner, and they won’t stay held together. The piece disappears on the rug, and with all the other miscellaneous tiny electronics that are on the floor, it quickly becomes impossible to find. The little girl thinks she finds it a couple of times, but after attempting to put the piece in my glasses, I find that they aren’t the right ones. We spend a good deal of time getting really frustrated (I even drop a couple of F-bombs in the process, which amuses the little girl) looking for the piece. Brother comes in, at last, and instantly kneels down to help us look, even though he doesn’t yet know what it is we’re looking for.
After the pulling back of rugs and scattering of toys and other junk, I crawl underneath the pool table and find a couple of things that seem to have been stashed there; my brother’s little black leather duffel bag, a box containing some computer software, and the piece from my glasses. “Here it is,” I yell. “I found it!” I tuck the piece into my pocket for safekeeping, since it attaches with a screw but the screw is missing. I’ll have to take it to an optical shop to get it fixed.
At this point the dream changes, and I’m walking in downtown Portland, although it looks more like certain sections of New York City, with very wide streets, busy angled intersections, and a train line running overhead, with dilapidated buildings built right next to the road. The sidewalk on which I’m standing is extremely narrow and I need to get across the many lanes of Burnside Street. I decide to make a dash for it, but just as I get to the middle of the street, the traffic on the angled cross street gets a green light and starts to come toward me. There are lots of big trucks, and I have to feint left and right, in the hopes that they’ll see me and not run me down. Finally I make it across, where the sidewalk is wide, and there’s a cash machine and a large bus stop area. I walk over to the cash machine and see two African-American friends talking. Having seen my maneuvers getting across the street, one is laughing and telling the other, “You ought to try some moves like that in North Portland. They won’t be slowing down for the likes of you and me. You’re better off paying your two-ninety-five and catching the bus!” They both laugh.
The man who’s talking seems to be a bit of a conspiracy theorist, and he decides to include me in their conversation. He points at the cash machine and says that everything in our society is ruled by numbers now, and that’s how the government controls us. “Did you know that in the Communist countries, they don’t have license plates on their cars? Really. They don’t even have license plates.” His friend and I take a second to ponder that. I don’t think he’s correct, but I don’t say anything. He launches into another similarly far-fetched conspiracy and somehow manages to tie it to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the U.S. It’s complete nonsense, and all three of us seem to know it, but he’s fired up and animated. “Man, I never get tired of this shit!” He comments on the fact that the bus schedule is in a multitude of languages, including Hindi, and the conversation takes an ugly turn.
He turns around, and we follow his gaze to see a group of Indian people, men and women, standing at the far end of the bus stop area. They’re doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the bus, so our guy’s sudden outburst is completely unwarranted. He yells very slurringly at them, “BRUTES!” Without a moment’s hesitation, three or four of the Indian men run over to where we are, expecting and ready for a fight. Our guy disappears, and the two of us remaining are trying to explain to the Indians that we don’t know where that outburst came from, and that we had nothing to do with it. Luckily they believe us, and the last of the guys even tells us in his lilting accent, “You guys are okay; I can see that.” By this time, the women of the group have come to join the men, and there are even a handful of lepers in the group, who are quite disfigured. One of them somewhat unnaturally moves to shake my hand, since she’s learned that’s what Americans tend to do, but I tell her, “That’s okay, you don’t have to.” I notice that the last two fingers on her hands are extremely withered and spindly.
The dream’s location changes again, and I find myself standing by myself on a grassy hilltop next to a rocky embankment next to the ocean. The ocean is behind me, and I’m looking down the hill into a large park. It looks a bit like Seattle’s Gasworks Park, minus the gas works, naturally.
