Dreamed 1996/9/1 by Chris Wayan
My friend Zooop calls. "Let's go to the Psychic Fair in Golden Gate Park." It's sponsored by a Berkeley school where Zooop takes classes. Curious, I say "Okay", though I've heard some criticism of them.
When Zooop shows up, she says "You need to shave and shower and dress nice, lots of cute girls there--most of my classmates are." I obey while she copies an affirmation tape. Heh. For a melancholy Slavic girl she's sure getting Californicated!
For some reason, today I feel uncomfortable leaving her alone in my room. Odd--I never have before. Come back to find her reading an erotic comic book--MISTY by James McQuade. My dad gave it to me years ago. It wasn't my thing, but I kept it because McQuade really was my dad all over--anti-fundamentalist, anti-censorship, but rebelling in terms defined by the religions he can't stand--too angry to be very sexy, with a sexist, sadistic edge. In short... a classic American guy! Will Zooop think I bought this book, feel like that about women? I blush like a flame... and have to explain it's from my dad. She gawks, can't imagine her dad giving her something like that...
Golden Gate Park is jammed today. We park up by Stow Lake. Zooop the psychic trainee can't find her Psychic Fair (insert giggle!) so I lead her. Cute skaters all over, dancing down paths. We cut through the Arboretum. By the duck pond, old people with strange makeup sit glaring in disapproval at young skaters with matched Mohawks. Fluorescent lipstick that slid onto your nose is SO much more respectable than green spiky hair...
THE PSYCHIC FAIRE, in the Hall of Flowers. Wow, it smells just like sixth grade! How do they get the flower-smell out and the desperation-smell in? Does it come in a spray can? Lots of Institute people, lots of balloons and booths and table... but a shortage of us victims. So each booth is eager to chomp on me. I feel wary, reluctant.
I do sit for a free healing. A pale blonde asks my permission to mess with my aura, etc; I say "yes", pleased she asked first. She shuts her eyes and feels her way in. I feel only mild goodwill from her, not a strong healing field, but I do sense it; the real thing. "So much stuff going on!" she exclaims. "Other people have high expectations of you, look to you, and you feel this as obligation." Not too specific, but true, and just sitting and listening makes me notice my own agitation and calm down. I feel much less wary at the end--willing to play now. Not a strong psychic, maybe, but honest. I genuinely feel better, and what I sensed from her reminded me that I pick up this stuff myself, and I always have. That's my skeptic dad sneering inside me... not me.
Zooop meets classmates after classmate. Amazing--not one attracts me! A geek gallery. Where are all Zooop's hot friends? I want the OTHER psychic faire, where all the babes are!
An Australian woman says "It's good you're together--you look different but underneath you're a highly compatible couple." We stifle laughter and string her along. I'm single and came here to meet girls, and Zooop's married to someone else...
The next two psychic grad students both ask the same question: 'What brought you here?' And rather than say 'my ditzy friend did,' I find myself saying: 'I came to learn how to protect my boundaries, close myself off, NOT be psychic when I don't want to.' And I'm afraid that's true.
"Hey, a workshop on Kundalini energy!" says Zooop. After the geek parade I'm turning reluctant again, especially if we have to pay, but it turns out the flyers Zooop brought mean we can take it free. "Oh well, why not, then..."
What's Kundalini, you ask? Visualize a snake of energy rising up your spine, activating all the chakras (stations on your Muni line, so to speak) more or less in order--pelvic floor (basic survival instincts), genitals (sex, desire, fertility), navel/belly (willpower, "gut instinct", self-defense), heart (moods and emotions), throat (expressing yourself, communicating and community), center of head (thought, reason, conscious perception), and "crown", top of head (intuition, spirituality, union with the world). Grossly simplified of course, but the real point to grasp is: some meditations are just peaceful stress reduction, but Kundalini is meant to transform you. It's therapy with the gloves off. Waking up blocked or repressed areas can have bizarre effects!
Naturally, artists and kooks and San Franciscans love Kundalini.
The Kundalini Workshop is in a loud, hot, stuffy backstage nook, behind a curtain in the exhibit hall. A loudspeaker just outside periodically announces more classes. It's like camping in an airport lobby! I say "Uh, could we move outside to the Arboretum lawn, or under the trees... where it's quiet?" The rest are silent--till one other student says "I'd rather stay here." Aliens are among us, what else can explain it? Making our world into a big stinky airport because they evolved on an airport world and they love that noise and jet-fuel perfume... Doesn't it explain a lot?
Since the maniac dissents, our teacher gives in to inertia, and holds the class here, between loudspeaker-blares, in the hot airless dusk. Ohhhhkay.
He complains, with a look at me in particular, "Could you please calm your auras and ask any spirits or guardians to go outside? I sense that some of you guardians don't want Kundalini knowledge popularized, but people come here for a reason, and I intend to teach responsibly. Please don't interfere with the other students; they have a right to learn."
The teacher admits kundalini is often thought of as esoteric and risky for novices to handle. "But that's because it spontaneously arises to help in crises. So people assume it CAUSED the trouble it's there to cope with. Not true! Like fearing firetrucks because buildings around them tend to burn down."
He just found a reprint of an old, half-comic half-serious article in NEW TIMES, "Kundalini Crack-Ups." About the only article I really like on the subject of meditation's freakier side effects--and it's from way back in 1978. I start to respect the guy. He's done some homework!
He keeps it very basic--I don't learn much new. But when I go inside and look around (sphere in your head, the sixth chakra, blue, calm clarity--the control tower, to continue our airport theme) I feel the tension of the last few days, my dream-amnesia and moods and stress all collecting in a hot heavy lump in my guts as big as a gallon jug. Kundalini exercises slowly lift it; my mood swings as the burden passes my heart, then I feel choked as it rises through my throat, then a headache as it rises to my eyes. Try to fountain it out the top of my head like a whale spouting, but a lot gets stuck. My head starts hurting--luckily, mild. I bargain with the blocked stuff, say "Don't make me sick today, come back tonight in dreams, I won't ignore them as I have been since Tuesday when all this self-sabotage started. I promise to face the issue... whatever it is."
And the pain listens! It ebbs--but doesn't drain away entirely. It eyes me like some astral parole officer. I better face my dreams tonight!
Afterwards, I feel stupid. I know the techniques, and they work--yet I haven't used them much. Refuse to take care of myself! Why'd I let all that stress collect?
Zooop says "You just need discipline. A whip!"
"But that's how I got like this, from people disciplining me too much. I know this is good for me, it even FEELS good. I still don't do it. You shouldn't tease me about it, you neglect yourself too." She admits it's true.
VALERIE OR ABBY?
Outside, I say "Let's walk through the Oval and by the museums." I'm unsure why I want to--it's frustrating to watch all these girls I can't talk to skate on by, hips rolling sexily, legs elongated by skates. But intuition wants to go that way.
Sign a couple of petitions, about saving the rainforest and boycotting Mitsubishi. I'd still rather be dating a nice psychic girl.
Sculpted stone sphinxes, outside the De Young Museum. A huge bronze wine-urn by Gustave Doré, that's figured in my dreams, covered with satyrs and grapevine-nymphs in an oddly chaste 19th-century orgy. I'm showing Zooop the weirder images around the bottom (drunk cherubs kissing giant flies) when a voice from the far side of the urn says "Chris?" Slim beautiful blackhaired fox-faced girl--Valerie! Hugs me warmly.
I tell Zooop "She's moving in next week!"
Valerie says "Huh?"
