DreamingI had a freaky dream this morning. It was a nightmare, really, and I don't really know how long I was in this dream, but I had a hell of a time waking up this morning and I still feel a little groggy.
So the earliest part of the dream I remember is this: I was having some difficulty with my car and my sister, like I was borrowing her car and she borrowed mine but I was having difficulty parking her car, which was a vast white truck. This was carried over from previous parts of the dream, which had to do with shopping, the post office, Kentucky Fried Chicken, my gym, and three or four other elements to be found near the intersection of MacArthur and Lakeshore that escape me now. There was anxiety and stress involved in this part, but it gets worse (as situations with my sister and cars tend to do).
We went to this restaurant that had all-you-can-eat pecan pancakes. I don't particularly care for pancakes (nor, really, for pecans), I was just going along on the assumption that they were bound to have bacon-and-eggs on the menu. The restaurant was sort of Caribbean in decor, orange stucco walls and rustic shutters and what-have-you, but the booths were on a conveyor-belt or tracks or something that twisted around the room and out into a tunnel, like a roller-coaster. Each booth had two incredibly fat people in it, chowing down on the pecan pancakes in a most hoggish manner, some of them even disdaining to use forks and knives, or even their hands. The diners disappeared through the tunnel, and empty booths came out of another tunnel to be filled with those waiting in line.
I did not stay in line, but wandered off somewhere, perhaps to the john, or perhaps to find out if there was indeed anything on the menu besides pecan pancakes. I found myself suddenly being herded along a tunnel with a lot of Midwestern-type touristy-looking people, apparently the pancake-fattened diners. The tunnel was like those used at Disneyland, where the lines for the rides often snake through themed "environments" that go along with the ride itself, open above and with mysterious doors here and there.
I don't know how I found out, but I discovered as I went along with the mildly-panicked but still-docile tourists that we were being led to slaughter like sheep, to be converted to meat. Of course, I was having none of that, so I and a few like-minded others tried to escape. We could not go backward, we were being herded by humanoid aliens or something who, when attacked, turned out to be animated privet shrubs painted to resemble humans.
When one managed to find an exit-door that was not locked, it was also guarded by a shrub-person. One could set the guards on fire, but of course I had no lighter since I no longer smoke; one could also cut them up with garden-implements, or rip them apart with your hands, but they usually kept moving or would combine with the remnants of another defeated shrub. All the while we were still being forced along the tunnels toward the slaughterhouse.
This went on for quite some time, a film-length dream. The tunnel became almost a village or a mall, with shops and things where people were stopping to eat and buy souvenirs on their way to slaughter. It was very much like an action-movie, or a video-game, what with contained environments, fighting the shrub-people, trying to find a way out, meeting other people who were trying to escape or who were philosophically submitting to the slaughter. My attempts to escape eventually attracted the attention of the leader of the shrub-people, a formidable Frenchwoman who was sort of a cross between Coco Chanel and Lady Tremaine (from Disney's Cinderella).
Eventually I managed to get through one of the exit-doors and defeated the guard there. I went up several flights of stairs and found myself inside the restaurant above the slaughterhouse, a crumbling old New Orleans-style mansion converted into a fashionable eatery where the human meat was served at five-star prices to crowds of trendy people. The owner and hostess of the restaurant was the scary French-shrub-woman, who knew exactly who I was and where I lived (apparently I'd lost my wallet along the way, and she had my driver's license), and had all of her henchmen as well as the restaurant's chefs hunting for me through the warren-like house.
I eventually made it out into the precincts of the restaurant itself and thence to an adjacent park, where I met my friend Barry on a park-bench. He gave me his yellow hoodie-sweatshirt, and I put it on and curled up on the bench pretending to be asleep with the hood over my face. The shrub-people came out looking for me, got right up and looked right at me on the bench, but failed to recognize me... they were then directed to look for me at home.
Well, of course I had to get home and warn my family to escape before the shrub-people got there and took them to the slaughterhouse. The restaurant turned out to be all the way downtown, but I managed to get home on foot by taking a series of running jumps that got me a block or two at a time, and even over Lake Merritt in one fairly satisfying leap (often in my dreams I can fly if I jump really hard and swim in the air, but I never quite soar).
My father and my nephew and Grandmother were there at the house... Grandmother was unable to run away, but I convinced her to lock herself into the bathroom and stay there while Daddy and Matthew and I ran up the street to get my uncle to help us (my uncle really lives in Alameda, but in the dream he lived a block away).
This is where the dream ceased to be a scary adventure and became a full-on nightmare... see, my uncle (whom we call Junior) is a cop, and also the most dependable and trustworthy person in our family... he's sort of the default patriarch, despite not being the oldest, or even a father. And so, in the dream, the relief I felt when I discovered that Junior was right up the street was amazing.
However, when we got to Junior's house, he was really angry that I had managed to get into this five-star restaurant where he had been trying to get reservations for weeks. He knew all about the place, even knew that they were serving human meat, that's what made the place so fabulously glamorous. He intimated that he would happily turn all of us over to the French-shrub-woman in exchange for a good table for four reserved in his name this Saturday night.
So we ran, me and my father and my nephew. We got as far as the alleyway that connects our street with the street the bus runs on, but it was blocked by fences... not fenced in, mind you, but actually littered with huge sections of redwood fences set like hurdles along the way. Daddy and Matthew couldn't follow until I had cleared away all the fences along the alley, and so they were stuck at the mouth of the alley, whence the shrub-people were coming at any moment, their danger mounting with every passing minute... and I was mired in all these big fences, getting on top of them to knock them down and getting my feet caught in their lattices and getting splinters in my hands and getting nowhere fast.
And that's when I finally managed to jerk myself awake. It was a little after six in the morning. I eventually went back to sleep, because I didn't have to pee (as I usually do when I've had a nightmare) and because I was still too groggy and tired to fully wake up, but though my dreams were vivid and in some places anxious, they weren't scary and I don't remember them.
But for the rest of the morning I was haunted by the images and sensations of that dream. Of course, the poetry of a meat-eating fur-wearing disrespector-of-animal-life such as myself being herded like cattle to slaughter is not lost on me. The preponderance of Disney references and images is also suggestive (as I think of it, both of the restaurants and several other elements are actually in Disneyland). But it was the feeling of someone I unquestioningly trust turning on me at the last minute that still echoes in my mind. That was a scary, scary feeling.
So anyway, that's two nights in a row I've had odd dreams. I think it's time to change something about my bed. I think I'll change the sheets and clear all the books and things off, and add another blanket or two (when I woke up from my nightmare, my butt was out of the blankets and I was really cold). If that doesn't work, I'll try something else... though bad dreams are usually caused by some physical discomfort during sleep (being cold, needing to pee), remembering nightmares with this sort of clarity is a signal that things aren't as they should be in the mind, that my subconscious is trying to communicate with my conscious about something that's bothering me under the cognitive surface.
Or maybe I just ate too much fruit yesterday. Who knows?