Last night’s third dream was different from the first two. (There was another dream, a fourth. I don’t know where it fit in the sequence but I don’t remember enough to even reconstruct a skeleton of thought about it, so you’re spared.)
It was a peculiar night for dreams. First, the brief, exciting, and inspiring eagle dream. It was just cool.
Second came the overlooked dream, which was depressing.
Next came the slum village dream, the hoop-de-doop.
The dream began with me in an American slum in a southern city. The city’s name wasn’t provided but I knew from the southern accents…you know?
I was a writer. Why I’d come to that city, I don’t know. I feel from how I thought in the dream and what was said that I’d chosen to come to the city and that part to shed some skin and re-invigorate myself. I’d settled in and was getting to know a small nucleus of locals focused around a few bars, stores, restaurants, and coffee shops that I regularly frequented.
It was a colorful place, lively with frequent displays of dark humor. Mark it, though, this was an economically depressed area. Many people were drunk or on drugs. Homeless people proliferated, thriving in their own street culture. Small businesses hung on while people hustled, trying to get the cash for car repairs, meals, clothing, etc.
A billionaire philanthropist arrived. He looked like an average white guy, slightly balding but slender, maybe in his late fifties, dressed in faded jeans, a loose, short-sleeved shirt, and loafers. Walking around, he took his time to visit places and people. Strangers were infrequent so all of us flocked toward him, although the flocking was done with wariness. I approached him closer and more quickly. He and I started chatting. I learned who he was and that his mission was to inject money into the area with an broader plan to help people repair and improve their businesses and homes, or to pursue education and dreams.
It sounded magnanimous, and I was impressed, but dubious, waiting to hear what his angle was, and what he was going to gain from his efforts. He didn’t answer that directly, and then made the surprise announcement that I was going to run the project for him.
I’d just met him, so I was taken aback. He hadn’t even mentioned it until making that announcement like it was a done deal. That was one, and two, I was writing, and didn’t want to divert time and energy for his project. He told me that I could continue writing at night, that my work would only be needed during the day. He wanted me for the job because he was impressed by how quickly I’d fit in and developed rapport with people.
I was convinced and started immediately. I began by walking around, interviewing people. That’s where hoop-de-doop comes in. Whenever I approached people about what they wanted or needed, they frequently dismissed my questions by throwing an arm up and saying, “Hoop-de-doop,” followed by something else. For example, one man said, “Hoop-de-doop, I’m supposed to just drop everything and trust this rich white man who just arrived one day and said he’s going to help me?”
I gathered through my interviews that many were distrustful and suspicious. Most were angry, not at the white billionaire, per se, but at the impression that they needed or wanted help. I saw that few of them had hope for improvement. They’d been offered help before. Rising to try, they’d had the funding and structure collapse on them, leaving them bitter and hurt. They didn’t want to experience those emotions again.
Realizing this, I pursued paths to rekindle their hopes. I needed one example, one person among them to be an example, someone to create a plan to pursue their dream with the billionaire’s financing. To find that person, I began walking through the area, speaking with people and looking for the one.
The dream ended.
Floofmart (floofinition) – A large chain of stores devoted to pet care where the shoppers are generally housepets. Humans are permitted in as necessary to do business, by invitation only.
In use: “Her big pittie, Herc, kept urging her on, pulling on her leash and looking back as if to say, “Can’t you follow a lead?” She didn’t know what corner she’d turned but suddenly looked up and saw a glowing red sign, Floofmart. Herc rushed ahead to the glass doors. They slid open for him. She had no choice but to follow.”
Driving on Highway 101 on the Oregon coast, looking for a place to eat, I began humming the Jackson Browne song, “Running on Empty” (1978). We ended up returning to Yachats where we discovered that most of the restaurants were closed. Eventually, a sea food place was found. The place was packed because there were so few choices.
Meanwhile, my stream picked up the song and it was going full on in my head.
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels —
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields.
In ’65 I was 17 and running up
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on …
Well, in ’65, I was just nine, but that doesn’t work well in that song…that’s not really germane, is it? More to the point, I’m just running on.
From the eagle dream, I later went into another dream. Once again, I was in the military.
There were about ten of us in a room. A mission was being planned. The rest were aircrew members. I was command and control. For some reason, I was being added to the flight. I didn’t understand my purpose. I don’t think the aircrew members knew, either.
Two aircrews were there. One was primary, and the other was a backup. The backup guys came around and gave the primary aircrew members Pabst Blue Ribbon beers in cans, one each, slipping it to them, like they were being sly. I wasn’t given on. I was completely ignored.
I sat, waiting to be included, or at least acknowledged. The unit commander came in and addressed the crews. He mentioned me in passing. I still didn’t know my role. The two crews formed up. I followed the primary crew like a hopeful puppy. The dream ended.
I awoke feeling, what the hell?
I was walking up from a vale. The land was becoming steeper but greener, with forests on either side and blue skies above.
A shadow passed over me. Turning, I caught movement on my vision’s edge, and swung around more sharply. I’d seen a shadow. Following its movement, I realized it was a bird with spread wings.
I craned my head back. Wings spread, an enormous eagle was flying overhead. Gasping, I pointed, and then called to my wife, “Look, look, it’s an eagle. It’s huge.”