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CUPOLA

Dreamed 1994/7/28 by Chris Wayan

I dream that in the San Francisco library, I find a book clearly meant for me, titled:

TIGERS AND SPHINXES AT THIRTY
or,
IT WON'T GO AWAY

The book's about visionaries. Just skimming it, recognizing myself in its examples, I start to face a hard fact--my dreams have always shown me other lives, other worlds... and they always will. I'm not growing up and turning sensible. Not now, not soon, not ever.

Most people give up all the unformed other lives, collapse their probability waves into a particular practical particle path--home, spouse, job, kids. I can't, I won't, and who am I kidding? Like the original "San Francisco", St. Francis of Assisi, and an occasional horse-crazy girl, I see all creatures as friends--as lovers. And I'm not going to stop. I don't even want to.

I take the book home. These days, home is the Lower Haight, close to the UC campus annex. It's an area the artists and hippies fled to when the Haight-Ashbury went tourist. At first I was afraid it'd be too rough for me--I'm sort of a girl jock but I'm tiny, under 100 pounds. Don't want to get mugged. But so far my street's turned out to be peaceful, and my house is a towering old Victorian palace. My room's an old cupola, so far above the street the noise is negligible. Because it's old, once I clean the dust out it's pretty healthy for me--hardwood floors, no air conditioning or toxic synthetics to trigger my allergies. And the cupola has a panoramic view.

At last I'm ready to show off that view to my best friend. One evening I lead her up the stairs to the cupola--a square bare room, just ten by ten, with windows for walls. "What do you do for privacy?" she asks. "I feel like a goldfish--here we are, all lit up in a glass box. Can't the neighbors stare right in?"

I've been waiting for her to ask. Dramatically, I lower the Venetian blinds I use when it's cold or too hot. Then I turn off the light. The room is black. I roll the blinds back up. She gasps--the lights she assumed were the City curling round us, purring like a tiger, those lights around us were... starfields. Not just a clear night sky--looking down, the street is gone, the hill, the planet! An ink abyss where galaxies swirl. "That," I say gleefully, "is what I do for privacy."

She shivers in wonder. A trace of fear flits across her face. I know what it is--I felt it too, the first time. Is the City still there? In a minute I'll lead her back downstairs, to the common rooms, where you can see and hear (and smell) the Lower Haight pulsing around us. The City's still there.

Just not here. My cupola just looks out on other dimensions.

And that suits me just fine.

Dream: I show my best friend how each window in my attic room looks out on a different world.
NOTES

LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-gender dreams - parallel worlds - Only in San Francisco - dream homes - dream architecture - dreams on dreams - career advice - shamanic dreams - tigers and sphinxes

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