There is a festival happening in the park, sort of a spiritual/Renaissance/humanistic kind of thing. (It looks very much like this picture, actually.) The people on my little hilltop are different from the rest of the festival patrons; they’re mostly aging hippies wearing things like long white robes and floppy tie-dyed pants. A few of the people are chanting and singing. The hillside is covered with two-foot tall plants, and the only way to the top of the hill is along a dirt path. Somewhere in the plants, someone has set up an elaborate system of speakers, and they are piping music up to the hillside. The strains of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows can be heard, and people start to sing along quietly. I’m standing by myself near the edge of the plants, and one of the old hippies walks past me, mumbling something to me that I can’t understand.
I walk down the steep path to the main part of the park and meet up with a couple of friends (from real life this time). Everyone is dressed rather nicely for the festival. The women are all wearing longish dresses, and the men are all wearing ties; my friends and I have our top shirt buttons undone, but many of the men are wearing full three-piece suits. The park is in the shape of a large square, divided into a number of different areas for this festival. There’s a Kids area, to keep them occupied while the parents are exploring the festival. There’s a Merchandise area where people are selling all types of handmade clothing and hats. There’s a Barbecue area with three large fire pits with spits or rotisseries or whatever cooking various kinds of meat. There’s a Garden area, with a flagstone path and dense reeds growing around a fountain. There’s a grassy Meditation area for sitting and reflecting. There’s a Temple area made of stone, with tiny ziggurats delineating the edges, and there is a flaming torch in each corner. In the very center of the park, there’s a square section paved with cement, with a number of long, flat wooden benches with no backs, crisscrossing and facing in many directions so that people can sit and eat and interact with each other.
This part of the dream, in this strange square park, starts to feel familiar, as if I’ve experienced it at least twice before.
My two friends and I are there together, but we decide that we want to explore the festival separately. One friend disappears almost immediately. The second decides he wants some barbecue, so he walks in that direction. As he gets there, he looks back toward me and points me in the direction of the garden path area. I walk past the barbecue area and the meditation area, and take a right turn at the temple before arriving at the garden path. There are two women walking together a short distance behind me. One of them is quite tall and dressed in a blouse and knee-length skirt, and the other is rather short and wearing a sort of Romanesque costume, with a decorative helmet (no plume or anything, just an ornately carved helmet made of silver and gold) and a short white skirt that sort of billows as she walks. She appears to be around my age, and I’m intrigued by her. I think to myself, I don’t want to keep having this same dream over and over again; I’m going to do something different. In the other two dreams, apparently I hadn’t gone back and talked to the woman, but I vowed to meet her this time. Having been lost in my thoughts for a few moments, I realize that I’ve left the Garden Path area and I’m now getting close to the center of the park, with the benches. I turn around and walk back toward the Garden.
The two women pass me, and I smile a bit as they pass. The one in costume is indeed about my age, possibly a year or two older. She has shoulder-length blonde hair (visible from beneath the helmet), with the merest hint of grey; very flattering for her. “You’re lovely,” I tell her. She smiles widely and her friend gives her an encouraging smile and walks a little bit away so that the two of us can talk. The woman I’m interested in gives me a smile and a come-on-with-me-but-let’s-not-leave-her-out look, and turns to catch up with her friend. We are now in the center of the park, and we walk down the grass, past and just below the corner of the eating area. I’m a few steps behind the two of them. “Have you eaten anything yet?” I call out.
The woman’s friend laughs with surprise and says, “Wow, look at you. You’re just coming right over.”
“Absolutely,” I say. “Are you two hungry? I know a great little place around the corner.” I gesture toward the center of the park, and both women crack up laughing. I walk toward the woman I’m interested in.
She removes her helmet and shakes out her hair, while giving me a slightly quizzical look, but she decides to trust me. “Okay,” she answers with a smile. “I can’t believe I’m doing this, but. . .okay.”
I offer her my right arm, which she takes, and gesture with my left arm up the hill toward the middle of the park, so that the three of us can sit for a while and get acquainted with each other.
* * * * *
I should really have dreams like that every night. It was so beautiful and strange; just the way I like ’em to be. I should also be that effortlessly confident and easy-going in real life. Who knows. . .maybe I already am.