1988 Dream

I kept encountering an error message. Sometimes it was written on a printout: [Error 1988: Michael does not exist]. I saw it in emails and text messages. Sometimes it was also spoken in the same voice my Roomba makes an announcement: “Error 1988: Michael does not exist.” As this happened, I was hurrying down hallways, looking over my shoulder, and pushing on doors, trying to find one that opens, hunting for an exit.

But, in one sense, it was understandable. On vacation, a person who needs isolation and solitude, who enjoys writing as their escape and therapy, who is forced to spend almost eighty percent of their time with other people, will end up dreaming about escape.


The question is, why those numbers?

The Blackberry Dream

Blackberries. Love to eat them. They add sweet juiciness to everything. But they’re invasive. Will take over. And highly flammable. These traits make them threats to urban areas.

We soldier against a blackberry plant. Never with pesticides. Cut it back. Dig it up. Last night, they returned, in my dreams.

I was outside our house. The dream house wasn’t like our real house. The dream house had walls with garden beds all around the house, up against the foundation. I liked the arrangement and was walking through, admiring it, when I discovered blackberry bushes growing in it. Wasn’t the ordinary blackberry growth, though, no. These blackberry branches were several inches thick. They were pushing out the cut end and had not leaves, stems, branches, or berries. They had large thorns, though.

I was appalled by what I saw and headed back inside to talk with my wife and make plans. To return inside the house required me to pass through a cafeteria-style cafe. Make sense? No, but this is dream land. A young woman with her infant was sitting down at a table with three friend. She was complaining about the blackberry bushes’ sudden appearance at her house. I stopped to commiserate and flirt. Yes, I flirted with blackberry bush invasions as my baseline, trying to launch off that to impress her with my charm, knowledge, and wit. Such a dream flirt, I am. It fell completely flat.

I hurried on to my wife. When I arrived in our home, she greeted me with her discovery of the blackberry bushes. Demands of how did this happen and what are we going to do followed. I explained that I’d just learned of it. She cut me off to tell me about the unusual growth. Yeah, I know, I basically responded.

Meanwhile, two young nephews were eating at the table. They had blackberry bushes and were joking about the growths and laughing. I tried explaining our concerns about them but they paid no attention.

Dream end.

Dream and Dream Again

First dream was one of those short, sharp ones my mind has been recently providing.

My wife and I have a home. Two stories. Not a house but part of a building. The outer walls are open to the other places. We’re making improvements. I’m pleased with the progress. As I go about, though, I discover that a neighbor has installed a central vac system. There’s an open outlet on a kitchen wall that sucks in air whenever they turn their system on. Well, that’s not acceptable. Who wants a hole making news and sucking air out of your place? I was in a good mood though. Heard the neighbors and went over and informed them of the error.

Off I went again. That was all upstairs. I went downstairs. Confusion reigned of the Abbott & Costello ‘Who’s On First’ variety. Used to be that there was a room opposite the stairs when you went down. Thought it was the kitchen. But I just left the kitchen. Are there two flights of stairs? Did we used to have two flights of stairs or is this new? Do we have two kitchens. I darted about looking for answers that didn’t come before the brief dream ended.

Second dream was long, involved, and anxiety driven. Mild understatement.

Wife and I were vacationing. Our last day. We somehow get separated. Where is she? I’m looking everywhere. Panic is rising like a thermometer on a hot day. I can’t find her and we need to check out and catch our flight. With time passing, worse fears that something has happened to her is growing.

I hurry past buses disgorging tourists. Among them is Jennifer Aniston as Rachel from “Friends”. She’s in a dress with messages attached to her with safety pins. Don’t know what that’s about. Deciding it’s not related to me, I go on.

Stopping to tie my shoe, I set my glasses down. A young boy with his father pulls his suitcase into me and then picks up my glasses. The father picks up his son and apologizes to me. I accept those apologies but where are my glasses? I need those, thanks. The child doesn’t have them. I discover them sticking out of the father’s shirt pocket. “My son must have put them there,” the father exclaims, proud, amused, appalled, apologetic. No problem. I take my glasses and hasten on. I must find my wife.

Anxiety growing, so does confusion and bewilderment. Where is our hotel? What room is it? What day is it? I can’t remember these things. I can’t remember our airline or flight numbers, or what time we need to be there. I can’t find the tickets or room key. Can’t recall how to work the electronic device in my hand. Seems to be a phone but it looks weird to me. Can’t recall what email account I used. And can’t find my wife.

