Sunday, Jan. 23, and Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 7 and 8, 2022
My dreams from Sunday, 2022–01–23: Crash hand. Project VW.
First dream. I’m in a covered corridor between school buildings. It feels like the school I went to in the second half of fifth grade in Fresno, but I’m who I am, at my real age, and it’s a strange rural area. I’m waiting for something, also hiding from someone, and there’s video playing: a demo of a new kind of personal flying vehicle. It’s like a motorcycle with no wheels, but with a horizontal ten-foot propeller out in front and another in the back. I’ve seen video of a thing like this before, in Russia, that flipped over and crashed the first time they took it up higher than ground-effect, so I’m worried for the driver. He’s about sixty feet up; he pulls the front up to tip the whole machine at a 45-degree angle and still hover in place, with him hanging on like a person riding a horse with its front legs up in the air. It seems unsafe, but nothing bad happens. He tips it back level again. They must have solved the problem.
Now /I’m/ riding the machine at maybe five thousand feet over Midwestern farm and park land. I think about tipping it up to see what that’s like, but before I can do anything the machine shakes and begins to fall. I can control it to stay upright but I’m falling faster and faster, enjoying waiting till the last moment to use my parachute. /Why? Do it now!/ I kick away off the footpegs, remember and relive folding the parachute into the pack. I pull the starter chute out by hand. it catches the air and yanks the main chute out, which opens fully just before I hit the ground in deep wet grass next to a pond for cows.
I’m fine, except — my right-hand index finger is twisted to the left. It doesn’t hurt. I pull it and twist it back the right way, but it won’t stay; it goes left again. And now something else is wrong: there’s a jagged bloodless gash pulled open across the big knuckle so I see the white bone moving as I try to move the finger internally. And that’s not all. The side of the base and ball of my thumb has a hole punched in it that might have been made by a Bic pen; this is also bloodless. I should find a doctor, but it’s getting dark; I need to get ready for my radio show. Maybe if I just go do that, some of this damage will retroactively not have occurred, like when you hurt yourself with a tool, a wrench slips or something, and you wish really hard that it isn’t so bad and it turns out not to be so bad.
I start walking to the horizon light of a town, looking away from my hand and then back to it, then away, and then back. The damage isn’t getting worse anymore but it won’t fix itself. /Just wait longer before looking at it again, and wish harder./ (This is like the marshmallow test. Wait until you can’t stand it, then wait some more.) I look again. My hand is still messed up. Can I still type? I /think/ I can get used to this and type. And it’s a good thing it’s my right hand, so I can still play the guitar, and so on.
I’m cold. The town isn’t getting any closer. Keep going.
Next dream. Santa Monica (Southern California), but in a place that’s like what I think of as the Mexican side (east side) of Santa Rosa (Northern California). Juanita’s mother put her feelers out in the papers for a cheap or free car, and I’m going with her to try out a car that someone just out of the blue gave to her. We walk a long way, and there it is, in the
parking lot of an out-of-business shop. It’s a project car, a 1960s-era VW bug that’s been completely modified like by a motivated genius high school kid. I open the back. It has a kitchen-trash-can-size V-6 or V-8 water-cooled engine tipped downward steeply to the transaxle, which is almost on the ground because the tires’ outside diameter is only about a foot. They’re like wheelbarrow wheels. The people told Juanita’s mom that the car’s been sitting there for months, abandoned, and they brought a good battery to it but it still wouldn’t start so, you know, “You can have it, and good luck to you.”
Everything looks fine, besides how there’s thick black rubbery sludge on every part of the car but the motor and the passenger compartment. The single carburetor, in the middle, on top of the motor, is on a homemade sheet-metal adapter to make it level. I remember when Sandra was dying of cancer in 1992 and she gave me her old Toyota for one dollar, and I couldn’t get it to start, and I saw Carl in town and told him about it. He said, “Here’s whatcha do…” and he told me the secret and it worked great. So I squirt WD-40 down the main jet of the carburetor to fill up the float bowl, and tap on it for awhile with a screwdriver handle to unstick the gummed-dry needle valve…
Close the cover, squinch into the driver’s seat. The roof is a cloth sleeping bag, sagging down so my head holds it up. I unclip the roof and shove it all the way back to drape over the back of the car. Now I can see the tube-frame of the car everywhere; it’s all coated with burned oil sludge that I’m surprised I can’t smell. Even with the top off, the car is very cramped inside. I get out and help Juanita’s mother into the back seat; she fits fine there.