I look again. Isn't it her? "Chris, I'm Abby." I gape--she looks utterly unlike the Abby I remember from before her Israel trip, who was plumper, skin different color and texture, face rounder, hair dark but not crow-black, and wavier... I wonder who this nonexistent Memory Abby is. My face-recognition skills are just terrible--or has she changed that much? I tell her my confusion, say "and this woman Valerie who's moving in looks just like you, it's eerie."
I wonder. When I see Valerie next will she look quite different?
I'm very happy to see Abby, moved and excited she remembers me, and embarrassed I mistook her. And attracted, strongly. She's taking classes, unsure what she wants to do, but she's sure blossomed. Gives me her phone number. I give her mine. Leave feeling good, warm and sexy inside. Scared too, so I want to act slowly cautiously. Worry I'm only ready to flirt like this, collect proof I'm attractive; fear I can't go further. But maybe I'm ready to.
On the wall of a echoing tunnel, find a scrawled Chinese poem. Start to translate. Zooop says "I didn't know you can read Chinese." Well, I can't any more; get stuck every line! Know most of the words, but they slide like pebbles.
Like a face you can't name. Like a dream that won't quite interpret.
Zooop's hungry, wants to go home. Me too--getting hungry and cold and tired. Zooop's quite lost, though she says she's biked all around here. I lead her back to her car. So weird to live in a world where she trusts others to lead her back to safety. I never do. Don't trust them to be competent. Know where you are!
Home to bed, recalling my promise to recall and write my dreams faithfully tonight, looking for origins of that hot, strange, heavy feeling...
My companion and I skulk through a warren of booths or rooms with no locks on the doors--not too private! And we need privacy, for our business. Our leader looms down the hall, stalks toward us like a velociraptor--a hulking man with a fierce aura. He guides us into a room and closes the door.
I wasn't joking about velociraptors. He's a weird creature, dinosaurian, but like a roughed-in statue: muscles too simple, just a slab of a neck, a big-jawed head. Is his skin that thick, or are muscles actually missing? Could be a cyborg. Whatever he is, he's the only one who knows this business. I turn up our boombox so others will hear, and know the room's occupied, and keep out. Best we can do, without a lock.We talk under the music, in low private voices. It's time for our next move in the hunt.
The dinosaur hands me the Hidden Box. Wow, he GOT it! Impressive. I never really thought he would. "Open it!" he orders. I'm scared to. It's a dangerous secret--rumored to contain the Treasure itself. But that belongs to someone dead--won't the ghost take vengeance on us? Even if not, everyone ELSE will be after us if we're found with it. Was it buried here? Or brought here?
Only the dinosaur knows for sure.
I open the box. A board game's inside. Little boxes hold game-counters. They're called 'dominos' but they aren't--they're plain round lensy chips, black or white, like Go stones--or pills. The game board has spots marked on it for the initial set-up. It isn't symmetrical. Represents a real-life situation, with mostly full-sized stones marked, but at least one small circle is labeled 'the kid.' It's the scenario of an old robbery or murder, something from the history of the treasure. And now all the games start here.
Under the game pieces and board, down in the bottom of the box, is the Hoard. Big flat coins, dozens. Though not as many as I expected. Of course I don't know how valuable they are. But I wonder if the leader of our group maybe stashed a personal reserve somewhere--he promised us a three-way split, but it it really? He seems so fierce and suspicious. I think he's capable of cheating us.
But what else can I do but follow his lead? He knows where the hoard is, I don't. A small share is better than none.
And I can't fight him over it; I'm Deerish-American. Slender, short-furred, with sharp senses useful for a hunt like this... but I'm timid down to my genes, and built to run, not fight. Wouldn't last a second against the dino man. Our third partner is a mammal with some teeth and claws--stronger than me, but no match for our dinosaur leader. Not even both of us together.
We have to trust his promise--trust him. Even if we don't.
Follow the dinosaur's lead a while. Expect to feel angry, heavy, moody. No choice! I haven't the strength to defy him--he'll just give me a headache till I go through it. And he may truly be on to something.
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