dream sequence – part 62

tesla_console

I own a 2008 Toyota RAV4 that is decidedly old-school compared to my wife’s 2015 Jeep Renegade. When one of my tires is low on air, an amber light turns on next to the speedometer. It’s up to me to figure out which tire has the problem and to address it — or, as I more commonly do — ignore it until I’m tired of looking at the light.

The Renegade has a relatively sophisticated console that allows the driver to navigate between multiple screens, one of which shows air pressure for each individual tire. It sure beats trying to use a manual oil pressure gauge on a cold winter day, but I can’t help thinking that it might be more useful to keep my eyes on the road.

In my dream, a co-worker heard my grumbles of indignation and revealed the solution to my dilemma: a smart phone app that somehow measures the air pressure of a tire when held next to it. Never mind that this was utterly preposterous — it was a dream! Moving from the impossible to the ridiculous, the app also measured the gas tank level when held next to the gas cap. Not recommended while actually driving, when one can simply read the gas gauge.

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nowhere to go

arroyo_20170123

I blog a lot about my dreams. I don’t do this to gain insight into my subconscious — as if it were trying to send me important messages from some Central Command — but rather as an opportunity to explore writing in prose. As dreams are often fragments, it’s difficult to find some sort of narrative to follow. If there’s a thread that binds the fragments together, I can remember them long enough to capture it all in writing. Hence my many “dream sequence” posts.

I remember dreams in bursts that last a few days, and then I can go for days or weeks without remembering so much as a fleeting image or sentence fragment. I’m in a bit of a dry spell these days, sleeping like a rock but without a dream to show for it. I attribute the change to an adjustment to work life after a glorious 8 days of vacation. Relaxation can wreak havoc with one’s natural tendency toward stress, one of my favorite dream triggers. Eliminate the stress — even for a little while — and the subconscious runs out of raw material.

So I’m daydreaming instead, staring at a tidal pool long enough to see an oasis.

silent snow
secret snow —
when dreams elude me

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dream sequence – part 61

Birth of Venus (detail)

It was good to see her back in the office again. She had been nominated to a cabinet-level position in the new government, only to have her candidacy derailed by a scandal.

The scandal was literally old news: a grainy photo of a much younger woman, posing provocatively on a hotel bed with her top off. The big hair, big glasses and makeup screamed “eighties”, but there she was, trending all over the internet of 2017.

The president initially refused to let her withdraw from consideration, but once she made up her mind, she boarded a one-way flight back to Boston.

“I’m glad you’re back”, I said. “I know it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for you.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said curtly. I walked away, embarrassed.

About an hour later, she came back to apologize. “I didn’t mean to be so bitchy. It has been a roller coaster ride, to put it mildly, but I’m also glad to be back.”

I thanked her, but also told her that she really didn’t need to apologize.

“To be perfectly honest,” she added, “I’m relieved.”

“Me too,” I said. She smiled, lingered for a moment, and then walked away.

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dream sequence – part 60

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We were checking out a property in Seaside Park, a sprawling ranch house that seemed a bit dated. I joked that it reminded me of what Graceland might look like if it was located on Cape Cod instead of Memphis. The realtor winced. She didn’t come in with us, explaining that the owner of the house would be present and that there were some “weird circumstances” that prevented her from being involved. She didn’t elaborate.

The owner was on the phone but urged us to have a look around. The inside was just as dated as the exterior, and it became clear from the ubiquitous memorabilia and shoddy decadence that this had been the home of a musician. It was then that I realized that the man on the telephone was Ike Turner.

The house, apart from needing a lot of work, was also out of our price range. We prepared to exit with the owner still on the phone, but I decided to try to at least shake hands with Mr. Turner and to thank him for letting us take a look at his house.

He interrupted his phone call to give me a brief, one-armed hug, and stated plainly, “it’s not your fault.”

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dream sequence – part 59

dread_silhouette_20170103

He was sitting up in a metal trough filled with water in the middle of his driveway, and he was fast asleep. Truth be told, we thought he was dead — his head was tilted back at an unnatural angle, and his mouth was wide open. We ran up to him from the sidewalk and put our faces very close to his to confirm that he was still breathing. He woke up with a startle and two strangers inches from his face.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

“We’re fans. We were hoping to talk to you.”