I get back in, push the clutch, put the stick in the middle, turn the key (already in the ignition). The motor starts right up and it’s so smooth. Now to wait to see if it’ll keep running after the WD-40 in the float bowl is used up.
Juanita’s mother is crying. Is she happy or sad? Hmm, I think, sad. Sad crying. /Are you all right?/. She says nothing. /Why are you crying? Did I say something wrong? Did something happen?/ “Please just go. Let’s go.”
The motor’s still running so gas must be getting where it belongs. I pull out onto the street. The street becomes a freeway. I get off the freeway and I’m looking for a gas station. It occurs to me to pull over, turn the phone location on and just ask the phone where a gas station is. But here’s a thrift store built into a war-time giant
Quonsett building, the kind they used to put a rollerskating rink in. We go in there to look around. I love thrift stores. Maybe they’ll have a foot-pump I can use to put some air in the VW’s back-left little tire (which is almost flat; I forgot to tell you that part).
Rocking chairs, sewing machines, old record players, dishes, sports equipment, paperback books… I ask Juanita’s mother what she was crying about before. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Here’s a dish she likes. All the dishes are a nickel.
I woke up with the Monty Python song /Eric the Half-a-bee/ playing in my head:
>La-di-da, fiddle-dee-dee, Erik the Half-a-bee
>A-B-C-D-E-F-G, Erik the Half-a-bee…
>Is this wretched demi-bee, half asleep upon my knee, some freak! from a menagerie?
>No! It’s Eric the Half-a-bee.
Here it is on YouTube:
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My dreams from Monday, 2022–02–07: Teleportation of water. Long flight.
First dream. All the electrical toys and machines I made and used at the Albion Whale School in the 1980s are here in a strange modern two-story house in a slightly de-Disneyfied version of Mendocino. Familiar Whale School kids at the age they’d be in the early 1990s are ushered in by their parents for an entertaining electrical demonstration.
I have a magic trick of a science experiment that looks like it teleports water from one glass over there into another over here, with a third glass of water in the middle instantly freezing solid in the process, because that’s where the energy comes from to do the trick. I start generating in my head more of the story, involving the water first being transported to Mars and then back to the second glass, but things become vague… and now I’m outside on Ukiah Street a little west of the Beacon building. Joseph Huckaby runs past me to where his father has stopped his Ford truck for him to get in. (There’s a ten-gallon medicine-capsule-shaped fuel tank in the middle of the bench seat.)
Next dream. I’m jogging on a a gravel road through scrub oak trees. I’m barefoot, so trying to only step where smooth rock is exposed on the center ridge.
I leave the road and run/float over boulders and dry moss. The shape of a person lounging on a rock has a circle-and-dot eye drawn on a piece of paper in the gray grass, looking up at him.
I turn to the right, downhill, and now I’m really flying, down into wind rushing the other way; I’m standing vertically in the air with my arms out as if crucified. I twist my hands to rise, fall and steer ever downhill through different landscapes, hills and valleys, eventually coming to the mouth of a river. Should I continue out over the ocean? No.
To the right, north, is even farther downhill than the ocean. Here are yellow dry-grass summer California hills with winding roads, and with houses a few hundred yards apart. I land and look in a window. An old woman I don’t know is loudly arguing with her husband, some old guy I don’t know, about money. In the dream these people are obligated to me for some service I did for them in the deep past. The woman sees me and motions that this isn’t a good time, she’ll call me. She’s like, /I know. I’ll pay you. Don’t worry./
Okay. I get in my dream-only car: a faded gold convertible 1962 or ’63 Chevy Impala with the top down. Start it. It sounds good. Back out, careful not to bump a gray-purple mid-1960s Mustang parked across from the driveway. I drive away with my good heavy video tripod leaning over the seat from the back seat, pressing against my shoulder.
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My dreams from Tuesday, 2022–02–08: Usurpers. Power box. Car swing.
