Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Dream Recounted

Other people’s dreams are never interesting.   The dream-teller will try to draw you in by adding (manufacturing) details about how you were in it a la “and then you were there wearing a polka dot dress with Birkenstocks and slouchy socks which is totally not your style.”  But you’re not falling for it and you turn around in the middle of their sentence and go to the break room for some coffee.   Please. Make it stop.

So I try really hard not to be that girl, the dream-teller, the annoying one.  It’s really the worst kind of solipsism, a dream.  Such personal, specific significance.  It’s a story your brain is telling itself.  No one else really needs to hear it.  

Having said that,  last night I had a dream that was so vivid and so interesting (and funny) and I actually remembered it (which never happens) so I’m writing about it and you can read it or not, that is totally up to you.  I dreamed that I was at a party and someone got shot.  No one was paying much attention, so I got on the phone with 911 trying to get direct them to the house, but I didn’t know the address.   My loser alcoholic bike messenger boyfriend (I know, I know, #NotAllBikeMessengers) had brought me.  He was always dragging me to parties where I didn’t know anyone and I never knew where we were.  I sometimes think he did it on purpose because he knew I couldn’t leave without him if I didn’t know where I was (this was a long time ago, when I was even more timid and paralyzed by indecision than I am now).  Other times I think that he wouldn’t have been capable of those kind of mind games, which let’s face it, are pretty sophisticated.  In any event, I never had much fun at parties.  I was always hopelessly too straight and uncool, and I never knew anyone anyway.   I was always overjoyed if the hosts had a pet, because that way at least I would have someone to hang out with.

Anyway.  I knew we were in The City and it was one of those weird places where the address is different depending on what side of the house you’re on.  I kept walking around with the cordless landline phone with the dispatcher murmuring encouragingly in my ear (you can do it, hon, just tell me what you see), looking around at street numbers placed strategically throughout the house, one number printed in gold on column in a corner in the hall, another on a wood placard by the door.  None of it made any sense, and I could feel that anxiety welling up from the pit of my stomach, you know the one, the “I’m gonna be in so much trouble for this thing I didn’t do that I’m going to be blamed for anyway” feeling.

The dispatcher keeps intoning “what’s the cross street what’s the cross street what’s the cross street” and I keep whispering “I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.”  Finally she says, “Well, ask someone who’s with you” and I say “They’re all too fucked up.”  And then I gasp with alarm because I realize that I must have blown someone’s cover somehow and that as soon as the authorities figure out where we are, we are all busted.  

Seeing that I am going to be useless in establishing a location, the dispatcher tries to figure out an alternate plan.  She says, “Well, I think I know where you are and they’re never going to get the emergency vehicle in there because the streets are too windy and narrow (and I think "hold up seriously this is San Fra-fucking-cisco") so go out back and describe what that’s like maybe they can get in through there.”  So I pull back the curtains and slide open the glass door to reveal a sandy beach with the ocean about 20 yards away.   And I say into the phone, “Plenty of room, Janet, but they’re gonna need a catamaran” and I thought that was about the funniest thing ever and you could hear her chuckling as well and then in horror I remembered why I was even on the phone with her in the first place.  I was failing my mission of getting someone the fuck to the house to attend to this dying person who was almost certainly already a dead person because I was wandering around looking at indoor house numbers and making weak jokes with a benign and indulgent civil servant.  

And I’m suddenly seized with this paroxysm of grief, like it suddenly hits me, this dude got shot and it’s my fault that no one is here helping him. I mean at least I should be doing CPR or something.  The dispatcher asks me what’s wrong and I tell her “My friend just got shot” and she said “I thought you didn’t even know him.”  And I said “To be quite honest, everything is my fault ultimately and this dream is just another manifestation of my horrible self-loathing and my compulsion to take care of everything all the time because no one else around me is capable.”  And the dispatcher said, “Honey, I know just what you mean.”  

It was the clearest damn dream.  And the message it carried was resonating on every level.  And the fact that I was explaining my interpretation to someone IN THE DREAM was so damn cool that I woke up and jumped out of bed and started writing it all down.  

And you were in it, you know. Wearing a polka-dot dress with Birkenstocks and slouchy socks which is totally not your usual style.