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Home > Magazine > General > Jeff's Dreams

Jeff's Dreams
October 08, 2004

Probably most folks think that other people's dreams is dumb. But ya never know. In case there are dream buffs here, here are some of my typical dreams.

I recently had a doozy. It was too beautiful. Here goes: I'd found several areas in the total wasteland of a suburb that I now live in where people lived as actual humans. There was a scene with a small grocery stand on a small road behind people's homes along our local (blighted) river. A 50-something man was actually standing outside buying something from one of these stands as we walked by. He was not golfing or driving and it wasn't a big-box store. The weather was mixed: across the way from where I was was a pond with cattails around it, a flooded area of the river. It was frozen over with nice ice and a husband, wife and boy were ice-skating on it. They were working on their speedskating technique in a laughing, carefree way. They wore casual nordic outfits. Their hats matched---they were part of an outdoor activity club that didn't involve huge expense, driving, segregation, noise, pollution and obesity. They were enjoying playing as a family and enjoying the fresh air on a usually-neglected natural feature. We rode our beater bikes into the town center (which actually existed, unlike now). It was a bit like Ann Arbor. We coasted to a stop and looked around. I recognized a guy my age (in his 40's) from high school. He hadn't moved away, unlike everyone else. And he was riding an old citybike with a smile and tossed hair. He wasn't golfing either. Then I started crying in the dream. The thought that there was actual culture where I lived was too much, too wonderful. Then I woke up.

My most common dream is a bitter-sweet one where I find a great old neighborhood in some town I used to live in. (So-Cal beaches, L.A., Boulder, Denver, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Camden.) It usually has a fine old bookstore. Or it'll have a grand old building with a bunch of classicly sociable businesses in a classic downtown setting, like a lunch counter, a newstand, movie theater, nut-shop: it's integrated into the life of the town, with lots of different kinds of people coming and going thru its tall, heavy doors---it has nooks and crannies, an atrium, tall ceilings, worn marble. Sometimes it's just a nice road for biking that goes thru a decent suburb---maybe even one that goes thru the neighborhoods of other dreams and places I've lived. I always feel like I've been there before. And, in truth, I've been CLOSE. They're set just a couple blocks away from something I really know. I strain in the dream to get the exact bearings. I usually get it and figure it out. I finally remember just where that cool place is. I want to go there again. In the dream it seems like I'm getting under way to get there. It's excruciating. I'd probably actually start driving to find some of these places today if I was footloose.

I also commonly have sinking sailboats and bad-landing airliners in my dreams. The boats are always good enough---I love a boat---but they're not doing too well in the waves or even in the quiet harbor. Things seem great at first, but we spring a leak. The airplanes are always trying to stay in the air while flying between tall buildings in city centers---this is way before 9/11. We have to take off by flying under an expressway then bank hard to go between some buildings. Sometimes we don't do too well.

New Dream, 4/05:
I had a dream about buying a little ramshackle cottage up north and first visiting it with friends. It was a dug-out cottage, like it was dug into the ground for the lower walls. The dirt was then plastered and whitewashed with red and black trim, with oval rugs on the dirt floor and armchairs and windows up level with the ground and an A-style roof overhead. It was tarpaper clapboard construction in a 1930's style. The ceilings were pretty low. Everything was tighter-in than in modern construction. It had belonged to an old lady who died. It was just as she left it: worn out, tiny, lots of nooks and crannies full of this'n'that, little closets one foot wide, a two foot square bathroom with accordian door. The living area was maybe 12 feet long by 8 feet wide, with the living done at one end of it. The several easychairs were facing close to each other, with little lamps on stands and wire magazine racks, and a wood stove at the very end. It was all very cozy because the dug-out aspect resulted in rounded corners and edges. While our friends were hanging out chatting I found a little curtain which opened to a narrow shoulder-height whitewashed trench about 2 feet wide leading to another room-area which had a couple stoves in it and lots of shelves and curtained-off areas and a sleeping area up shoulder-high in a corner with an old mattress and storage underneath. It was kind of an indoor-outdoor area with a roof over it all but open on a couple sides to the elements above the shoulder-high dug-out whitewashed area. It had vinyl flooring put over the dirt. Oilcloth tablecloths. I thought, Hey they must've done a lot of canning in here. We didn't really know how big the place was that we bought or how much land we had bought. We thought it was just a rundown shack on a lot. I was exploring it for the first time. I looked out and saw a couple old one-bed travel trailers stashed here and there. And an old white wooden one-car garage. And a couple tattered, flattened plastic-sheet greenhouses about 8x15 feet in size. Oh, I thought, they had gardens, too, in cold weather---that's probably how they got so many veggies to can. A little trench led to the greenhouse areas. Another trench led to yet another room---only this time a little boy was in there! I figured he must be a neighbor boy---there was another white shack 100 feet from ours. He was fiddling with the knobs of more stoves. They were old ornate stoves from the 1920's. I had a hard time figuring out how to turn them off, what with all their flips and levers. The boy was a little retarded. A trench led to yet another room, only this one looked lived-in! Similar but tidy and newer. Then I saw two people. It was the neighbor's house! I said Hi and they said Oh hi, make yourself at home, yeah, there was an arrangement between the houses. I wondered what that meant but then I realized that we owned both houses. They were the old lady's family and when her estate everything that meant the whole shebang. It seemed fine to me, to share this labyrinth of cozy, shacky rooms with these people who were still busy hunting, fishing and canning veggies to get by. I would actually like such a cottage.

Here's a link to quick tellings of other dreams.

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