Somehow, I acquire all our bags. I’m carrying something in each hand, on each shoulder, and on my back. Then, there’s my wife. She’s been shopping. I’m outraged. “I’ve been looking for you. We need to go.” She’s vague, disconnected. She’s been right here. She doesn’t understand the problem.

Never mind, we need to go. I find our rental car. We’re in it and driving with other traffic but there are no lane markers or directions. The road is slick and smooth. There’s no traction. The car is sliding all over. I discern that there are some markers but it’s all faded away. Never mind, we’ll follow other cars.

We reach a parking garage and stop. It’s inside a building lined with stores. I’m thinking, now they’re putting stores in parking garages, too. I remember my email account and suddenly understand how to use the phone to retrieve my email but, oh, no, we forgot to check out of the hotel.

Dream ends.

A Multi-layered Dream

I began, with many other people, in a domed city. I was on the circular city’s perimeter. Spaced every six feet were covered holes. The covers were hard plastic. Opening one, I discovered water within them. My curiosity was satisfied.

We were aware that storms were going on beyond our city. It didn’t overly concern us. To the north, pieces of a golden city appeared just outside of our domed city. I, like others, stopped to marvel at it. Who built it? How was it built so quickly? Exquisite looking, with multiple levels, it already towered over our domed city. But more was being added. How was that possible?

I went with a handful of others to see more. When I reached our domed city’s northern exits, I could see that the city beyond was a holograph. There was no city, and it was pouring rain. I was baffled; why would anyone create an illusion like that? I wondered about motives and angles.

It dawned on me that we were being distracted from a danger to our domed city. Hurrying back, I returned to roughly where I’d been and pried one white lid from a hole. The water was higher, and churning. I realized, the water is rising. Our city was in danger of being flooded.

I needed to warn others. I started pointing out the holes to others. Directing them to take off the lids, I showed them how the water, now foaming with a faint yellowish tinge, was rising higher and higher. Meanwhile, a young man approached me with a U.S. military-style flight cap. He had a pen and wanted to write on it. I was baffled; why couldn’t he write on it? What did he want written? It was a joke, he explained. He wanted someone to write, ‘I went to command school and all I got was this hat.’

Not much of a joke to me. The hat had two stars on it, signifying it belonged to a major general. Instead of being silver, the stars were gold, however. That puzzled me; silver stars are always used on American insignia. I looked for a name inside the hat: Redmond. I recalled dealing with a Redmond. He’d been buying Dionne Warwick and Friends concert tickets.

The general himself appeared, a short and amiable guy with neat and wavy black hair. I encountered a handful of major generals in my Air Force career. This guy was more affable than any of them. I told him that I had his hat and exposed what the other wanted to do with it. The general thought that was a great joke. I talked about his Dionne Warwick tickets. He remembered wanting to go to the show but didn’t remember buying the tickets nor going. I recounted helping him look for the tickets, having the tickets delivered, and then a conversation with him about going to the concert. He vaguely remembered these things, he answered with a broad grin.

Meanwhile, water was almost boiling out of two of the holes and had become more yellow. I thought the yellowing was a serious sign of something being breached, based on a conversation I’d had with an engineer earlier. We needed to do something. Evacuate the city? Find some way to relieve the flooding? I asked the general for help. He shrugged, replying, “I can’t do anything.” I told him, “Yes, you can, you’re a general, you were a commanding officer. You know how to direct people and coordinate people.”

He said, “But I don’t know what to do.”

I replied, “I’ll tell you what to do then.”

The dream ended.

Another Writing Dream

This one was long, complex, and layered. After thinking about all of it (an exercise in itself), just sharing a few segments.

I was at a writing retreat on an island. At one point, I was in a room with other writers. We all stopped to take a break. Many were out on the balcony in sunshine, watching fog roll in. Thinking about joining them, I went to the refrigerator to get a beer. The frig was fully stocked but I decided to pass and went back to writing.

Later, I took a break from writing, left my room, and went running around the island. It wasn’t a big item and writers were everywhere. I realized that’s how I’d been spending my time, writing, with breaks to run/get exercise and sunshine, and I was enjoying it.

