Life in Lodi is strange enough without the interference of my dreams heaped upon the shoulders of reality.
It seems that with the onslaught of middle age, my dream life becomes more vivid and even more surreal than it used to be. And my first thought? I should paint this stuff.
The increased vividness began sometime last week and has only strengthened.
The dream revolved around a communal house where many of my friends and family lived. It was a pale green, wooden structure, and the head of each bed was somehow connected to the head of several other beds, Tetris-like. In essence, everyone would sleep head-to-head with everyone else. There was much more to the beginning of this dream than that, but the boldest image starts in the house.
I couldn't sleep (probably because I already was), so I got up to go for a walk throughout the hills of Lodi. What? You didn't know we're the hilliest city in the Valley?
On my walk, I descended one gravelly roadway only to see my friend Alfonso descending the opposite hill, dressed in a parka, white dress shirt (untucked), dark blue jeans and suede Keds. We were both in the middle of the road, as there was no traffic.
“We should take a picture of each other on the empty streets,” I yelled.
“U right,” he yelled back in a cartoon bubble. “Car,” he added.
I turned in time to see a set of headlights coming from behind me. It was just headlights, no car, which passed me by. The dream ended.
But wait, there's more.
Early this Monday morning, as my wife was getting ready to go work, I woke up long enough to say goodbye. She urged me to get back to sleep, and I wasn't about to argue. She gathered up her lunch and red knapsack, got her sweater on and headed out the door, closing and locking it as quietly as possible.
I lied in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me again.
“I'm not going to fall back asleep, this is ridiculous,” I thought. So, logically, I got up. I began to move toward the kitchen when I saw her knapsack and lunch bag sitting on the table. Just then, the door began to open, and my wife came back through. Her fair blond hair, usually straight, was curled. She was frantic.
“You forgot your lunch,” I mumbled.
“I forgot my lunch.”
But instead of going into the kitchen, she hurried past me. It wasn't right. I shook myself awake. I had only fallen back asleep for a few moments.
Again, I decided to get up. As I reached for a pair of socks in a bedside drawer, I realized that there was no drawer, but a gaping, jagged hole on the nightstand.
Something with claws handed me a pair of socks through the hole. Just a little freaked out, I gave the socks back (I didn't want to anger the Keeper of the Socks), and promptly woke up.
I realized something was amiss at the front door. It was, in fact, the front door — and front of the house — that were amiss. That is, a-missing. The entire facade of our dwelling was torn off.
This went on, getting stranger and stranger, at least 10 more times, my brain tricking me into thinking I was actually awake, until the alarm clock went off.
As I write this, I'm convinced the the alarm has yet to wake me, and my only thought when I do wake up is, “I gotta paint this nonsense and share it with others.”