“What about?”

“About where to find vital reggae here in Boston.”

Vital reggae, eh?” he replied, softly mocking.

“We’ve heard that you’ve scoured the Caribbean for the real thing, not just Jamaica but Bequia, Nevis, Dominica…”

 

He didn’t seem impressed.

“Who do you think of as the real thing?”

My wife and I looked at each other.

“We both love Hopeton Lewis and Dennis Brown. I’m partial to dub, especially Augustus Pablo and King Tubby.”

“Dennis Brown had… the purest voice. But you know he’s not here in Boston. None of them are. They’re all dead.”

A black limo pulled into the driveway and screeched to an abrupt halt. A burly man in a tuxedo and dark sunglasses burst out and reached inside of his jacket.

“They’re okay,” said the man in the trough. “They’re about to leave, but before they do, you’re going to take them to JJ’s.”

“JJ’s,” the bodyguard repeated. “Shall I get you a towel, sir?”

The man nodded, and his bodyguard went into the house. “You didn’t tell me your names, but I don’t want to know them. And you should never surprise someone taking a bath.”

Both of us apologized profusely, but our visit was clearly over. The man stepped out of his makeshift bathtub and dried off, while the bodyguard opened up the left and right rear doors of the limo.

“To JJ’s,” he said.

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right to fly

icarus

In my dream, Chatham, Massachusetts had a secret: in specific parts of the town, under ideal conditions, a person could find an upward draft of wind and briefly become airborne. The people of Chatham could fly.

It was not my first dream about flying. More typically, however, it would be a matter of some magical quirk — a fantasy by any other name. Douglas Adams described human flight as “the ability to throw oneself at the ground and miss.” My dream tried to lend an air of science to the phenomenon. Throughout the year, wind currents at the “elbow” of Cape Cod made for spectacular waves as well as dangerous storms. In Chatham Heights (which may or may not be a fabrication of my subconscious), it sometimes resulted in peculiar updrafts — some lasting for several seconds.

Among the residents of Chatham Heights, this anomaly of science was a closely-guarded secret. Neighbors refused to talk about it, even with one another. Occasionally children could be seen gliding through the air in their front yards — before being rushed inside by indignant parents.

Somehow the word got out. When our realtor took us to an Open House in the neighborhood, I couldn’t resist putting the secret to the test. It took patience to wait for the proper combination of wind strength and direction. Rather than leaping into the wind, one remained in position to ride it when it passed by, much like when surfing. Finally it happened — I was airborne for a few seconds, high-fiving my children and some curious neighborhood children. It didn’t take long for the spectacle to attract the attention of local adults, one of whom promptly called the police. Open House was over.

A few weeks later, I learned that Chatham residents passed legislation to make such “wind tourism” illegal — beyond the obvious issue of trespassing. The name of the law took a cue from similar ones that attempted to put a positive spin on what was clearly an act of restriction: the “Defense of Marriage Act,” for example, attempts to prohibit marriage equality on moral grounds, while “Right to Work” laws try to curtail union organizing. Chatham Heights outlawed the human flight of anyone who wasn’t a legal resident, calling it the “Right to Fly”.

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dream sequence – part 58

coax_20161226

I’ve spent the past few weeks debating whether or not I can “cut the cord”, that is, eliminate my cable subscription in favor of streaming the programs Mary and I like to watch via the internet. There’s plenty of information about how to do it, and I’ve had a number of friends offer advice and share their experiences, almost universally positive. Nevertheless I’ve yet to pull the proverbial trigger.

All of which leads to last night’s dream, in which I’ve made the fateful decision and am trying to figure out how to use the new remote to navigate through a brand-new layer of menus and settings. As often happens with Social Media, I’m frequently distracted, discovering channels I’ve never heard of before reluctantly extracting myself from the rat hole and focusing myself on a task that is part frustration and part wide-eyed wonder.

I come upon a channel featuring live webcams in various places, and naturally I let myself get distracted visiting exotic locales at the press of a button. One less exotic location is my workplace. There are several webcams set up throughout the building, not for security as much as to capture the bustle of an edgy, high-tech company. One of them overlooks my desk, where I am sitting in front of a pair of monitors, typing away at this blog.

 

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