Monday, June 27, 2016

My teeth fall out while I'm visiting a professor. Another one puts them back in. (dream)

Image by I, DavidShankbone [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I'm in one of my professors' offices, visiting. It's an orange-painted sewer underneath a subway station.

"Try to take a bite out of this," he says, holding out a blue-gray, rubbery block.

Try? It's definitely not edible. It looks like rubber. I do bite, but I change the way ordinarily do it in order to try to tackle this it. I go slowly. It's rock hard. Somehow, two of my teeth loosen.

That can't have happened...

I roll my tongue against them lightly. They offer no resistance and don't spring back into place. They're definitely out, but might still be dangling by a thread of flesh.

I don't say anything. I do get up, find a way to silently convey my goodbyes and exit.

I need this fixed now. I can't go around with two huge, gaping holes in my mouth. 

It's hardly vanity; you simply won't get work or help or even paid services if you look too scrubby in this town. I get out my phone and text my major's adviser. He agrees to an appointment.

He knows everything. He'll know what to do.

Feeling a little more at ease, I find the right subway platform and wait, taking note of the city's brick red and burnt orange theme.

I didn't bite into it that differently from normal. 

Well, I guess I should've known with that guy. If he tells you to do something, you'd better do it exactly right, because he's already thought of every possible contingency.

But would he know that someone's teeth could fall out if they didn't bite exactly the way he suggested?

I rant to myself until my train comes and I get to my stop. I go up to my adviser's apartment building and take the elevator up to his office. I step past the black, Gothic door cage which covers the archway like a lacy exoskeleton and I enter a spacious, orange-painted apartment lit only by a desk lamp. Books and papers are strewn all over the living room. There's a clear view of a full moon outside. It was a sunny afternoon only a minute ago.

He's expecting me, but he's clearly got a million other things running in the back of his mind. It doesn't bother me. I'm not worried that he won't be able to concentrate on our dental appointment, because it's him, but I do wonder what those things that are on his mind could be.

He assures me that these things happen, that he has to meet with his wife at a certain time, but that the teeth should reset before then. I'm glad I won't have to embarrass myself in front of the first teacher. My adviser assures me that this happens to students all the time. He asks me to sit in a chair while he builds a tooth out of UV-curable material.

I try to picture what my teeth must be going through today. I still don't understand what's happened or what's going to happen, but I have to make several more appointments before my teeth will be fixed, unfortunately.

He leaves me alone in his apartment while he goes to his appointment with his wife. I'm amazed that he would trust me to stay here with my teeth cure. The sun comes back up, illuminating the room and the wind flutters the papers a bit. I'm able to start looking at them.

INTERPRETATION

Teeth almost always represent knowledge. Loosening teeth represent the need to acquire new ways of chewing into and digesting information. Trains represent journeys. This dream is pretty straight forward. It represents some of my feelings in my journey in education up until we get to the second apartment in which the adviser urgently has to meet his wife.

In the dream, I definitely wasn't under the impression that it was a fantastic event he was looking forward to, although this particular individual is more emotionally-neutral and stable than the one I dreamed about earlier, so it's not certain. But there's still that odd, uncomfortable meeting and the sense that they're both upset and planning something around their wives, and it doesn't match up to anything in real life. So it must be some sort of archetype or role I'm assigning to them. And I don't know how that would fit into my subconscious experience of life at this time. I wonder what archetype for instructors and their spouses I would build for myself would be, and why would I build it that way! I've never read about such a pairing in a dream dictionary before.

One thing that makes me laugh is how my first professor's office hours are in a sewer- a very nice, comfortable, furnished sewer. I think this is a reference to Master Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The man impresses me so favorably in real life! He has great facility with the exam material and is constantly surprising me with new tidbits of information. He's funny and interesting and well-versed in areas outside of his department. He helps lots of students out with a variety of subjects that have nothing to do with the classes he's teaching. He's not afraid to challenge or call us out on... "things" either, which I like (represented by the hard, rubber shape he wants me to bite into). Sometimes I think he must be psychic.

