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She Crashes and Burns

Dreamed 2005/5/7 by Chris Wayan


I write up a travelogue for Polesotechnica, a twenty-thousand-mile arc of equatorial islands on Lyr, my model of a huge, low-density sea-world seven times Earth's mass.

In the afternoon, cross the bay to Oakland to meet my friends Bob and Catherine for a movie they want to see: the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm along mostly to see them; don't expect much from the movie. Though the portrait of Zaphod Beeblebrox the two-headed politician has a distinct whiff of George Dubya Bush that I appreciate.

Afterwards we sit in a flowering yard behind a cafe. I'm pretty quiet. The others play "Ain't if Awful" about politics. Everyone agrees yes, it's awful. No actions proposed. They switch to comparing illnesses. I'm getting bored...

At home, try a book by L.M. Modesitt: SOPRANO SORCERESS. Repetitious, depressing. Quit.

Francesca Lia Block: PRIMAVERA. A lot better. A girl grows up in a surreal, magical oasis, leaves it to seek love and her own life. But it makes me uncomfortable, guilty. I'm refusing to set out on MY quest for love... of course unlike the others at the cafe, I do have serious illness limiting my choices.

So I ask my dreams: "What actions can I take now to start? I can't wait until I'm well!"


An English 1920s novel, serialized on BBC-TV. Only I'm there, in the tale, in an elegant seaside resort full of stuffy people--Monty Pythonesque "Upper-Class Twits ." One token bohemian couple keeps deliberately shocking the rest. Slowly their pranks escalate, especially the wife's. Her victims seem merely offended, blind to the woman's increasing desperation and irrationality.

She threatens some lady joggers (in silly, frilly black suits) with twin pistols! When the police are called, she flees by car.

Her husband comes along, but she insists on driving. Wildly, badly, madly. Smashes through a terrace full of empty wooden deck chairs. Splinters fly! Now she careens over a steep hill, and narrowly misses a man trying to fix his car with his young kids in it. At the foot of the hill, she slams down hard. The car bounces right over a parked vehicle, over the low rail beyond, and onto the mess-hall roof. It crashes through the skylight, to land in the crowded dining room... at 100 kph. The place explodes in flame.

A red car smashes through a skylight into a crowded seaside restaurant.
I guess at least half a dozen killed, plus the couple in the car of course. Wrong! In a postscript, the writer says thirty people died.

To me, the exact number matters less than the fact that... just like the upper-class twits, I mistook her suicidal, homicidal rage for a mere need to shock! Because she was a woman--and women are sane.



Hindsight makes me interpret SHE CRASHES a bit differently now.


OK, forget all that. In the last 14 months my illness stabilized, but I had an affair with a bright woman struggling with rage and paranoia... until she lashed out at me so severely I couldn't take it. The relationship crashed and burned. And looking back over my dreams of that time--and the year before it--I find warnings like this, of a woman whose rage I near-fatally underestimate.

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