dream post #1
I'm in a condo in beautiful Steamboat, one of those Summer is for Sports and Winter is for Skiing towns where the rich people flock on weekends and the people who actually work the cash register at the Safeway live in trailer parks ten miles away, just off the interstate. The sounds are pleasure planes and million dollar home construction, the smells are just west of girl scout camp.
Like most of my visits home, I believe (when I book the ticket) that I will enjoy staying for as long as I can. But a week here (and in North Dakota) and I'm spent. The goodwill is turning sour and I can already feel my limbs stiffen with each ensuing hug. Four days to go. I've done the obligatory sprinkling of visits throughout my former hometown to the fractured Stoner relativities of blood and history that mar Fort Fun's shiny surface. These somewhat forced but still cheerful encounters are interspersed with bittersweet pilgrimages to the former homes of girlfriends, crushes, boyfriends and enemies who have systematically moved away from Fort Fun. And yet, I still think when I click that purchase button for the plane ticket, that maybe I'll get to see some friends. But having fled the town myself I can hardly complain.
Noteable to this visit, however, has been the fact that my mother and I convene each morning and recount the most unbelievable dreams. Ever since she dreamed of skiing and sex with Eddie Murphy and I listened, rapt, to the most literal eroticization and hyper-masculinization of a black man I'd ever heard, my mom believes I have a potent interest in her dreams. And I do. Oh yes, I do. We've also managed for this dream talk to be an exchange, something my mother and I are not especially good at. She tells her dream, and I tell mine.
So Wednesday morning, I woke up and shuffled downstairs in the pants my mom has threatened to burn at least five times since I've been home, and listened to her tell me about her dream of a Wild Safari to Africa, which included countless African scouts, during which not a single animal was spotted let alone shot. She doesn't care for hunting and yet she woke up feeling horribly disappointed. I ate the rest of my fiberlicious breakfast cereal with a "hint" of brown sugar, then I told my mother my dream.
I dreamed that I ate another human being. This person I ate, quite genderless yet naked, was awake while I was doing it. The circumstances weren't desperate and I certainly wasn't being secretive, as this happened on the street. It wasn't gruesome, exactly, but it also wasn't clean and neat. I was as methodical finishing leg, then arm, then leg, then arm, as I am methodical in finishing each pile of categorically different food on my waking dinner plate. And this person I was eating seemed to approve of my process. Or at least, I thought they did until my first meal's friend (or acquaintance, I'm not sure) approached me, offering themselves as dessert. As soon as we reached some sort of bizarre agreement, "do you find me worthy enough to consume you?" was my big question, the second person agreed. And then they entered the butcher shop on the street behind us and called the police. My first agreed that I should be prosecuted for agreeing to partake of a second; the head belonging to the person I had just eaten was still animated and offering details of my appearance for a police sketch. So I fled. I ran as fast as I could through clean streets and the kind of greenbelts that only the most canned of suburbs can find beautiful, until I felt my bones tell me that I'd reached a town whose residents, all of them, had done something terribly wrong. I settled there, with people whose features I recognized but whose names I didn't know, and after enough time had passed, I believed I was happy.
My mother shook her head, in that special way she has of locking her eyeballs on me while her head rotates back and forth, back and forth. It gives you the impression that her eyes are the locus of her body, around which everything else flutters and turns. Then she said, "Every time I think my dream is weird, your dream is so much weirder. How is that?"
I didn't have a good answer for that one, beyond the obvious, "Because I'm weirder," or "Because you take dreams even more literally that I do." But I had to confess that this was a first. I've flown a lot, I've killed a few people, I've (twice) rapidly alternated between the positions of penis-bearer and vagina-bearer in some sort of trans/bi body snatchers event, I've even channeled the voice of some powerful, wrathful being (due I think to the ancient electric blanket I was sleeping under), but I have never before dreamed of eating someone. I can only wonder if this was a symptom of the vast quantities of ground beef I consumed while visiting the Stegner homestead in North Dakota.