The Shoeless Dream

I call it the Shoeless Dream, but it was an involved and multi-layered excursion featuring music, family, red ants, and strangers, besides the shoes.

I know exactly the shoes involved, too. They’re still in my closet, and I wear them once in a while. They’re a pair of coffee brown suede Oxfords.

Thinking about how long I’ve had them, I realize that it’s now twenty years. That amazes me. I can put them where I had them because I remember wearing them at work when I lived in Mountain View, California, and worked in Palo Alto, California. That employment ended in 2000, and I moved from Mountain View to Half Moon Bay in 1998.

I lose the shoes during the dream. The dream is taking place at a sort of muddy, outdoor fair and picnic that reeks of a dystopian movie set. The shoes are important to me because I don’t have much. Despite that, I take them off as I walk around. Then, I set them down to to something, forget about them, and walk off. A little later, after going through the fair – about ten ramshackle booths made of plywood, painted with white primer (sometimes) and sometimes decorated with a few Christmas lights, I realize that I’ve forgotten the shoes. I make my way back to them without problem. Finding and picking them up, I go on.

During this dream sequence, there’s a lot happening in my dream. I’m walking around a property that I own, doing a survey. I’m passing by many others who greet me. I’m busy and don’t have time to talk. I recognize aunts in the crowd. As I walk around, I have one shoe on, and carry the other one.

Once again, I put the shoe down and walk off without it. This time, a long period passes. I visit with my sisters, and talk with them about music, ending up singing Collective Soul’s song, “The World I Know” with my youngest sister, and then with my oldest sister.

Further walking around, I head for where I’d earlier noticed vomit. Passing it by before, I’ve decided that I need to go back and clean it up. I remember it was by the patio and go there, but when I get there, the vomit is gone. Instead, there’s a huge line of fire ants. Others are leaving the picnic/fair, so I warn them around the ants. Then I discover ant hills, and other lines of ants. The ground beneath is hard, dry and cracked. I remember that it had been muddy, so I’m puzzled.

Thinking about the mud of before reminds me that I’d lost my other shoe. Retreating my steps, I return to a muddy place, where the picnic/fair still goes on, but now under strings of bare yellow lights. I walk around. People talk to me. I know some of them but some are strangers. I don’t remember anything that’s discussed, except that I tell people that I’m missing my shoe, show them the one on my foot, and ask if they’ve seen the other one. Eventually, I find my shoe.

One thing that struck me as I remembered and posted this (very annotated) version of the dream. I was carrying the shoe and worrying about them because that’s all I had, yet, I was on my property, and inspected it. I thought the shoes were important, but I missed things going on while obsessing about them, and the world changed around me as I went back and forth with the shoes.

In a way, I think the shoes represent my connection to the past. I’m carrying them into the future, but it’s changing around me, and I think I’m warning myself, don’t get stuck in the mud of the past because the world I know has changed.

* All typing errors in this post belong to my cat, Quinn, who insisted that he help me type by getting on my lap and head-butting my hands, arms, and chin while purring, and sometimes trying to nibble on my ear. It can be very distracting.

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