Isis Helps Terri Garr
Dreamed 1988/3/27 by Chris Wayan
Note: this is my favorite example of a distractable dream. It wanders off into the kind of mad associations we expect from dreams... only, each time Japanese mythology or hippies with backhoes or babies in cybercars or Nigerian ob/gyn clients lead THIS dream off track, it jerks back to its central thread: how to cure insecurity (played here by Terri Garr, from "Tootsie").
This dream suggests that dreams in general may more coherent than they let on; they may be CHOOSING to wander like that. Channel surfing! My dream, though clearly tempted, always found its theme again.
1: I GAVE MY GLOVE
I'm playing baseball with the characters from "Tootsie". I'm the catcher. They all have mitts but me. I ask for one but the players say "We're all out!! No gloves at all, not even ordinary ones." OW! It hurts to catch the ball bare-handed. My friend Belle rummages through the supply box on the sidelines, but she yells "Sorry, Chris, I really can't find one in here." Makes me mad! I just donated the old catcher's mitt my PE teacher gave me in way back in 7th grade--but even it is gone, in use. I gave my glove, but don't get any glove back. Feel cheated.
Now I'm at bat, but I'm bewildered. Is this softball or hardball? Can I expect an easy pitch? And why's my bat like a broom, am I a witch-batter? It's huge and brushy at the end, with so many branches I'm sure to hit the ball, but... isn't it kind of weak? Is this cheating or fair? I'm not even sure of the RULES!
The pitcher tosses the ball, a slow lob, but I was asking the umpire something, and he decides not to count it. It was a ball anyway, over my head.
Right over my head.
Everyone's staring at the ball right over my head.
Perhaps I'm not making myself clear. The ball stopped, balanced EXACTLY on top of my head... parked there in a shallow cup atop my baseball cap, a thick squashy hat someone gave me. I feel strange--I thought I was a shaman, not a kappa! (Kappa are Japanese water-spooks with bowls atop their heads.)
Hmmm... If the damn kappa cap has such an affinitiy for baseballs, maybe I should use it as my glove! Makeshift, but enthusiasm counts for something...
2: HEALING TERRI GARR
A hit to left field... the Cat Twins out there race for it. This is Bay Area baseball, so we can't have species discrimination, of course. Many animals are on the teams. The two cats in left field count as one player, as they're too small to cover it solo.
The ball field is cluttered, and smaller than regulation... I'm playing near Terri Garr. As smart, sexy, and insecure as her role was in Tootsie. But stressed out--when we're at bat she sits beside me on the bench and says "I feel really ill." I try massaging her back, but it doesn't help. A black cat walks up. Hey, it's ISIS! She starts to purr. Puts paws on Terri, and licks her. Terri Garr begins to heal!
Isis the cat and Terri Garr met on an old Star Trek show, they played rivals in love. A jealous triangle: Isis played an alien supercat with a pet man, named Gary 7. Terri Garr was a gifted Earth girl attracted to Gary, but how could she compete with a brilliant cat-girl who Gary could pet in public? And tease Terri and get away with it too--being "just a cat." Isis could choose to appear as a woman or a cat. Ah, deniability!
I always thought that was a pilot for a spinoff, where the three of them would have adventures and squabble over who got petted... Guess no one else liked it. But at least they became friends--I'm glad to see their rivalry on the set was just acting.
Huh! Isis seems to be healing Terri. Maybe her powers on the show weren't all just special effects!
Yoko Ono is a friend of Terri's too. Terri and Isis and I go see her latest show. She's performing in a little avant-garde theater in San Francisco, a show called Sing Along With Yoko. Healing rituals! Several hundred people in seats and standing. A very mixed bunch, but I notice not much COLOR, mostly black and white outfits. Sober sober sober. Punks, avant-garde, high school kids from Japan in uniforms... ah, that's why. Yoko seems to be a common point between straight Japanese kids and dissident Americans.
She sings "Build a downtown grocery store in Palo Alto, NOW!" Oh, that Yoko! Always a cause. But can I criticize? Terri is healed by the song, and Palo Alto needs a grocery. Both Isis and Yoko really can heal.
No jokes about caterwauling please.
3: PLEASE GO LUCID, STUPID
My hippie housemates like the idea of digging a tunnel between our house and the only other commune in the downtown area. They rent a backhoe and ask me to dig it discreetly in the dark of night. I think it's possible, but why bother? What's so terrible about walking across the street?
Yet here I am in a diesel cab, revving the hoe, and checking out parked cars in the tunnel's path. One bothers me; I keep glaring at it, suspicious. It's still when I look, but it slinks off a bit whenever I glance away. I know 1980s cars can't do this, but I deny what I saw rather than conclude I'm dreaming...
A woman comes out on her steps and call "Where's my baby, did you take my baby??" Inevitably it's in the sneaky car, bundled in the back seat. "You were trying to steal my baby!" I feel uneasy: a hippie in a midnight backhoe isn't going to be believed, not when he says "The car did it, it drove itself..."
