Auspicious Tractor Hate
Dreamed 1984/4/17 by Chris Wayan
Friends tell me "A furious guy came looking for you. He was just snarling with hate. We said you weren't here. When he couldn't find YOU, he stole your tractor-locomotive. He swore he'd drive it into the Bay!" Oh, great. I'm the only one who knows how to drive that old thing. I have to stop him and drive it back.
So I borrow my sister's car and go hunting him. He was last seen out on the Dikes, a stretch of old saltponds down in the Bay mudflats near Stanford, with a raised grid of streets. A few are still dry and paved, most are slumped and eroding--some are just rough mud dikes. I spot him chugging slowly along a diagonal spur. My sister's car is too low-slung to handle the rough cutoff I'd like to take--have to go round, past the salt ponds, along the highway, then back out into the Dikes, then onto the spur till I catch up with him. Damn detour--come on, come on...
He's in the lowest gear, the Worm Gear, grinding along inches a second. But when he sees me, he turns and heads for the shoulder, hoping to topple into the water before I can stop him. I leap out, grab a stick, duck under the crawling ten-ton tractor, and jam the stick in the worm gear. Chews it up, but the tractor lurches and slows, then stops.
But the thief doesn't. He laughs and shrieks "I'll get you yet!" He seems insane--keeps babbling how pathetic I am, how worthless... Spits at me and misses.
I want to restart the tractor and drive it to safety--the end of this narrow diagonal dike does connect with a safe high road. But I can't do a thing with this nut fighting me every step. At last, discouraged, I just remove a couple of key engine parts so he can't restart it, and leave. I'll come back when he's given up and left.
I go back home find... a surprise party waiting for me, a big sit-down dinner! They ask me how it went. I tell them glumly, trying not to bring down their party mood. They listen closely to my defeat... then explode in celebration!
My best friend says "This was your initiation. All psychics face it, when they turn ten."
I didn't know I was ten. I'm driving around at age ten?
"Ask who that guy was!" yells a witch.
"Uh... who was that guy?"
"Your Shadow. Everything you hate!"
"Why are we partying when I failed? He's still out there. My tractor's still stuck."
"Failure? Failure is when you murder each other! If your Shadow just murders you, he becomes the seed of a new you, and usually incorporates some of your character... so that's a tie. Success... success is killing your Shadow before he gets you."
"Wait!" says a psychic, "I heard of a few wins where both sides survive--the initiate runs or hides or finds some non-lethal defense. But for you both to survive, merely LOATHING each other... that's the most auspicious confrontation we've ever HEARD of."
A shaman with plastic Bullwinkle antlers on his party hat pats me on the back, and says "You didn't just not murder your Shadow self, you failed to co-operate!!" I'm more bewildered, and he adds "I mean, you actually had the concept of cooperating with your Shadow! Incredible. Most young dreamworkers flip out just meeting their shadows."
The party gets wilder, till a lanky blonde strips and lounges on the banquet table on her side, wearing just a man's fedora hat and a red-and-white checkered tie, wiggling her toes in the cake frosting...
I go along with it. Even enjoy it... I guess. As we celebrate a locomotive stuck in the mud.
THE NEXT DAY
Rain. Crash my bike on the way to work! Joints and shin bruised. Was the dream predicting this, with its tractor crash? That long slow slide as the brakes slipped, felt like the inexorable momentum of my ten-ton worm-drive tractor.
After work, I drive to the Old Mill Theater for a twilight discount movie, "Splash". A silly comedy about a mermaid. Lame but fun. Daryl Hannah's sexy and funny. Of course, her viewpoint makes more sense to me than the New Yorkers do. I'm closer to a mermaid mentality.
On the way home, I run out of gas! Turn off and coast slowly for two blocks, glide slowly to a halt. The place where I coast to a final halt is exactly analogous, on the Palo Alto street-grid, to my tractor's spot on the sunken watery grid in my dream... And the stark warehousy street looks like the pier Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah walk off at the end of SPLASH... Hike to get gas. Feel like the Mermaid as I wander the evening streets of this human town. It seems so alien, so... landish. My three-way shuttling, life to film to dream, goes on all evening. The layout of the streets, the dikes, the piers of New York... Darryl Hannah appearing nude, wearing hats, naming herself after a street sign... the blonde exhibitionist lying on the cake in my dream, the street signs around me... It's never explicit, no spectacular psychic hit. My dream stand alone quite well without ESP. A great party, and a great lesson.
Yet the precognition's there too. It's not all plane crashes, life-or-death issues. Little tinges too. Gas cans and movie mermaids. If you're only looking for big triumphs, you can overlook the forward crawl...
Come to think of it, that IS what they told me at the banquet, wasn't it? Where my great triumph wasn't defeating a monster, but... getting spat on. And he missed.
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