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Saltflat Fair

Dreamed 1984/7/11 by Wayan

Bearded man at a fair by the Morton Salt Ponds in Redwood City. Digital dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

I'm driving south on Bayshore Freeway. Traffic so dense and slow I feel trapped between exits. Could take an hour to get off. To my right, over the marshes round the saltpiles and evaporation ponds of Redwood City, and that new multiplex movie theater, and the canal... I see a fair. Scruffy people, ex-hippies with beards. A rock concert?

And a swap meet too. Ooh, bargains! I want to exit the freeway (not that I can here) and go see.

On the other hand, I feel wary; they look tough, more biker gang than hippie. And the site's hot, salty, with no water or shade. Heat's rough for me; I could get sick.

The fair turns into a photo I'm staring at. And then, peering out from amid the bikers & hippies at this salty fair, I see...

ME! Another me.


At work in Stanford Library, a co-worker shows me a photo book--America by Eve Gardner I think. Gardiner? Shots of bikers & hippies; scruffy guys selling junk on mudflats--as in my dream.

And then a crowd scene at a demonstration exactly like the crowd at the Saltflat Fair in my dream. Again.

No wonder there were two of me in my dream. Me now, and me in the future.


It's already controversial to suggest that dreams can sometimes pick up information from afar: other people, remote events, the future. But this dream hints at something more--that if such news is picked up, the dreaming mind may notice the source is odd. Inserting my own face in that photo of the crowd may have been an attempt to flag that something was fishy.

In a lucid dream, the dream experiencer becomes self-aware. But I'm arguing that now and then the dream composer (whoever that is) shows signs of self-awareness. It's often said dreams are just artifacts of the brain doing some housekeeping, cleaning up; but I can no longer accept that as the whole story. I've had too many self-flagging dreams, some far more blatant than this.

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