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Two dreams from 1992/7/2 by Chris Wayan

Giselle, a friend in my modern dancec class

Last day of dance class. I was thinking of asking Giselle out... been putting it off for weeks. Now or never!

But Brandy's in this sexy short dress today... God, I love watching her, but feel guilty. As if the POSSIBILITY of dating Giselle forbids me from even LOOKING at anyone else!

But though I notice the discomfort, the reason wasn't clear yet. I just knew I kept looking over at Giselle and think alternately that I wanted to be over there with her and then thinking "I'm attracted to her, but... I find Carla and Mia and Brandy and Anna and Kathy all sexier. But none of them seem attracted to ME. Giselle's real lure is just that the attraction's mutual." Feel shame that I'm so desperate that I'll go out with anyone who pats me on the head... Arf. Even though I know it's not true--I'm attracted to Giselle for good reason. Smarter than any of them--so much fun to talk to!

End of class. Giselle seems to have disappeared! She has another class soon, and I knew that, yet I forget and tell myself "she must have gone home."

So I walk out with Brandy, have a long talk with her for the first time. Hide my guilty excitement... Damn! She has a boyfriend. Interesting info: I'm disappointed, not relieved. Even though she's much simpler than Giselle, she really is hot. Nice, too. Maybe that's what I want. Uncomplicated sex with someone I like instinctively. Forget your head a while--all that soul-mate stuff. Brandy, a friend in my modern dancec class

Walking back to the bike rack, I find I'm nervous. Giselle will pop out and yell "YOU were flirting with BRANDY!" As if we're married and this were an affair! I'm that crazy. I bike off, still feeling guilty, despite the absurdity of it... I went off with Brandy just to prove my independence from Giselle--before we've even gone out. Rebelling against an IMAGINARY commitment!

I go to therapy later that day. El Shrinko wants me to write out what I want. "The only thing I've heard you say clearly is that you want sexual experience without being trapped in a monogamous relationship." I get sick in my guts before and during therapy session. Brandy and Giselle are cat-fighting inside... or am I just mad that El Shrinko can't hear what I ask for, week after week? I want to be physically healthy. I don't mind a little crazed misery over sex, everyone goes through that. I just don't want it to make me physically sick all the time.

My friend Roxana calls. "I HATE my office job downtown. People disagree with my politics, so I keep my mouth shut. I even wonder if my myopia is partly caused by the strain of keeping a poker face in enemy territory."

My guts are still hot and swollen. I do pelvic rolls from Afro-Haitian class warmup--seems to help. Why don't I do it more often? Because I don't want to be seen doing it. Sexual motions. I'll get punished for it.

Fred from dance class calls. He laughs when I say I feel shy and stupid around Brandy and Giselle. Says "You get away with blatant flirtation no one else would. So good at breaking the ice with attractive strangers I can't stand it." This is so at odds with how I perceive myself I can't really absorb it. In a way I don't want to believe it! Guys who can do that are plastic, insincere. Social ineptness is proof of sincerity? God, I'm tired of my family's brainwashing!

After a long talk I find out what he really called for is Giselle's phone number. HE wants to ask her out!

I give it to him. I've had it for weeks after all, afraid to call.

Mister Icebreaker, yeah.


Policemen sit around a small table playing poker. But their hands are strange: in each man's lap, nests a woman, naked, and his hand, holding the cards, is also somehow cupping her cunt. The men discard, pick up new cards... and the women close their eyes and gasp in pleasure as the hands move... their bodies writhe... and the men... maintain their poker faces.

(Poker-faced men = me. Roxana said her eyestrain came from keeping up a mask. Well, my pelvic inflammations are from keeping up a mask of sexual indifference.)


I'm in northern San Francisco, near Alta Plaza. Pacific Heights--wealthy, pretty, spectacular views of the Bay. I biked here--refusing to share a bus or burn gas in my car. Stubbornly independent.

A long way on a bike! And just as long going home. Tired, I want a level route; must avoid the Castro/Noe ridge, and the curious flattopped hill I see in the Western Addition. I look for a gentle descent south, and a flat street across the Addition. Turn at the first corner. Yow! It tilts downwards into an abyss. Put my feet down and turn wildly and stop, gasping. It's a steep embankment, sixty degrees, not a street at all. A fifty foot drop, with no rail, no warning. Getting off these heights is not so easy. Woman with black hair and navy top hangs on a chainlink fence, staring sadly at San Francisco Bay

Biking has felt very awkward the last few blocks. Check myself... My pants are at my ankles! Hard to pedal like that! And my shirt is tangled up in the handlebars... hard to steer like that! Pull up my pants, tuck in shirt, and suddenly... my disorientation CLEARS! Just like that. Definitely from being entangled with my bike.

Now that my head is clearer, I vaguely recall I did get up this ridge a gentler way, but it's several blocks east. I try it. True. A cop car passes, looking hard at me--people drive in Pac Heights, they don't bike. But I turn south out of the mansions, and they leave me alone. The street gently slopes down to become a parking lot in front of a funeral parlor.

