I’ve had two recurring dreams in my life. Without them, I would think dreams were merely the chaos of consciousness running through the mind while it’s unplugged from the Great Outlet – kind of a wind of omniscience blowing through the ears. But due to these recurring dreams, I have to think a little differently, sometimes to the point of torment from searching for a meaning. But of course, there’s no real answer on dreams. How can there be? Dreams are located in that place where our logic crumbles. Gravity, time, death, all these absolutes we made up through our interpretation of consciousness are mocked by the Sandman. Prooving the meaning of dreams would be like making cookies with horse apples and chainsaws. Horrible texture, terrible taste.
In one dream, I’m surrounded by tornadoes. I am outside in an open field and compelled to dodge many squiggling thin vinelike tornadoes, tearing across the land all around me. These tornadoes are too small to pick me up but are spinning so fast they would slice right through me like a hot knife through butter. I jump, duck, flip to avoid one after another – a drunk astronaut, forced to play some highly complex version of limbo by a much more advanced alien civilization at some interplanetary outpost way left of Albuquerque. I can barely catch my breath but I keep on dodging. There’s no time to think of another strategy.
Usually there is another person in the dream, just within my vision. Many times, it has been my mother, but it’s also been friends or other supportive people. The last time, it was my girlfriend, Osha. This person – whoever it is – cannot help me for reasons never made known. They shout at me but I can’t hear what they are saying, for the wind screams loud like a frieght train. I can’t run to them, either – another unwritten rule of the dream forbids me from doing so. They just silently scream and point at the tornadoes.
There is always a building, not too far away. It’s usually the house I grew up in, way down in Orange Grove, Texas, though not always. I know that if I can make it to this place, I will be out of harm’s way. But I begin to sink into the muddy ground below me. I’m barely able to dodge the thin tornadoes – they burn my skin as I just miss them. The huge tornadoes loom closer on the horizon. Exhausted, sluggish, I sink deeper into the mud.
I begin to think I might not make it to safety. The huge tornadoes shake the earth. Osha – or mom, or you, or sometimes a kind stranger – are still there, floating on the edge of my vision, screaming silently, pointing at the mammoth twisters.
I forge steps through the mud with all my might, regarding the little tordadoes with abandon. The big ones are coming! Bringing with them the end of all things known. They are miles wide – fat midnight black dancers waltzing drunkenly on Mother Nature as she sleeps off the ruffee they slipped her. Closer, closer. But I can go no further, for I am up to my hips in the mud, I can’t even move my legs. I can’t move my arms either, for some mysterious reason. I’m completely paralyzed. The rain is like broken glass on my face. The wind howls at such a high pitch yet is also thick, heavy – it becomes both sight and sound. Louder and louder, the howls take everything away. Then…I wake up.
The Googleverse steers all explanations of the tornado dream to the general conclusion that they signify a lack of control in one’s life. The fact that mine has a loved one in it, and usually occurs at the home of my childhood, may signify that I have to find closure from something or some event in my past to be able to hear the loved one’s who are there, always in my corner. Whatever…
Friday night, I rode the N-train from Brooklyn to meet Osha in Manhattan. Two very old-school Irish-Italian Brooklyn guys hopped on shortly after I did. One – the more Irish of the two – asked the other – the more Italian of the two – for directions to somewhere in Manhattan.
“Yeah, sure, you get off at yada yada, get on the yada yada…turn left at yada yada…then yada yada bing, yada yada bang, you’re there.”
“Brooklyn, born and raised, but I can’t figure out my way in Manhattan to save my life.”
What happened next is not rare but never ceases to amaze and please me. The two strangers told the short form of their life stories to each other. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Bam! Brooklyn! They’re lives were very similar. Both single, both unemployed. Irish wished he had a job, was asking around to see about one here and there. Italian was not, however.
“My boy Obama’s takin’ care a me, bro. $400 a week unemployment. I had a guy hire me but he can’t gimme steady enough work for the $400 I’m already gettin.’ I tell him I’ll work off the books a bit. I’m set bro. I work when I want. You know I’m used to walking on steel beams that thick (he holds hands about a 1ft. apart)…risking my life for years. I’ll take unemployment for a while. I mean…I’m homeless right now but so what, I got friends and they got couches. I’m happy, that’s all that matters.”
“Oh, yeah,” exclaimed Irish as he pounded Italian’s fist. “And there ain’t no money can buy that for you.”
Somewhere in lower Manhattan, a crazy black man got on the subway. He sat next to me and smelled like he just escaped from a basement containing tons of old newspapers as old and yellow as he was. He carried with him what many crazy people do – plastic grocery bags containing an assortment of plastic bottles, crumpled papers and other articles that are absolutely necessary to survival in his reality that the Educated Class can’t make heads or tails of, therefore refer to the contents as random junk. He occasionally flipped the bird at no one in particular, while he stared straight passed Irish’s eyes and into his brain, as if he was looking around in it for more random junk. His continuous monologue had its own style and was not a slave to punctuation.
“Ha…can you dig?…’Merica…’Merica!…That’s where we at…I ain’t stupid boy…’Merica! s’my country man…I ain’t got Aids…no sir…s’america boy…my country…I mean…it’s dirty, ha ha…fo’ sho’…but, ha ha…dig it…alright…ha ha…”
What does this particular subway ride mean? Further, what does it have in conjunction with the tornado dream? I don’t know. I’m just bloggin.’ But way back in the caveman days we used to huddle around fire so we could see each other at night – sought comfort in seeing those who also managed to avoid the fangs of the day’s predators. Every night, we talked of the hunt, escaping monsters we’d yet to name, pondered that real bright thing in the sky. Every now and then, one of us stood up by the fire and attempted to explain a strange yet oddly familiar world they visited only after they lay down in the cave and closed their eyes. They’re explanation gave us comfort, not because it gave meaning to dreams, but because we all had them – just like we all feared the monsters. The Irish-Italian fellow, the Italian-Irish fellow and the crazy black fellow stood at the fire – showed us they’d avoided the fangs one more day. In the glow of the flames, it doesn’t matter if we speak of dreams or of the waking life, we simply need to show the other’s that we made it back to the fire.
The other recurring dream? I’m on the run – in a car, running up a stariway, swimming across a river, etc. I’ve committed murder or some kind of damnable crime, and I’m running to escape judgment. Everybody knows I’m guilty and everybody knows I’ll be caught, including me. Judgment right on my heels as I quickly approach a cliff, a rooftop, the law waiting on the other side of the river. In every scenario, everyone I know – all my loved ones – are helplessly watcing from the sidelines with pathetic gazes. I’m more fearful of their gaze then the law. Yet I keep running, because that’s the only thing I know to do. But I quit drinking several years ago haven’t dreamt that dream since. Now, it’s just the tornadoes.