Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finding My Way Back to Dreamland

I haven't been able to remember my dreams since I lost my apartment three years ago. It's been rather odd, since I used to regularly record my dreams in a pink marble composition book that mysteriously appeared one day. Interestingly, the pink marble composition book also disappeared in the eviction. So I seemed to have lost my old dreams along with the ability to remember new ones.

Sometimes I thought this was because there was too much cement. I always did dream better somewhere rural but come to think of it, even when I was in Taiwan last year or up at a friend's country house, I still couldn't remember any dreams.

On 11th Street, there used to be a pear tree right outside my bedroom window. A truck ran into it at the end of my tenancy and the city chopped it down. It wasn't long after that when I stopped remembering my dreams. Even though the mom and pop of the restaurant downstairs planted a bush of some sort. I began to think of that pear tree as some kind of lightning rod for my dreams.

And maybe there's some truth to that. One morning a month or so ago, I woke up and in that split second before I opened my eyes, I thought I was back on 11th Street in my old bed with the pear tree outside my window in full flower. Then the barking of Cantonese and the grunting of trucks on the Bowery invaded my consciousness and I realized where I was. But that split second with the flowering pear tree stayed with me. It was like my old friend, wherever she was, had somehow finally found me.

A few weeks after that, I dreamed that I said 'I love you' to someone. And then another night, I had a dream about that cute guy at the bank. I think he was dressed in a funny outfit of some sort but I don't remember anything else.  Two nights ago, I woke up with a start in the middle of the night and remembered all of a completely crazy dream, just like the ones I used to have. I was so surprised, I couldn't get back to sleep. So I sat up and wrote it all down:

There was  matador who was showing off to a woman he loved. The entire crowd was fixated as he executed one graceful pirouette after another, so close to the bull, yet dancing away just in time. His cape was made of black velvet. Finally, the matador waved his cape at the bull and the entire audience was struck with the thought that this time, he was not going to be so lucky. Sure enough, the bull came charging at the cape and sank his horns deep into him.

The matador staggers out of the stadium and then suddenly, he turns into a guy with thin blond hair in a light suit who looks sort of like my high school principal. Injured and bloody, he stumbles onto the top of a long metal staircase going down to an exit on the ground floor. There are lots of well-dressed people going up and down the staircase, who scurry out of the way, as the boss (he's now the boss) tumbles down the steps in his death throes.

As he dies, lots of black water begins to seep from the wounds in his body. This is followed by urine. There is so much liquid, it floods the building and creates a pool up to the middle of the staircase. It smells and it's disgusting. Everyone is desperately clambering up the stairs, trying to get out of the fetid water, grimly dealing with the stench. The boss floats upside down in his own putrid water. Then someone takes pity on him, turns him over, and starts to drag him up the stairs in the vain hope that he might still be alive. People applaud and cheer at this exhibit of goodwill.

I look down through the water and see that there are still a lot of submerged people sitting on the benches on the ground floor level of the building, holding their breaths. A few of them fart and bubbles come out of their butt.

What a weird dream, especially after three years of dreamlessness. My subconscious must have a particularly bizarre sense of humor.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

George Washington was in Chinatown

I've probably passed this plaque a million times and never really noticed it. Right on the corner of Bowery and Canal, on that big domed bank that's now HSBC. There's usually a Chinese guy scraping away on a two-string violin under it.


"In 1783, the Black Horse Inn stood on this site and the Bulls Head Tavern adjoined it. Here General George Washington began his triumphal march into the city upon its evacuation by the British November 25, 1783. The Citizens Savings Bank organized in 1860 has occupied this site since 1862 and this building was erected 1924." 

Man, there probably was some party that day. I bet there were drinks on Washington.