I decided it was time to leave the island. I was almost done with my work in progress and decided I’d finish it elsewhere. After making initial arrangements for my flight out, I followed up at the front desk. An old but big white man, who was the owner, worked the desk. He asked me if I wanted food for my trip out. He spoke in a low, garbled voice. I was constantly asking him to repeat himself, leaning forward to hear him. He shoved a piece of paper at me and a new yellow pencil. “Fill this out!”

Looking at the paper, I answered, “Fill what out? There’s nothing there.” After pulling back the piece of paper, he realized that a form that was supposed to be attached was missing, found one, passed it to me, and then turned to helping others.

I couldn’t complete the form because the pencil wasn’t sharpened. New, it’d never been sharpened. Instead of trying to get the old man’s help, I found a used pencil. As I filled out the form, I discovered the food I was ordering would cost $1500, an amount I found shocking. I asked the old man, “How long is this flight going to take?” He didn’t answer. I decide in the dream that it takes a lot to leave writer’s island.

Paperwork done, I walked out of the office and down an outside walk. A young female writer, white, short dark hair, short in stature, came up and put her arm around my waist. I reciprocated with an arm around her shoulder. She and I walked like this, with her telling me how much she liked my writing and admired me.

There’s a period of driving around. I’m a passenger. The young female writer is the driver. She keeps going the wrong way down streets, concerning me. It’s only after the dream that I wonder how there’s so many cars and roads there when the retreat was originally a small island.

I realize I’m carrying half a book. A classic, it’s literally torn in half, with the final half missing. Someone asks about it. I explain that it was a gift from a friend, a joke. He told me that whenever he asks me how I’m doing, I always answer that I’m about half finished. He thought it was finished to give me half of a published book.

Later, I’m worried. I don’t remember packing my clothes, computer, etc. I’ve already checked out but we’re back by the office. I stop by and ask the old man if I can check my room to see if I left anything behind. He gives me the keys and says, “Help yourself.” I go to the wrong room. Realizing that my room number was six, I find and enter it. It’s still the wrong room. I remember that my room was up two flights.

I go up to the right room. My baggage is there. Everything is packed. As I’m walking around, looking, just to be certain, another writer enters. We chat while I’m searching the room. I find a large cache of papers behind the desk. They appear to have fallen there. Drawing them out, I realize they’re old and handwritten, and they’re not mine. As I comment on that, the other writer starts crumpling them up and throwing them away. I ask him why he’s doing that, and then follow up, “Don’t you want to read other writers to see what they’re doing?” He stops trashing the papers and begins trying to uncrumple everything, which makes me laugh.

I decide to shower and change clothes, but I leave the room door open. After leaving the shower, while I’m toweling off, I discover a young doe in the room. It’s missing the top half of its head. It’s bloodless but like its head has been sawn off above its eyes and its brain scooped out. Friends enter to tell me good-bye. I wrap a towel around my waist. I’m about to warn them about the deer when one friend mentions it, making a joke. I’m surprised; the deer is completely whole and fine. I wondered why I thought it was missing part of its head, and then decide I’m always looking for the worse, even when it’s not there.

That’s where the dream ended. As mentioned in the beginning, it was complex, and offered a lot to unpack.

Monday’s Theme Music

I was out helping my wife with the Food and Friends Project. She’s the official volunteer. Once a week, the takes her place in the rotation to deliver meals to shut-in seniors. The list has become reduced to one page, just eight clients for her route, since the pandemic has set in. We know a few passed away to non-COVID-19-related issues. We wonder about the rest. I’m just the driver, helping her so it goes quicker for her, and it gets me out of the house, doing something else.

While out, I saw so many people walking alone. Of course, I generally walk alone; I plan to walk today. It’s sunny, temperatures in the high thirties, but dry (and that damn wind has stopped for a day). Perfect to do two to three miles of hills.

Among those walking alone were people who seemed like me. Out on errands or walking for the satisfaction of it. Some, though, you question their circumstances. Anyway, it prompted me to begin thinking about all of that, about who we are, who (and what) we were, and who/what we become. So much is beyond our control as circumstances and/or tragedy strikes and/or our bodies and minds betray us. Who we become often becomes dependent on who we have around us.

All these thoughts snaked around to a 2005 Audioslave song, “Be Yourself”. The song is about trying to find salvation (is it inside you or elsewhere) and also what you hide and what you reveal, and what you are inside.

