Dreamed 2000/8/28 by Chris Wayan
I try to work on the World Dream Bank, but friends and housemates keep interrupting--John wants more info on color problems on the Web, Alder's mad at Yirko for not talking to her, so she talks my ear off...
So I pack my paints up, and head across town to Fort Mason, to sign up for an acrylic painting class. The teacher begs me to register for a figure-drawing class but actually paint in the acrylic class (never mind why--long bureaucratic story!) After seeing the drawing class, I'd rather TAKE it--some sexy classmates, a great model, a friendly new teacher. But I smell fixative in the room. With my chemical sensitivities it's too dangerous. Back to the acrylic ghetto for me! Still, I have fun there. My friend Kate is there, and also Ruth from my previous drawing class. She's cute, with her funny anime voice. Ruth's actually majoring in art now.
I rough in one dream painting, then just play with paint on a smaller panel. Mediocre, but at least I'm painting again. My housemates can't stop me here!
Home, dinner, TV. "Ally McBeal": a prisoner spent 18 years making a trampoline out of saved-up rubber bands and bounces over the wall... one month before his release. Meanwhile, the lawyers spend most of their time fussing "I can't find love"--when they're all as workaholic as... well, me. And less honest. Who could love these liars?
Hmm. All through the show, I spot elements from my dreams last night. If I'm picking up the future again, why predict stuff as trivial as TV? That's me. Do the impossible--but make sure it's pointless! Like that guy who boinged over the prison wall.
1: Jesus Colonnade
My friends and I are on a quest. You have to pass various tests set up by elusive beings, to find the treasure. I wonder if the testers are angels. They do all have strong auras, though they seem busy, even a bit harried. Are angels workaholic or is middle management pushy? Do angels get overtime?
In the first test that I recall, we're in tropical mountains on a rocky path that follows a ridge down toward a saddle between hills where the path appears to fork. It feels like India. Come to a ruined colonnade--topless, fluted Greek columns in a double row flanking the path, which descends in big stone steps to the junction. But this colonnade-stair is a trap, I can sense it--stepping on those slabs will trigger arrows or falling rocks or trapdoors into pits. I don't know how to proceed.
Then Jesus walks up. Jesus in India? What year is this, anyway? But here he is. He smiles and shrugs and pushes hard against the first column. It topples into the next, crookedly. The second falls across the path and topples others on the far side. Like one-ton trashcans, chunky corrugated stones crash and roll. I jam my fingers in my ears and squint through the flying chips and dust as the trap is buried in tons of stone.
The fallen columns form a new stairway down the mountain. We bow to Jesus and thank him (though I'm unsure he speaks modern English)... and pick our way down through the ruins.
2: The Parabel of the Showers
At the bottom of the slope, we're on a low pass, facing a crag. I was wrong: rather than two choices, both down from the pass to the left or right, there's a third way: straight ahead up the crag on the far side of the pass. Just handholds in a rock face really. We debate for a while then I climb up the rock. The ladder leads to a wide stone chamber with arches looking out in all directions. I assume it was a small temple or a guard-station for some ancient kingdom, but then the shower comes on! Automatic. Yes, the floor is tilted toward a drain. It's like a high-school locker room minus the lockers, carved in stone!
Interesting, mysterious, even beautiful in its way, but... is it what we need? That too may be a test. Mustn't be seduced by dead-end detours.
So I climb back down, and we argue over which way to go from here.
But we argue too long. Our overtime angels get impatient, and pre-empt our choice--they just place us in the next ordeal!
3: A Spiritual Plane
Suddenly a jumbo jet forms around us! We're flying down from the pass. I'm sitting in the pilot's chair. Ahead I see a crowded airfield. It looks more like France than India.
The cockpit is empty! I try the radio, but instead of the control tower, I get some angel who says only "It's your job to guide the plane in." Thanks a lot! Only seconds to go. I yell "I need to make another pass, gimme time to learn the controls!" But... the controls are dead! At first I think the fuel's out and we're gliding in, but it isn't just the engines that don't respond--the plane won't steer, either. I can do absolutely nothing. The plane hits the runway and rolls--we do seem to have landing gear down, but I can't steer it. I think bitterly "Well THIS test is a joke! I have no control here at all. I just have to trust in God or fate or..."
Unable to brake, I just watch as our plane rolls down the runway, through some thirty-foot trees, and over a lawn, then through the parking lot for a software company--luckily, between their two main glass towers. We're hitting some parked cars, but that's good: the impacts are slowing us quickly. The plane eventually lurches to a halt, stopped by a hummocky divider full of trees. I doubt if we killed anyone and the damage was probably under a million--a miracle given what it could have been. So was that the lesson? That we have no control of the Spiritual Plane, but God looks out for us?
"If so" I think, looking out the windshield at an acre of twisted, smoking scrap, "God is a slob."
4: Day-Job Angels
Not long after, I'm leaning on a staff trailer talking with a few of people who set up the tests for us. If they're angels... well, they sound so ordinary! Just folks doing a job. I'm surprised they tell me so much about the working conditions and tight scheduling and office romances... since I'm still in a group undergoing tests! But they confide quite a lot. Lax security.
Well, why not? Their hearts aren't in it. Being angels is just their day job, they tell me. They all want to be actors, not spiritual guides! TV, that's where it's at!
I never knew.
5: Vampire Ghosts
We get to choose our next ordeal. We pick one that'll strengthen our spiritual power by summoning (or maybe exorcising) some kind of spirits. They're powerful servants, but they feed on blood. Ewww! Gross!
To master them, we have to stay up for several days. Short on sleep, we all get irritable. It doesn't help that a storm rages the whole time outside--we're all stuck in the house. Cabin fever just adds to the general raspiness.
And the spirits feel it! They turn wary and skittish as feral cats--wisping around the room but never settling down, flinching if we approach.
Ha! Vampire ghosts are scared of us.
6: Leave it to Miriel
The very last challenge I recall:
We're in my parents' house. The family room has two big lengths of pipe with electrical gear attached. They need to be installed on the roof, replacing a rusty, neglected device. I'm willing to climb up and do it, but my sister Miriel says she will. It seems important to her--a rite of passage, to prove her competence. I defer to her... and wake.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
LATER THAT DAY
Rain! Not much--but even a drop's extraordinary for a San Francisco summer. I just hope those vampire ghosts don't turn out to be literal too. Though they were scared of ME...
That evening, channel-surfing, I stumble on a documentary, Doubting Thomas. St Thomas sailed to Kerala (southwest India) and preached among local Greco-Roman expatriates. Today his church has 20 million adherents! Columned temples mix Hindu & Christian imagery. Christian pilgrims still hike along ridge tops, as in my dream; my shower-hill looks like the hill where St Thomas was martyred. And of course, the Kerala mountains are called the Ghats--the "stairs" or "steps". Jesus on stone steps in India!
My dream looks like a mishmash of Ally McBeal and Doubting Thomas, past and future, TV-watching and ESP, spirituality and farce!
WHAT DID I LEARN?
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