Saturday, July 07, 2012

Help me Interpret my Dream

I am not normally someone who tries to interpret their dreams.  My thoughts on doing so can be summed by what an acquaintance of mine said years ago: 
"When you're asleep, you're unconscious, right?  Your brain is basically stupid.  It has all these really strange and stupid thoughts.  When you wake up and remember what you were thinking, you're like, 'Geez...  What the hell was that?  I'm not THAT stupid so...  It must MEAN something!'  We'd rather think that than think we were just being stupid."  
Recently though, waking up the morning of the 4th of July, I remembered a particularly strange dream that struck me in a particularly weird way.  I've been thinking about it quite a bit.  I'm going to put it out here and see if there are any closet dream interpreters who follow my blog that can give me some insight on it.  
Here it is...
In the dream I'm going to Comic-Con.  For anyone reading this who doesn't know what Comic-Con is, a brief explanation: It is the largest collection of nerds and geeks in the United States.  It started out as a comic book convention in the bygone days.  It slowly evolved into a convention about alternative and speculative fiction of all sorts and in various formats.  Today it is calls itself the convention of "popular arts," including video games, all sorts of TV shows and movies and yes, even today, comic books.  About 120,000 people descend on San Diego in July to get their nerd on.  For every year for the past eighteen or so years, I've been one of them.  This year it starts with Preview Night on Wednesday, July 11th.  
Anyway...  In my dream I'm on my way to Comic-Con.  I'm riding my bike to get to the train station in order to get to the convention center.  
This is the first bit of weirdness: I don't own a bike.  I've been thinking of buying one to pedal around Pasadena for short trips where it would be a waste of gas to drive my car, but I haven't done so yet.  Even if I had a bike, I wouldn't be riding it all the way to San Diego.  The two or three hour trip would turn into two or three days.  
Also, the geography is wrong.  The road I'm pedaling on is like some country road you'd find where my parents live in Arkansas.  Single lane going in each direction.  No sidewalk.  A gravel covered shoulder that curves into a ditch.  Trees instead of houses line either side.  There isn't a street like this that exists between the Los Angeles metroplex and San Diego, I don't think.  
But I'm using it to get to the train station.  But not all the way to the train station.  In my dream, I "have to" park my bike at this big shopping mall.  It's like a Walmart on steroids.  A huge, boxy building carved from what look likes sandstone.  I lock my bike up at the shopping mall, put on my backpack and grab my luggage and walk to its corner.  There I turn right and take a narrow footbridge over a concrete lined gully or wash.  On the other side I find the San Diego train station (which looks identical to the Fillmore Gold Line Metro station in Pasadena in this dream).  There I stand under the neon lights, so early in the morning that it's still dark, waiting for the train to the convention center.
It's here my dream skips ahead...
I'm heading back to the train station.  The convention is over.  I'm wearing my backpack.  I'm dragging my luggage along.  I feel this need to hurry.  I've got to get home, got to get home, I really gotta get home...!  I can't make myself move fast enough.
But people are getting in my way.  I'm walking along these narrow streets, through these strange neighborhoods.  They're like neighbors you might find in Koreatown or East L.A. near my home, where one particular ethnic group dominates and the billboards are written in languages other than English.  I don't recognize the language they're written in.  And people are stopping me.  They're pointing at the shirt I'm wearing, which I wasn't wearing in the first part of the dream.  It's a bright, golden yellow color.  It has a logo on it of some fanciful character.  In my dream I recognize it immediately, but after I woke up I couldn't remember what it looked like.  Some anthropomorphic animal, I think.  
"Hey, hey...  You work for them?"  These are the types of questions they ask me.  "Did you get the secret numbers?"  "Did you make that?"  I push my way through them, smiling and nodding.  You get tee-shirts at conventions all the time, I'm thinking.  Wearing one doesn't mean anything.  But I don't want to admit that I'm not part of this show/comic/book that is so big and special that even "normal" people know about it.  I smile and nod and keep pushing my way along.  
Because I've got to get home.  I really, really got to get home.  I've got to get home now!
The streets are getting narrower.  More like alleys now.  And they are getting more crowded.  People are outside, laughing and telling stories.  I can smell the bitter, sweet smoke from a barbeque.  Music is playing.  Kids are screaming and yelling and chasing each other around trash cans and fire hydrants and the other people standing around.  It sounds like there's a festival going on all over the neighborhood.  
Except around me.  It's quiet around me.  I'm not being stopped with questions any more.  Now the people quiet down when they see me coming.  They watch me as I walk past.  I nod my head and smile at them.  I hurry past as fast as I can.  The sounds of their celebration picks up as I walk past.  
One image sticks hard in my memory.  As I'm walking, there is a young woman in a pink ballerina's outfit to my right.  She on the ground.  She's doing a full splits.  She is bent so far forward that her head is resting on her knee.  As I walk past, I hear her say to those sitting around her...
