I keep having this strange dream and I wonder why that is. I don’t think that dreams necessarily ‘mean’ anything, at all, but I do think they’re a stitching together of various strands of narrative from our pasts, woven with hopes and fears and fantasies about a possible future. I wonder if the story that emerges is only there because part of our minds rebel against a disordered jostling together of various and sundry thoughts and ideas and must manufacture an arrangement of them. That’s why dream narratives are often full of enormous jumps and startling transitions that seem so natural in the dream but which are so obviously contrived when recounting it (to oneself. Little is more boring than hearing about somebody else’s dreams – the references are so personal and the symbology so idiosyncratic that it’s like listening to a private version of Rickie Lee Jones singing something weird and fraught with indecipherable meaning.)
However, this is my blog and you’re still here voluntarily so I will beg your indulgence. This dream seems to revolve around elevators in an office building where I work. Some go to the floor I want. One however, goes to a much nicer floor than any of the ones I’ve been to. The doors open and I see a room I didn’t expect, with bright lights and important-looking people and lots of steel and modern design. However, I’m not supposed to be there – I don’t have the right badge or the right credentials or whatever and I’m nervous about being discovered so I jump on another elevator. Somehow (dream narrative!) I understand that I shouldn’t have got on the first elevator but I find out that the one I took refuge on is not much of a better option.
This elevator doesn’t go up and down, you see, but it goes all over, outside of the building on a horizontal path, and then up and over and swooping past plazas with lovely restaurants and shops (and at this point I’m often noting that I’ve been there before and sometimes I can even manage to move myself about in the narrative…more on that in a later post, you poor reader you). Eventually I have to get off the elevator and I notice with dismay that I’m a block or a mile away from where I work and I have to trudge along a wasteland of overturned earth and building materials to get there, where I shall be late.
I think this has to do with some of the times I left the nice safe haven of Fort Meade, Maryland, to go work ‘in the DC area’ – once by dint of a reduction in force, and then I bounced around more or less voluntarily. The first time I had to go there, I had to travel by car from Glen Burnie, MD, all the way to the Metro station and take two Metros to work. This was all happening during a very stressful period of my life, and after a much more stressful period of my life. It seems that the lack of control, the experience of being taken on rides to unpredictable or strange and new destinations, with some good outcomes (lovely shops and cafes) and some frightening ones (being where I Was Not Supposed To Be), and the idea that I could so easily make a mistake and wind up alone and far from home or at least some place familiar, have remained a theme in my mind and I am constantly going over that theme. Like I’m trying to iron it out, flatten it, fold it up, and put it away. But I keep finding pieces of my current reality that remind me of a wrinkle or a bump that I went through before, and so at night I’m back at my ironing board, trying to smooth things over so that I can put them away neatly.
Here’s hoping that I will manage that, folding it so the good things are on the top and the whole can be packed away and only taken out for pleasant reminiscing. Here’s to you doing the same with whatever things you go over, smooth over, and keep finding wrinkled in your life.
Maybe Michael Horta could lend us a hand in that. He needs to find something better to do with his hand: