My dreams from Sunday, 2021–02–14
Pill bucket. Escape. Vendetta guy problem, Florida retirement apartments, Major Hoople (Slavic Douglas Roycroft), etc.
First dream. After a vague long time of driving places in old cars (in the back story of the dream I’ve left assorted perfectly functional 1960s-through-1980s cars all over, to come across them at random later and use them again, like old friends), I’m a stick-thin farm boy working for a restaurant family in like Colorado. It’s a breakfast restaurant in the front end of a shoebox-shaped building in a city of mostly abandoned buildings. I ride a bicycle to the restaurant, go in. As usual there will be no customers, but I help to set things up to start the day anyway, because I /owe/ these people. The father of the family saved my life, or something.
I remember to take my levothyroxine pill. Too many pills come out of the pill bottle into my hand. I try to spill just one in my mouth but several go with it. I spit them back into my hand, put them back in the bottle, which has become a metal bucket of pills on the floor, and I’m getting spit-wet ones mixed in with the rest. They’re so expensive; I can’t throw these all away now. Forget it, leave it, do the next thing that needs doing.
Around the side and out back I find a rotten-soft ten-foot two-by-six. Part of the side-back of the building was burned in an arson fire by rivals, so there’s been wood lying around exposed to the weather for years. I go to break up the two-by-six over a low curb wall to put it in the fireplace in the restaurant, but it’s not rotten now; it’s strong and perfect; it won’t break. I’m being watched through the fence or from another building, probably by someone from the rival restaurant.
I should put my bike inside so they don’t steal it. Let them steal the wood.
Next dream. I wake up in a strange bed with Julie, my girlfriend at the end of high school. The bed is in an alcove in a one-floor house that’s all one long wide hallway with alcove-rooms along one side. People start waking up and walking past. An old uncle-like man goes by and says something that reminds me that Julie’s horrible father is home; he’ll get up and come by. I get up and pull my pants on to get out of here. (One time in real life Julie and I fell asleep up in her room and woke up when her father and mother came home in the middle of the night and for some reason it didn’t register for them that my car was there, out next to the shared driveway. Maybe they were drunk; I don’t know. They came in and went straight to bed in their room downstairs from Julie’s. The house was cheaply made and creaky. I slowly, silently as possible, took the screen loose, climbed out the window and down the side of the garden shed/mudroom and away without even perturbing the dog, got in my car and rolled downhill to the next place driveways met before popping the clutch to start it in second gear. The dream situation feels just like that. /Get away./)
Next dream. Another restaurant, another restaurant family, but I’m who I am, at my real age. A bad stupid heavy thug-like forty-something man (like the way I remember thinking of Julie’s father, who used to call her /dummy/ and hit her in the back of the head) has a vendetta against these people; he comes after me with a gun this time because I’ve always managed to thwart him. I see him coming, because I see the layout of the restaurant, the hallway and the rooms off it, from above, so I, simultaneously down in the world, know where and when to hide. He’s inside. He comes down the hallway, passes the room where I’m behind the doorway. I step out, jump up, kick him squarely in the middle of the back, into the room across the hall, magically get his gun.
Now we’re in a front hallway with smudgy fiberglass panels for the parking lot-side wall. He’s on his back and I’m standing at his feet with the gun casually pointed down at him. He’s defiant. The old Italian woman who runs the restaurant is nearby, I know, cutting vegetables and doing other things, listening to make sure I don’t screw this up. Things become vague.
An inspector woman served us with papers about how the restaurant’s water well is contaminated, but I can’t find in the papers what the contamination is, and the inspector is gone. We’re outside in a fenced courtyard: the man in the dirt, I with the gun, the old restaurant woman sitting at a park bench-table making pasta things by hand onto wax paper on rectangular metal trays. I ask the man over and over what he put in the well. He laughs and spits and hates us. Suddenly I know: /It was sugar. He poured a fifty-pound bag of sugar down the well./ Is that really bad? Maybe it grows poison bacteria, or gums up the pump. Maybe it does nothing but cause inspectors to close a restaurant. I’ll look it up on Google: How do you get sugar out of a well. Or how do you trick an inspection so it doesn’t show sugar in a well. There’ll be a video to follow. Meanwhile, what to do with the vendetta guy? The old lady shakes her head, meaning either don’t kill him or that I’m useless for not being born with the knowledge of what to do in this common restaurant employment situation.
Suddenly I’m home at a strange modern minimalist two-or-three-story apartment complex of several buildings that are all white plaster; the ground is fresh black perfect asphalt. No trees or plants or grass. I really have to piss but I’m locked out, in my pyjamas. I stand balanced on the steep thick plaster stair rail up to a third-floor deck and just let loose and piss with it somehow getting all over me, the whole time pointing a garden hose from the deck at myself to wash down my chest and legs. At the same time, I see the hose on the asphalt below twisting and blasting water everwhere and yet nothing is wet. The asphalt is dry. I’m dry. There’s water at the same time as no water: /interesting/.
I climb down outside the rail. Several neighbors from different buildings, assorted retired bohemian types who are familiar in the dream, go up the stairs. They get their mail up there on the deck. I see one envelope greatly magnified; it’s to the gay neighbor (there’s one gay neighbor) from the landlady; it’ll be an ominous trouble letter as all letters from renters always are, but she thinks she’s being a good person by doing it up in a special flowery script calligraphy envelope just for him, to be nice, because he’s gay. He picks it up, blows air out of the corner of his mouth, heads back down the stairs.
I wake up groggy but am still in the dream, in bed in the top-floor apartment behind the mail deck. My mother is young and happy, a Nicole Hollander-cartoon /Sylvia/ character, cooking in the next room (I can see into all the rooms in overhead view here, like the way I could see the restaurant, earlier). A dream-only old Major Hoople-like uncle (Douglas Roycroft more like*) is reading a newspaper on the couch in the front room with one foot up on the coffee table. I get out of bed in my boxer shorts and go to the doorway to the kitchen. My mother says, “Breakfast is ready.” I say, “How am I here? When did I get here?” She says something I don’t hear well, but I see the uncle’s newspaper (from overhead), there’s a story about an event gone catastrophically wrong at a gay theater in Arcata — something about an experimental play that I /almost/ remember (there’s a brass welding rod bent in an L-shape next to a stainless steel sphere that’s on another rod and they — make an electric spark? ring like a bell? fall over and start a fire?) — but I’ve never been to Arcata /that I know of/, or to any specifically gay theater. Did I write the play? or make the electric-spark prop thing for them? I say, “When did I go to Arcata?” My mother won’t answer me, she’s humming to herself, mixing batter in a bowl, happy I’m here, happy to be young, in her thirties or forties, in her power. I say again, “When was I in Arcata?” then, “How did I get here?” and, “Where are my pants?” The old uncle answers me from the front room but in a chortling Slavic-sounding language. My mother’s hummed song suddenly has words: she sings cheerily: “And then they /led/ with a /strike on the teeth/, you got ek-/spelllll/-lud!”
I woke up to sawing and banging in the next apartment. The man who lived there moved out and it sounds like they might be replacing the whole floor this time. Time to get another little bag of barely-useful earplugs from the dollar store. But the song playing in my head, left over from the dream — not my mother’s song but another — was /Throw the Jew Down the Well/, that Sacha Baron Cohen got a bar full of Texans to happily sing along with him in the movie /Borat/. Here, it’s kind of fuzzy but the sound is good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb3IMTJjzfo
*Douglas Roycroft, good-natured lifelong curmudgeon. There’s a picture of him in a very short newspaper obituary I wrote in 2018. Go here and scroll down: https://www.theava.com/archives/83876