MILK ADDICTS, SNOW PEOPLE
Dreamed 1974/6/2 by Chris Wayan
It's night. A huge fire in the hearth, burning my feet. But I must not move them, or show pain, for I'm an ambassador of my culture here, and I mustn't show weakness. This is a Moslem place. It's safe in the day, in the white corridors, but going alone outside is risking death; and at night nowhere is safe. Packs of polite young children wander at night; they smile, look around to see if adults are near, and then pull out the knives and sabers and hack their victims into bloody chunks. I barely escape a group in late afternoon in broadleaf green woods at a ruined Frank Lloyd Wright house. They walked down one of the tilted beams in a line, solemnly, in no hurry, and I fled.
The adults are far more civilized: they'll only cut off the hands of an outsider found anywhere they forbid. They chop them with apologetic regret. But they still chop them.
Fleeing a deadly little kid down a whitewashed hall, I enter such an area. I'm caught--I explain fast, with the knife at my wrist, already cutting in a little. I'm let off with a warning--this time. Reprieved!
I don't like these people.
Yet, in the night, I see them dancing, couples scattered in great arcs, each on top of flowing rocks (do they really move? Not sure!) by spiral moonlight, each ray helicing down its long axis... The truth slowly dawns on me as I float invisible over the magic scene: Islam is just a cover story. This community keeps to itself because they're really shipwrecked aliens. Their world is snow; and they only can live here where snow is near. When they know I've guessed, they decide to show me all.
In Northern California, snowy-branched pines stand on Yolla Bolly Mountain. A line of snow people walk onto them, floating as if weightless. They are; with snow, all things are possible. They tell me an underground vein of ice connects this village with the Sierra Nevada, so they can go from here to the rest of the state. I feel more and more sympathy for these castaways despite their violence; they're trying to return home, slowly repairing their ship. I try to fix the radio for them... and half-wake.
Lying in bed, I plan a backpacking trip this summer--supplies we'll need. Powdered milk for protein? My mental lists fade sleepily back into dreaming...
Someone in the group of aliens is behaving strangely. Violent even by village standards! They get worried, and start discreetly guarding me. But one night at 3 AM, sleepless, I walk down a hall. Spot a man down the hall who I never trusted; follow him quietly. He slinks into my room, steals my milk--my hiking milk! I grab him and yell for help. A friend on the alien council comes and pins him down. The thief struggles to drink the milk. I yell to my friend "Drink it so the addict won't get it." For that's what he is: a milk junkie. That's how it affects these people. My friend, after a moment's struggle in his mind, drinks it, a little too eagerly.
I enter an elementary classroom where a friend teaches. I draw her aside and ask her, embarrassed, "Is milk only addictive, or is it mind-altering too?"
"Both," she sighs.
I worry my friend will get hooked; I'm at fault.
After this incident, it's clear to all that they must leave this world: their magic, their floating dance, their songs and basic gentleness is not going to survive in our world, with its innocent traps, like milk--OUR little smiling kids with hidden knives. They must go, before milk addiction hooks them all.
SIX DAYS LATER
I go to a friend's film class, where they show their final projects. One film is a parody of REEFER MADNESS, a "public health warning" film about... milk addiction! "It's turned so many kids to crime and violence! Alert yourself to this public menace!"... and so on.
Now the dream makes sense... if I throw out cause and effect!
The dream's warning wasn't literal; I did turn out to have serious food allergies, but to gluten, not milk. Milk addiction only makes sense as a reaction to the film I saw a week later. The dream rubbed my nose in ESP by violating all I believed about physics... then.
Revealingly, when I indexed my journals for that year, I "corrected" the index to list the dream after the film--it was obvious from the title that the film inspired the dream. I "corrected" my memory too! For years I thought this was just a vivid film-inspired nightmare. But when I went back through the raw notebooks cover to cover, hunting dreams worthy of posting on this site, I was amazed to find the index was false. The dream was a week BEFORE the film!
Anti-ESP skeptics make much of wishful thinking, how humans see pattern in mere coincidence, even distorting memories to heighten drama. This dream's an example of wishless thinking, of anti-dramatic distortion. At the time, I might have grudgingly conceded telepathy was just possible, but predicting the future? No way! That'd interfere with free will! Since I "knew" the dream couldn't anticipate the film, I censored my memories to conform to my culture's notions of linear time! Memory distortion works both ways. Mind what you wish for! Some wish for magic, and turn coincidence into ESP. Some wish for stability and logic... and imagine away ESP! The notion that only the credulous are self-deluding is the most credulous stance of all.
So, like a kid in a village of alien addicts, keep your eyes open. Throw out all the theoretical baggage you can--even so, your deep assumptions still cling to your back. Your personal milk addiction.
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