4: FURRY HANDS
Luckily things change again, so now I'm not a hippie driving a backhoe through the yard at midnight, but a respectable hospital administrator, walking up a canyon on our grounds at lunchtime, talking with two... clients? One's a wealthy, overweight Nigerian woman, very pregnant. I've just accepted her as a patient, but only said so indirectly. She flew here specifically to see me, yet I'm reluctant to talk about fees! Too embarrassed about money. I think I'm otherwise a pretty good administrator, but shyness about money's always been my worst flaw.
My other case is an underweight nurse who works here. She has prosthetic hands, but they're clumsy; she hopes I can redesign them, saying "The only model of hands that gripped any better were too furry; they were for cat-people." Hers has elastic webbing between thumb and forefinger, like a baseball mitt; she can hold things, but lacks much dexterity. She says" I don't care so much about strength--it's the numbness I can't stand. I need to feel."
I know I can design a better, more sensitive hand, but can I hook it up to her nerves? If she knows cat-people hands work, what's her problem? Just their looks? Why not become part cat, if it works? She can always shave her paws if she doesn't like their looks. I always thought they looked cool, myself.
5: FREEING TERRI GARR
Hospital halls, dark as dungeons. Stone walls, sandy floors like a cave! And... monsters. I slink cautiously through the dark, near-blind. I only hope we see them before they see us.
ACK! Hit hard! Jump back! It comes again, kick, spin, oops! It has friends! Kick...
A bad fight. One thing came out of the river--long dark greasy brushlike hair, pale vampire-skin. We killed it, but that didn't stop it, it was already dead... That was a bad one.
We had to kill a small Tyrannosaurus, too. I think. At least it wasn't moving when the fight was over. Mixed feelings about that; it was frightful yet beautiful. Could we have befriended that one? Pure predation seems somehow cleaner than undead parasitic betrayal like the river thing. Even though being eaten leaves you just as dead.
We're here to spring my friend's lover, a catgirl locked up here in a dungeon with a black iron grille. My friend calls, and she comes out of the dark to the light. He clasps her through the bars. We pry the grille off at last. She braces on the bars with her forepaw as she comes out... weak and ill, a thin, dusty black-furred cat, leopard-sized. She's wearing sunglasses. I'm disappointed, I wanted to see her eyes... She takes them off at last--yes, Terri Garr's face, more human than most cat-people look.
But so drained!
Her boyfriend looks closely at those hollow eyes and says "The monsters have poisoned her!" He goes off with her in desperate hurry: if they don't get the medicine fast she'll die.
What's freedom if you're too sick to grasp it?
6: JAM ON LYNX MOUNTAIN
I chase a monster up Lynx Mountain, across the snowdrifts. That's why lynxes have such big hands, you know. Living snowshoes! Spread the weight enough and you can walk on snow, powder, clouds...
Nearing the top now. We emerge into brilliant sun, onto a craggy island in a cloud-sea. Ahead's a bright cheery hotel on the summit. A ski resort. The big jump's on the far side. But is that white stuff truly snow? Not so sure now! Could it be... flowers? Or... animals? The skiers crowd round, I can't see the ground, they jam me in, until... it's a jam session!
In the studio, I just sit and listen. I'd like to participate but don't. The ski slope is made of bright blankets. I thought my eyes were open, but only one is, the right. See designs--birds, nature, in brilliant reflective metallic thread--so complex and bright I didn't notice one eye was closed. Try to open it...
STRUGGLE! My eye is stuck. When I do get it open a bit, it hurts--watery, blurry images. But immediately different: I suddenly see depth.
And then... a very different kind of stereoscopy: I also see different objects, different designs...
A second, utterly unexpected universe!
Then my hearing goes stereo too. Didn't even realize it was in mono!
My left ear and left eye seem more powerful than the right.
The band leader is the director in TOOTSIE. Thinks he knows me, but he doesn't. I dislike him. My cousin Barbara plays my synth--hooked to a huge sound system. My friend Scott plays guitar. No one will lend me an instrument, though I donated my synth to the band!
It's like the glove, all over again! Somehow all my stuff disappears.
They tune--the keyboard's suddenly a quarter tone off. Scott says "I'll leave one string off my guitar, that'll solve it!" I don't think so... that thing is sour.
They play a vaguely familiar song; the tune's rather like EVOLUTION RAG by the Incredible String Band. The rhymes even parallel Evolution Rag, explicit references: "evolution up the slopes of the sea..." Someone else also recognizes it and says so. I'm astonished and delighted. My tastes aren't as obscure as I think.
Now I feel nervous: no excuse to hold back. Time to join the band!
The song-lyrics are about this mountain. But the snow isn't snow: it WAS animals! Snowshoe Hares, flocking to a salt lick.
A chorus line of weird little hammery creatures, with tiny bodies and long spidery legs, dance around us, dressed in flat draping paisley banners, like the banners on Tudor trumpets.
All the animal people start to dance...
And amid the splendor of the music and pageantry and animals dancing, I wake.
NOTES ON WAKING
Isis has spoken.
THREE DAYS LATER...
At work, Belle comes up and asks me, out of the blue, "Do you happen to have an old baseball glove I could give my daughter Paloma?" I like Paloma, and the only glove I have is really too small for my hand now, so I say "Sure."
So I go home, and open the box where I kept that glove from my childhood, given to me in seventh grade by the only PE coach I ever considered a friend.
But, impossibly, the glove is gone.
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