It's also a pier. The Bay has risen due to global warming; it laps right up to its east side. And to the south, the water's flooded even further inland, covering downtown and the Mission lowlands. There's a chainlink fence blocking access to the Bay. On the fence, looking out on the cove, a tall woman stands motionless. Somehow she radiates sadness. I warily bike through parked cars toward the south end of the lot, where I can see a bike path edging the cove, heading home. I avoid the woman...get a horrible feeling she's DEAD, hanging on the fence by rigor-mortised fingers. As I start around the cove, I look back, and see her legs shift. She's alive... just deep in mourning, I can see the depression round her, like that dream I had of a woman born with a Gray Heart.

The path becomes a plastic rim of the sea, a foot wide or less. It dips in the water a little. The cove is like a decorative pond in Golden Gate Park... A little cove-on-the-cove at east end, budding off the last round pool like the black pools of the Mandelbrot set... Shall I cut across the neck? It's only a foot deep or less. I go round. Only takes a minute.

On the far side a child is... fishing? No, but staring intently, right at the water's edge. As I pass, I get a sudden flash of the kid's aura... A genius! Shocking intelligence, a child prodigy, as I was. Contemplating this fractal flood.

Child in red top, black pants kneels by a puddle with a fractal shore.
South around the point... I reach my goal. It's a hotel on pilings over the water, looking out at Potrero Island and Bernal Point. It's a wood structure, with (I'm told) the "world's biggest stairs." They don't seem that big, just a few stories high, but I wonder... Surfaces can deceive. A house in dunes where a bear, cat, human and bird live together, guarding stairs reaching into the sky.

Once upon a time, I lived in a house on grassy dunes, with animal people, and there was a stair like this, and that house had only one floor from the outside. It was a reality-stair, leading to other levels of existence. Perhaps these stairs do the same. In fact... it could be the SAME stair! If I went way down or up... would I come out on the dunes with the Cat Who Was a Bird and the Middle-Sized Bear Who Reads Shakespeare? Oh, I'm tempted. I was happier there in the House of Stairs than in this world.

But I have promises to keep...

Instead I go up two floors to the board meeting of a nonprofit. I came to check on my friend Xanthe--she's the elastic that holds them together. The elastic they all pull on--tighter, tighter, thinner, thinner... I hate to see another dreamworker let herself get abused like this! I mean the organization's purpose is noble, but they can't DO much--too short on money. And they're terrible fundraisers. Well, it's not all their fault; we're in a Depression, after all. Remember that woman by the Bay?

Xanthe can't play. I try, but can't pry her loose from the debate. The endless debate.

Sighing, I go back downstairs. Whoah! There's a guerrilla squad in the lobby! Wait, I know one of them. I like her, but fear her a bit--a passionate radical. She says "We have explosives. We're gonna hold the Board hostage. We'll MAKE them to stop being so genteel, and get aggressive about raising money for the Cause. We need results NOW. Or we'll blow up the Board!"

I say lamely "But they can't help it. There's a depression, they're underfunded..." Half-truths.

"Then they should have given the money themselves" she growls.

"But everyone's being laid off or cut back. I know Xanthe, she's in debt..." Angry girl in darkness, dim-red-lit by the fuse of a bomb.

One of my friend's comrades in the brigade is a teenage girl, brown, short, with a fierce face. Beautiful in a wolverine way. She climbs right over her friend to hiss in my face: "We HAVE to blow them up! They just stay up there talking and talking..." She doesn't even want to bargain. I shiver--though I'm her comrade's friend, this kid might just try to silence me!

I cover my fear and hiss right back. "Don't talk so loud! Look--I didn't hear that, and I didn't see you--I won't help you but I won't stop you. Threaten them, if you think it'll get 'em moving. But actually blowing up the organization won't help ANYONE." It's as much as I dare to say to her...

I feel upset and confused. This dynamite kid is frightening and sexy and dedicated and silly... and part right, too. All at once.

In books on dreamwork, the examples are usually so clear-cut: heroes and villains, topdogs and underdogs. A lot of my dreams are like this. Are these people heroes, villains, both, neither? Sometimes, all you can do is ask them not to kill each other while they fume with impatience...



In 1992-3 I had nearly a dozen puzzling dreams about Alta Plaza, a small neighborhood in San Francisco in Pacific Heights, a place that meant nothing to me at the time. But within a year, I found a therapist who helped me manage my chronic illness--and her office was a block from the Plaza! I began biking up there every week...


I figured out I was allergic to wheat, oats and barley. Quit eating them. The physical attacks stopped. I was still pretty crazy--mad bombers upstairs and down--but by removing a physical irritant, I'd confiscated their explosives.

Angry girl in darkness, dim-red-lit by the fuse of a bomb.

LISTS AND LINKS: I also dreamed I had to cure Brandy's curse - the dream of the Cat who was a Bird, and the Shakespeare Bear - that dream of a woman with a Gray Heart - a related dream: The Lady Bathes In Grief - dreams of dating - bikes - global warming - geniuses - grief - political dreams - power - anger - patience and haste - anarchy and direct action - therapy - Xanthe - Boom! Explosive dreams - Roxana: China Beach, The Core Issue, The Prime Directive

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