Dream №1 “Balkan Rift: A Tropical Dreamland”
Wherein the author recounts his dreams for no other benefit than to idle away an hour before work, and as accurately as one can hold water in a sieve — because dreams are difficult to record! (But happily, this is made less difficult an endeavour by keeping a pad and a pen by the table handy; a method highly recommended to all you dreamers out there.) And as far as the Balkans go, think South East Europe, where I live happily with my wife and kids as a circumstantial expat.
Winter — she’s here! And makes herself known dropping her hoary veil over South East Europe. Well, I am always interested in my dreams for no other reason than that just like many of you, dreams seduce us with their dream logic and impossible symbols. In my case, I particularly savour dreams because I don’t dream hardly ever. But do not think that for one moment I especially attach any meaning to dreams — unlike some people today — no doubt influenced by New Age systems of thought or even the specious thinking of one Carl G. Jung. What interests me about dreams, however, is they bear some testament to the power of the human imagination while asleep. Dreams leave me with a wonder and awe not so much in of themselves, but in those wild yarns and imageries, they present us. And as difficult as they are to remember (which takes some practice; another post for another time) dreams no doubt bear testament to the wonders of the human mind though dredged in sleep.
OK. Enough of the preamble.
Now please note the presented dreams will be recorded in italics, and that there is no embellishing this nocturnal hash that swills in my brains at night.
For you see, if that were the case, well then this would be less amusing, and I would find the purpose behind this writing series meritless.
For your reading pleasure. Enjoy.
Wife needs to be taken to work. Immediately incumbent upon me is that we are in a Balkan capital and that it is most certainly NOT Winter… I’m filled with a vague feeling that the weather, in a surreal sort of way is tropical — an impossibility anywhere on the European continent.
As in my waking life, I appear to be walking around with my wife through the city populated by dense, green tropical looking trees. It is most likely morning. Or dawn to be sure. Vapour hangs throughout the city — the strange alternate Balkan city is populated by tropical fronded trees like palms. Also, I am vaguely aware that there are people passing by us. We take a bullet train to her work, which is not to be found in this economically depressed country (that fact has not changed, even within this dreamscape) to my wife’s work. Although I have not yet been to her work, I know it is most certainly not in a megamall, which bears a strange resemblance to a megamall we visited in Moscow, Russia where I accepted an award for a screenplay (sounds strange for real life, don’t it?). I drop her off and she gives me a peck on the cheek and I’m not really listening to her and I think it’s safe to infer that she says something like, “Pick me up at such and such time”. I go sauntering through this large mall, which bears nothing in resemblance to any of the crass instances I have seen back in the States. It bears more resemblance to those malls I have encountered in Timisoara (Romania) and yes, again, in Moscow. Only this is a sort of hodgepodge of the above.
Vendors in shops vie for my attention and I go about my way, slipping down the escalator to outside with the intent of rushing back home. I then find myself standing about a Super Highway which does not exist in the Balkans — this scene seems to be more a fabrication based on the Katy Freeway back in Houston, I realise now , sobered from the dream. And for those of you that don’t know, the Katy Freeway is an obscenely long and wide highway — a concrete confluence of cars and miserable commuters travelling from a boring suburb back into a slightly less boring city — Houston. But that is quite another story.
So, I try to hail a taxi to no avail and in the process of cars scuttling swiftly by like beetles, my shirt becomes ripped off. Don’t ask me how it just does and I am reduced to trousers. Annoyed, but manning up to the reality that I MUST simply walk home, I embark on an odyssey across this impossibly strange Balkan city. But my God! What an odyssey! I manage to get off my concrete island from the Balkan Super Highway and navigate through the thicket of the tropical trees and white-washed concrete buildings, less brutal than their real counterparts.
Now in real life, I have no sense of direction. The city appears extraordinary not only for its sprawling size and tropical life — but at once familiar and recognisable. Many buildings seem improved. Whitewashed. Still evident of the ugly brutalist sort of architecture which besots this region of Europe. A great domed whitewashed structure with glass panels comes into view. Here people casually go about, in and out.
I continue to admire these whitewashed concrete boxy buildings and the general spectacle of people. I might have even asked a man with a shaved head for directions. My dream self appears to be as directionless as the real-life me. I amble through splendid, lush green parks which contain fountains at their centre. They spurt tall, frothy spumes into a sky I can only describe whose colour is like a misty amethyst.
Enough of this idling. I am still in quite in a rush to get to the apartment — why, I don’t know. Either I want to have a coffee or return to do a bit of non- work-related work (a conundrum! but I mean writing, which is what I am doing now). I begin picking up the pace to such an extraordinary level of swiftness that I daresay I could compete in the Olympics. A happy thought, because I am about as athletic as a chess player.
In my absentmindedness, I trip over a ledge into a ravine. I land, unharmed and putting my wits together realise that this is less a ravine than a sort of enclosure you would find in a zoo. Perhaps for an alligator. Sparing no time to discover any alligator or some other beast, I successfully climb up a ledge on a sloping concrete wall, just big enough for me to stand or plant half of my ass down to sit. Resting on the ledge I peer over and see an observatory — allow me to explain. Opposite me through a large broad pane-less glass window are a group of men. They appear to be dressed business casual for the office, some nursing coffee mugs, another one eating a bright pink donut. Take this scene and put it into an airport field’s control tower and it would hardly be incongruous. Before any one of these observers can notice me, I climb my way up the slight ledge, with super-human strength — and make hope over.
But much to my annoyance my wife texts me. I need to fetch her now. Christ almighty! I decide that I am going to get a taxi to get back to her, as much as I relish possessing inherent super-athleticism, I’d rather hail a taxi back to the megamall. Only the problem is, wandering around in this quarter I become unsteady, my clothes torn to bits; I’m feeling a bit disoriented. The quarter I walk into looks more like a North African village, I think — short, boxy parchment coloured buildings with shops and stands — now how’s a man to pick up his wife in this part of town without a taxi? And goodness, I don’t know how to ride a camel anymore than Dream-Me does either!
I wake up. The residue of sleep and what-the-fuck still on me, but very much grateful and relishing a rare dream, a strange meal whose flavours still lingers on the half-awake brain. Speaking of meals, my wife has texted me from work. Chinese?
Oh, but of course! Do you know how impossible a task it is to find good Chinese here in South Eastern Europe?
I’m looking forward to a spicy dinner tonight. Perhaps that’ll trigger another dream.