I've always been equally impressed with the next professor I went to in the dream too, whose similarly orange-painted "office" I attend (orange symbolizes friendship, enthusiasm, and possibly spirituality since some Buddhist monks sport orange uniforms). The moon and the night and the dark all represent more comfortable, cool, "deeper" journeys to me, personally, since I've always been a solid night owl. I'm very interested in one of the subjects he specializes in, so perhaps that's why I'm reading his papers, even when he isn't present. There aren't undergraduate classes in his specialty, so I'm trying to learn more about it on my own.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pogo fight! (dream)


Image by Zach Dischner (A 'Sunny' stretch) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I'm bounding up and down a sunny dirt road on my pogo stick. I must be sailing 50 feet into the air with each spring. The country air is fresh. I can feel the wind blowing through my long, blonde hair. I get more freckles and sunburns every summer I spend working at this camp. But out here, it's so apparent that vanity will turn to dust along with every other part of nature. It's just another beautiful part of life's cycle.

The road I'm bounding down seems to lead to nowhere and it seems to have no end. No cars or trucks are in sight.

Plenty of people from the camp are walking down the road though. They seem "down to earth," dressed for the pleasure of prints and sentiment rather than being driven by the need to manage their image for work or anything but perhaps the neighbors.

Suddenly, a woman in her sixties comes racing diagonally across the dirt road. She starts screaming abuses at another older woman. But this other woman doesn't seem to know who the fighting mad one is! Neither she nor I can see why this is happening.

The screaming woman punches the other one in the face! The other still looks too bewildered to defend herself.

I think they're both hotel guests...

I stop, and in midair, adjusting my trajectory to intercept the two, I think to myself, "Why am I getting involved? Involvement isn't going to benefit me." But it's too late. I can already feel my body reflexively moving to stop the fight. I land my pogo stick exactly between the two and grip the aggressor by the throat, pushing her back just as I sail 50 feet up into the air again- happy and safe- soaring away all the commotion below. The women sound like squirrels swearing at me.

I don't care... I think to myself with a bit more wishfulness than sincerity. I'm a little scared of what they're going to do- both to me and to each other.

Good thing I'm one of the camp managers... 

But I doubt that's going to offer me any protection from a person in that state of arousal.

I pogo back to the dark, wooden cabin, trembling a little, but my mood is mostly unsullied.

I go back to my room and wonder what, if anything, I should do next. Should I call the cops? I don't have a position of real power, but it sounds like it. I should probably tell my own boss, but would I get in trouble for physically intervening?

Then the cat wakes me up. I feed her little kitty treats. I go back to sleep.

I'm checking my cell phone. A map navigation app appears on the screen. Huge blotches of the map and screen are grayed out. A button pops up. It says, "Accept." I have no other options.

I wake up to my cell phone alarm and see the "Cancel," and "Snooze" buttons staring at me and realize I had only dreamed that I woke up and fed the cat earlier.

INTERPRETATION

The first dream seems to be a rehash of a fight I recently saw on the bus. I see a lot of fights. I rarely intervene. I've also been thinking of going "hoochie" blonde and I often worry about my skin. I did cut my hair recently and that gets a strong reaction from people, which is odd to me. You'd think they'd have more interesting things to think about.

The pogo stick consistently seems to symbolize a sense of working to get free in my dreams. The last time I dreamed about one of those, I was in a crowded city under stress. This time, I was sailing and in the country. Maybe I yearn for some open space again. Or maybe I realize that doing so would mean I might have to take on an underpaid, uninteresting job with minimal power and an irascible, often dangerous general public to deal with.

The second dream is telling me to accept that I can't know for certain how the future is going to turn out. That's relevant to what's been on my mind recently; I keep trying to find opportunities for side work or experience related to the career I want to switch to, but I'm not finding many substantial options that seem promising. And I'm worried about a lot of other things. My mother is going to get remarried at some point. I never thought I would have two fathers, but it's almost certainly going to happen. I'm paying for summer classes out of my pocket. That's eating into my formerly full funds. And of course, I'm always worried about my grades and my opportunities for grad school as my GPA inevitably continues to shrink and I see more and more ways I make ridiculous, sloppy mistakes on practice GRE exams.

But as I get older, it seems as though resources and issues simply come and go as the need arises, no matter how much or how little I worry about it. Being a camp manager of some sort seems to indicate a sense of taking charge of problems, regardless of the cause. The fight seemed so nonsensical and I never bothered to get the reasons for it before moving into another dream scenario. That suggests that the reasons for the problem are unimportant in this dream-lesson.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sledding after getting mad at an ex-boss; Kierkegaard. (dream)

By 4028mdk09 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I'm visiting one of my old jobs. My former boss is obese, uncomfortable just walking to the soda machine a few steps away. He's wearing the primary red shirt and matching, impractical, only-ever-to-be-worn-indoors baseball cap that reeks of chain restaurant.

