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Vow Chop Door

Dreamed 1997/1/26 by Chris Wayan


I dream I'm on a suburban street across from a mall. I have a huge erection, and I'm chanting an Erection Vow. I chant:

"My Christmas present to me,
my vow this New Year,
is "find an easy-going girl." No more
grand dramas and fears. No more
getting sick from sheer
stress. True love? What's that to me?
I let me be me, and let her be!
Don't stifle my feelings like with Raven.
Show them freely. Show her me."
Not very romantic, but up till now, love's just been a word to me; I grew up neglected and battered. For me, it's progress.


But as I stand and vow, I'm holding a huge paper-cutter blade. The old kind, that comes down like a guillotine, not the new safe ones. AND IT'S TEN FEET LONG. While I vow, I've been absent-mindedly slicing up parked cars, and dragging the metal into my car! I plan to take it home and weld it into one new home-made car. Up till now I've felt no guilt about stealing slices off people's cars: "It's just one piece off each, they can spare it." Slicing cars with a papercutter: sketch of a dream by Wayan

But now that I look at what I'm doing, I pause. Just sliced the end off an ancient pickup, with a wooden truck bed and a cheap fiberglass campershell. Aside from the right tail light (or turn signal?) screwed into the wood, the slice is just a heavy chunk of wood, 150 cm long, maybe 10x10 thick. Nothing more. I'm ripping off poor people--nobody with a funky old car like this can afford to replace a light. I feel guilty and lift the beam and slide it into the back of the truck and slink off with my other 'finds.' From the truck bed I hear a woman's sleepy voice--"Huh, what? Ow!" And then she starts crying! I dumped that piece of lumber on a woman sleeping in her car!

Badly shaken, I scurry to my car to escape before she can see my license plate. As I do, I start to wake up again--and realize that my idle, guilty pausing may have saved me from being a murderer: one or two more slices and I'd have chopped off her head or feet. And yet I didn't even NOTICE I was committing crazy crimes--theft, vandalizing the cars I mutilated, stealing for a car I don't even need, have no skills to build, and which I'm going about in the least practical way imaginable.

I wake up uneasy.

So my unconscious feels over-entitled, stealing slices of things. What? Dividends, living on investments? Wait--I DID use an old guillotine-type papercutter, to trim a booklet I printed for my friend Valerie. Hmm... I'm making art-gifts again, rather than just saying "I like you." Can't just call her, have to wait till I've made the perfect gift! Thanks Mom! You prepared me well for love and life... in 12th-century Japan.


A few days later I'm biking across San Francisco to therapy, then to the gym, then to buy food, then to meet with Lily Bob and Alder about house-buying, And Dawn has free tickets to an art event too, the Anon Salon. But it starts late, 11 PM. I'll be exhausted by then... I'm biking from Dawn's house (we've been drawing) in Noe Valley. Skirt Dolores Park, pass Mission High--students getting out. Castro, Duboce Triangle, the lower Haight.

I feel a funny sense of mission and expectation, like this route is special. Atop the hill at Scott and Fell I stop for a red light. A taxi pulls up beside me. A passenger opens his door without looking and knocks me into the parked car on the curb side. Gouges my leg. Not bleeding, but it'll be a deep bruise. I'm furious and swear at him. He scurries off without a word of apology.

Well, now I can't go to the gym--can barely bike or walk at all. He really doored me!

Strange: now my sense of expectation is discharged. I came here just to meet him here and get doored! "'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd." Makes no sense, but it wasn't random. The sense of foreboding and necessity was as clear as it gets--my unconscious knew about this little drama. What is this, did I bite his leg off in a past life?

I wobble slowly down the hill and across to my therapist's office. I tell Shelley the dream of slicing cars because rich people can afford it. Her interpretation? Surprised, she says: "A man was caught this week on Telegraph Hill, slashing tires just because the owners were rich enough to HAVE cars!" Weird.

Bike slowly home, aching shaking. I'm a little bit in shock I think. It starts to drizzle.

Home in bed I think bitterly "Well, that sure kept me from going to the Anon Salon, meeting any single girls. We can't have that."


Even my therapist saw it as psychic, but some part of me still denied it--see, my dream didn't exactly echo either the news or my personal experience, but blended them. I expect dreams to reverse, exaggerate, use metaphor; but my inner skeptic demands psychic dreams stay literal! Not till I summarized the events days later did I really face how clear the prediction was--with a simple ironic reversal.

I absent-mindedly chop cars with a big hinged blade and hurt someone; four days later a guy in a car absent-mindedly chops me with a hinged metal blade, hurting me.
So be skeptical of skepticism. Whatever ESP is, dreams incorporate it like any other input, using it literally or metaphorically or ironically. Dreams are under no obligation to suddenly get all literal just to prove the case for ESP! They have their own agenda.


The two apparent sources of the dream, one clairvoyant or telepathic (the Telegraph Hill car-vandal), one predictive (the dooring) have a common element. I pick up two other men's destructiveness and paint myself as perpetrator. To warn me I too can be a jerk? Freud would say so. Yet a few hours later, I was victim, not perpetrator. I now think the dream was warning me that I assumed all dreams are internal and show my own dark side--ignoring how often they warn of others' evil.

Plus a second practical warning: not to fight with the guy who'd soon injure me. He wasn't malicious; just an absent-minded jerk.

LISTS AND LINKS: holiday dreams - oaths and wishes - nightmares - theft - oops! - blades - violence - trances - therapy dreams - bikes - blindness psychic dreams - precognition - how my Freudian dad misinterpreted his dream of The Murders

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