First dream. A man owns a whole old 1950s-style city and all the once majestic but now tired forest around it in the mountains. He’s lying on his back in a patch of tree roots in the moss with his arms crossed over his chest, to provide a model for the roots to grown in a knitted pattern with big arthritis-knuckle-like bulges where the elbows touch (and grow into) the root-elbows in the next knitted column. I’m in his place now: I put my arms over my chest, wait till the root pattern sets, then scootch backward a foot or so to set the stitch in the next row, then the next, then the next…
It feels thirty or forty years later. My point of view travels out of the town with the new city council people to go to where scouts say the man who owns all this has hollowed out a giant redwood stump for his headquarters/museum/forest-renewal-project place. I have no control over what these people are doing, but I can subtly influence the younger ones, including a blonde college girl, to be sorry for interfering, and maybe help him against the others. They get ready to take him back to the city, anesthetized in a block of black amber, or rather, he isn’t /in/ the amber; he is the amber. People with no respect go into his tree fort and pick things up and put them down. They don’t know what anything is or what it means.
Much later still, in the city, I have become the man after he got a little freedom and they let him (me) be almost a person again. I’m repairing a house/bar/movie-room building. The way you get upstairs is to push your head through a hole high in the wall and then wriggle up diagonally through the inside of the wooden wall like crawling through an air duct. (Like a cat or rat, if your head fits, the rest of you will fit.) One of my captors thinks this way is enough, but I explain that only her little daughter’s head is small enough to go through the hole. There’s the feeling that if I can get her to let me remove some of the wood and make the hole bigger, that would be getting my foot in the door to have even more freedom. Maybe they’ll go away and let me work without supervision and I can magically remove all the restrictions on my power and motion. I suggest putting stairs in; you know, things would be better for everyone. My guard doesn’t trust me. I’ve escaped all the way back to the forest before by tricks like this and it was so much trouble for them to get me under control again. No improvements. That’s okay; I have all the time in the world.
Next dream. I’ve been working on a coffee-table-size box of power transformers and a matrix of switches and circuit breakers that’s enclosed in blue plastic mesh made of sides of milk crates cut out and heat-gun-welded together into panels. I built this. The power goes in one end and goes to heavy screw terminals for several separate isolated outputs on the other end.
Thick flat appliance extension cords and other wires poke out through the mesh on the sides, plug into other cords and go back in, to solve problems of the arrangement of parts inside, due to the specs changing as I was building it. It would be way too hard to take it all apart and do it right.
It’s on a wooden deck in back of a strange house on a river meadow. A girl like my girlfriend Julie just after high school, but bigger and more Midwestern, comes around the house and onto the deck and she’s interested in the project. I start to talk about it and point at the parts… and just name what the parts are, because I don’t know where it’ll be installed nor why it’s necessary…
Now I’m inside the house, in a place like the middle room of my dead grandparents’ Italian restaurant. My real-life employer Tim asks me if I used the oscilloscope on the outputs of the milk-crate box with the ground connected, and then disconnected, to determine if the problem (?) is electrical noise on the line. I say, “Yes… no,” because of course I forgot to do that, when it was the main thing he’d told me to do, and I was out there all day, and I did everything else /but/ that.
And now I’m in a concrete schoolyard square somewhere north of the Arctic Circle, up late at night, in bright daylight because it’s summer. Everyone else is asleep inside with the curtains shut. Diane Buxton, who was a waitress at Brannon’s when I worked there in the early 1980s, comes from somewhere else to sit next to me on a bench against a wall. We’re sitting here talking about things. I’m not really sure why I’m here. Maybe I’m the school maintenance person.
Next dream. A gray-haired man who’s a composite person of the old man in /Up/, Mike Nomad (of the comic strip /Steve Roper and His Friend Mike Nomad/) and sad late-stage Robin Williams is playing a car-driving game with two women, by driving backward next to their car (going forward) fast on a dirt road next to and uphill from a remote highway at night. The women’s car stops where the road ends in a dirt yard for roadwork equipment, but the man sails over the edge and curves backward up into the sky, and then, like a swing, starts back the other way, zooms forward past them, turns to the right in the air and goes away around a mountain. As he’s about to go out of sight of them he looks back (I’m in his place now, looking back) and they’re alread gone; their car is nowhere. They don’t care that he can fly; maybe they didn’t even see him driving next to them in the first place. Maybe they were busy with their own private romance or drama.
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