Someone tries to hide himself, down inside himself he prays
Someone swears his true love until the end of time, another runs away
Separate or united, healthy or insane

h/t to Genius.com

2020 is closing up shop. Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. 2021 is about to begin. Bring it on.

More Stormy Dreams

A series of powerful, uplifting dreams rolled through me last night.

Each one presented an unusual or alarming situation, and all had to do with weather phenomena. I often dream about weather. It’s like a standard element in my dreams. I suspect that’s true for many people.

In the first dream, I was striving to go up a sparsely vegetated steep mountainside. I felt it imperative that I reach the top. Strong winds were slamming me back. Not only did it seem like the winds were slowing me down, but seeing a precipice not far away, I thought, “I’m going to blow off this mountain.” Trying to hang onto something, anything, damn it, everything kept falling away. First a walking stick snapped in half. Shoved back past trees, I lunged for branches. I missed at first, then caught some, which promptly broke. Though I windmilled my arms to grab another branch, the wind took me from the trees.

Dropping to the ground — whether I fell or did this deliberately wasn’t clear — I saw a handle in the earth. Seizing it, I thought, why is there a handle here, and then gathered, its a tree root.

All this is in sharp relief because, bang, I awoke to the sound of the wind beating our bedroom blinds. Which, I thought, with a chortle, closing the window, was probably what prompted that dream. It’s also somewhat of a recurring dream, this against the wind on a mountainside motif.

Back asleep in seconds (so it felt), I found myself alone in a pouring rain. Was it day or night? So deep and thick was the rain, I couldn’t tell. The crashing precipitation veiled the world in heavy gray wool but also battered my face as I tried to see, forcing me to protect it with my hands. Yet, I also needed my hands to hold on.

With that realization, I saw that I was ankle deep in cold water. I needed to get somewhere higher, but looked for escape and couldn’t see any. I thought I saw something yellow but it came and went too fast for me to confirm it. Deciding there must’ve been something, I forced myself that way.

The water was over my knees and its current was increasing. Fighting the current was sapping my strength. I couldn’t see and needed my hands to hold onto something that I’d found — couldn’t tell what, and it was wet and slippery — but then let go to try to wipe rain off my face.

I fell backwards into the water. The current immediately victimized me. My head went under. I gulped water and struggled for air while fighting to stop myself and get the fuck up as the water carried me along like a leaf.

My back came up against something hard in the flood waters. I didn’t know or care what it was but used it to leverage myself up. Right then, I turned my head to get my face out of the rain, and saw a yellow light. Rectangular, it was a door or window, and very clear and yellow against the gloom. I headed for it…

And was again awakened. I don’t know what woke me — cat, wind, my mending arm in pain from being in a contorted position, or general discomfort. The dream haunted me while my mind chased connections between the first dream and the second. Similarities were easily seen. I meditated on them as a cat found me, purring in the dark as I drifted off again.

I wasn’t alone in this dream, but with friends and family. Clear and balmy, the weather didn’t seem to be a factor. I’m not sure if we were on a picnic or at a celebration or what the deal was. Everyone was chatting and laughing, and a gay mood generally prevailed. Food on platters and in bowls crowded tables.

Yet, I found myself growing wary, and while that happened, I distanced myself from the rest in search of what was disturbing me. I hunted clues for it like one of those games presented in a ‘spot the difference’ diversion in a newspaper or magazine. I felt suspicious, like I was leery of something sneaking up on me, which seemed unreasonable. The weather seemed clear and everyone seemed happy. Why shouldn’t I be relaxed and happy?

I awoke and guessed the time: yep, seven twenty-five. My cats have trained my bladder to awaken and pee then. They (the cats, not the bladder) clamored for food and attention but I wasn’t yielding to their demands. I didn’t feel rested; I wanted more sleep. Yet, oddly, reflecting on these three dreams as I lay in bed, I felt fortified, like I’d endured something and came out stronger. And my mood, when I finally acquiesced to the inevitable and got out of bed twenty minutes later, seemed upbeat.

All these dreams are part of my regular dreamscape, presenting some variation of theme. This time, I thought they were like a weather storm system, moving through and clearing my subconscious as fronts will do in a region. It feels like that, because the day seems hopeful with promise.

Or just maybe, that’s the coffee.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: