Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The sky was gorgeous on the way home tonight: a field of flat, broken clouds awash in pink light. "Red at night, sailors' delight," my parents (the sailors) used to say. So I guess we can hope for good weather tomorrow. Still, I'm not taking my umbrella out of my purse. I left it at the apartment over the weekend, so I walked home from the subway at 11:00 last night in a rioting thunderstorm. Note to self: Put taxi numbers on your cell phone.
As for the dreams, I have two to share. If you enjoy dreams and ponderings on the unconscious, you should also check out my friend Brent's blog: Nine Long Nights. I scribbled both of my dreams in my journal shortly after waking up.
Dream 1: There is a hurricane, or perhaps an earthquake. Across the street, the fronts of buildings move like the surface of water, like a wave. I hear no wind, feel no shifting ground. Now a wrecking ball begins demolishing the buildings on my side of the street. It crashes through the side wall of a building just across an alley from me. In the back of the building, people eating in a Chinese restaurant carry on, unconcerned.
At the front of the building, a man steps up to have his picture taken with the destruction. The ball slices through the building, leaves chaos behind. The man is in the path of the next swing. He sidles out of view of the crane operator, smiling at me. I shut my eyes. The ball swings. I keep my eyes closed. Collision.
In the darkness behind my eyelids, I overhear horrified voices discussing the body in pieces, the impossibility of saving a life so shattered. In my mind's eye, I see the scattered body parts, the brains and blood on the ball and chain. I turn away with my eyes still shut and move toward the back of the building to warn the happy restaurant-goers not to leave by the front. I am thinking, I have seen two people die today. (How two? The logic of dreams.) I could have prevented this death, but I said nothing and shut my eyes.
My friend Sue is in the restaurant, which is enormous, like a beer garden, and crowded with people from some kind of mission trip, all in matching t-shirts. I begin warning them, and then the dream dissolves into wakefulness.
Dream 2: I am standing in crystal-clear Australian ocean water with my friend Saedra, carrying a heavy purse. We are surrounded by the white hot clarity of noon. Bubbles skid and swirl around our feet. On the beach nearby, others splash and play. I want to go swimming, but I'm carrying too much stuff. "Wait here," I tell Saedra. "I'll go lock up my purse at the place where I'm house-sitting, and then I'll only have to carry a couple of keys."
Back at the house—a ramshackle warren of interconnecting rooms—I discover a dozen doors, each with its own keys, some with multiple locks. There are keys of all types: door keys, car keys, tiny and huge keys. I mean to lock up and leave, but I keep getting distracted. For one thing, the neighbors seem to have their own sets of keys, and they keep invading the house. They appear out of nowhere, setting up a party in the living room, taking a shower in one of the bathrooms. As I pass through that bathroom on my way to lock one of the doors, the woman showering grabs me through the curtain, enveloping me in plastic. I shriek, but even in the dream some part of my brain analyzes the moment, realizes it's a reversal of Psycho.
I never escape the house and return to the beautiful, hot, sunny beach and the cool crystal water. At the end of the dream, I'm watching TV with the invading neighbors. It's a show where we can call in and rate old music videos. Somehow, a subliminal message of "Vote no, it's awful" has been laid down to the beat of the current song. On screen, Elton John (flabby, tattooed, in a midriff-baring top) and Bono (in silly amber-colored glasses) squat and sing together.
So, dear readers, what do we make of this? I theorize that both dreams refer to my anxiety about living in a crummy Queens apartment two states away from my husband and our home in Philadelphia. The proliferation of keys in the second dream probably reflects on the fact that I have three keys to the apartment, but cannot even latch my bedroom door. I'm both secure and exposed. Lately I've been ogling the other apartment buildings on the way home, thinking, "Look at those fire escapes! I bet THEY have smoke detectors." And in a fair world, I wouldn't be paying the same amount of rent as the other two roommates, who both have rooms twice the size of mine. But perhaps at this point I'm veering from dream interpretation into straightforward whining.
New York does make me nervous, though: the kind of nervous that makes you want to shut your eyes in front of the wrecking ball. Sensory overload: the subway roars and sways, the cars honk, the elevated train rattles its cage. Gum and dog shit on the sidewalk. People speaking in tongues, refusing eye contact. I feel my smile going underground.
Posted by Renée at 7:42 PM