"My sister keeps telling me I don't have enough discipline..."  
I'm getting frantic now.  It's getting dark.  And I know now that I'm lost.  I have to get to my bike so I can get to the station to make my train. 
Weirdness note: That's what I remember thinking, even though in the first part of the dream I left my bike at the shopping mall and walked to the station.  
I'm trying to run, but my backpack is weighing me down.  I don't have my luggage any more.  I must have tossed it aside.  My backpack is heavy, though.  It's pushing me to the ground.  
And all the streets I'm on lead to dead-ends.  Blind alleys with huge dumpsters in them.  Tall brick walls, miles high, blocking my way.  Once, my way is blocked by a chain-link fence.  Through it I can see the concrete wash and the looming shopping mall made from sandstone on the other side.  I think about climbing the fence and wading across the concrete gully, but my backpack is too heavy.  I go back to find another way.  
I'm running hard now.  In my dream, using a bit of dream logic, I try to take off my backpack as I run.  That way, when I get to my bike, I can just jump on and start riding.  (This is dream logic, remember).  I get it off of one arm, but then I stumble.  I fall forward.  My hands scrape across the asphalt.  My backpack goes flying forward.  It hits the ground and explodes open.  My laptop and pens, my notebooks and power cables, a sheaf of a papers and a fountain of confetti go flying in all directions.  
I'm on my knees trying to pack everything back in.  There is a mountain of stuff.  It's taller than I am standing up.  But it all has to get back into the backpack. 
Especially this sheaf of papers.  They are on the bottom, sticking out from underneath the pile of confetti.  They are face down, so I can't see what's written on them.  They are important, though.  These papers are the reason I have to get home now, why I have to get to the train now.  
In the distance, I can hear the howl of the approaching train's horn.  
I'm scooping the confetti back into my backpack.  I have to get it back in my backpack.  If I don't, the neighborhood people with think I'm "disrespecting" their neighborhood.  But there is so much and the train is getting closer and I've not even found my bike yet, and those papers, I have to get those papers home, have to, have to, HAVE TO...
Someone from the neighborhood approaches.  A tall, slender young man with slicked back hair that shines in the street lamps, the same way his black shoes shine and his black pants shine and his black coat shines over his super-duper shiny white shirt with no collar.  He comes to stand over me.  I keep grabbing handfuls of confetti and shoving it into my bag.  I see the shiny toes of his shiny shoes a fingers width from the edge of the important papers.  
He lifts his foot.  I flinch, thinking he's going to kick me.  He swings it, but kicks at the pile of confetti.  He kicks it under a pile of leaves and its gone in an instant.  Only the important papers are left.  
I lift my head to thank him, but he's walking away.  In my mind, I can hear him tell people that it was all an accident, even though it wasn't.  I grab the important papers and try to shove them into my backpack, which is filled with the confetti I put in it before.  
And then this thought hits me that makes everything stop.  Where did all this confetti come from?  With this question, I realize I don't remember anything that's happened to me for the past five days.  The convention.  Where the confetti came from.  How I got the golden yellow tee-shirt.  The reason the papers are so important.  None of it.  The shift in my dream, from waiting on the train station to trying get back home, is literal.  I know nothing in between.  
I feel a sort of terror growing inside me.  It's starting to scream in my gut the way the train's whistle is screaming in the distance, getting closer and closer.  What have I been doing?  Who did I meet?  What have I done these last five days?  How...?
My notebook!  Yeah!  The small notebook I keep.  My current one is blue.  I write down all my writing ideas.  I write down descriptions of the panels I go to, and the people I meet.  The names of books I want to read, or publishers I want to submit stories to.  
I'm now shoveling the confetti out of my backpack as fast as I shoved it in.  The train is getting louder and closer.  I have to find my notebook to remember what I did.  Have to, have to, have to find my notebook.  Then...
I wake up.  
That was it.  There were bits and pieces that I left out, but that's all the important stuff.  It was so vivid to me that my first thoughts when I sat up in bed was where my notebook was and whether I'd been fired from missing work all that time.  
Does it mean anything?  Hmm...  This might be one of those times it would be better to think, "My brain was just being stupid."


Blogger Larry Hays said...

You might find "The Dream Game" by Ann Faraday to be an interesting read. Sounds like some of your waking anxiety being burnt off by your unconscious. (IMO) I picked up a copy in paperback in 1976. You might also want to look into dream journaling.

July 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I've not heard of the book, but I'll keep my eye out for it.

I journal every morning and write down any dream I remember. My comment in the post about brains being stupid while dreaming aside, I find them to be fertile sources of ideas for stories, articles and just thinking about. I think your suggestion about it being anxiety burning is probably correct.

July 8, 2012 at 1:06 PM  

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