He's talking and talking about many values he wants to impose on others, and although I think that's fine at first, they seem increasingly narrow-minded. Everything he says suggests that he hasn't understood a diversity of perspectives- most alarmingly, the perspectives of people in his community, like his employees and customers.

I feel words, thoughts and impressions building in me- a ball of energy circulating in a conic vortex near my throat. I don't feel as though I can escape. I have to stand there and listen to this garrulous man. But I see so many holes in the things he wants all the people around him to take as axioms. What angers me is how they're consistently mindsets and beliefs that subtly help to further his own personal gains in small, petty ways at far heavier costs to large groups of other people.

When I get to about 10 or 20 different holes in his assumptions and see that he has no interest in checking those, it starts driving me crazy. I don't even know why he wants me there. It's like I'm supposed to absorb him.

Do restaurants even need to exist?- certainly not as many of them do- nor do they even need to be staffed by people, even if people do need or want a place to gather, eat, relax, study, etc., outside of their homes. But my God, he takes selling junk food at 50% above cost seriously... herding people and bending them to his schedules and expectations. But his rationale starts going down a long path that keeps on branching further and further away from what really matters. He seems to feel entitled to interrupt anyone's lives without appropriate compensation.

He says the first thing that comes to mind, and although it's technically inoffensive, I find it insulting based on the association of ideas he's speaking out of. I don't have to work here or live in this area. I'm just an observer who's going to be here and gone, so I have no stake in this. But after a long time, I finally blurt out: "You should be nicer about what you say. Because people remember some of it- maybe for a long time."

I have painted a very poor word painting, but at the same time, I feel selfishly vindicated. I've said what I felt like saying, even though it was inaccurate, kind of ridiculous and definitely spiteful, failing to actually communicate what was on my mind.

Then I am on an enormous, clear, snowy hill and go sledding with friends and classmates from elementary school. We have a great time!

INTERPRETATION

I wrote a paper dealing with Kierkegaard. This particular type of battle of personalities makes me think of him. And that got me started looking at all kinds of philosophy videos.

I'm thinking about cleaning up and posting some of my old undergraduate papers since they won't be of any use elsewhere in the future. If I do, I'll post them on my Weebly site.

I've also been dreaming about snow non-stop, which is odd since it never snows in California and the Christmas season is far, far away. In this case, the snowy hill symbolizes a feeling of release in the cold- the warmth of friendship in a frozen wasteland.

The dream restaurant looked like a fusion of several restaurants I've worked at before. I'd never had the man in the dream as an employer. He looked and felt like a fusion of several of both my and other people's bosses I've either observed or heard about, in-person, online or by through social media. There were a couple features in the man's face that were similar to a few old boss's, but it was an abstracted role that the dream-person symbolized.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Stars, scales, ratings ...bureaucracies! (rants)

I just turned in a bunch of grades for my classmates. I ended up being the "leader" for a project and I had to fill out an evaluation form about each of them. It feels weird to me to do things like that. It isn't as though I can be certain that I'm offering feedback to people who want me or any else to offer opinions about how to pinpoint ways to improve. They're more like trapped animals. So I feel ambivalent about any automatic feedback system involving a person as a person from person to person: how was your service today, instructor feedback, etc. 

It's potentially useful, but it would be impossible for it to be too informative with prompts like "On a scale of one to five, please rate how positive the __person_as_an_object's____ attitude is." I would never hire someone in the real world based on someone else's assessment of their soft skills unless I was hiring someone who was about to be paid to deal with crazy people- probably people who have very little money to spend in the first place. I wouldn't have a strong incentive to value the units in either position very much. Both seem more disposable than not in most situations since there isn't much money involved and no time-consuming, costly or rarely-completed training is necessary.

Giving feedback is dangerous. I don't want to risk bringing injury upon myself when I get nothing out of it. I need to know someone wants to know my thoughts, not that they are forced and I am an intruder. Besides, I believe that the truth has a time-limit in most cases. The only exception I can think of right now is math or perhaps the scientific method. Every time I've had to grade papers other than my own, I have felt uncomfortable, unless they are people people worth risking offending (or, sometimes, principles worth defending. That's trickier though; I don't know what to think of that). For example, if I'm required to train a new hire, I need to know the person wants guidance. I've been told off by trainees before, and despite knowing that they aren't demonstrating that they can do the job to what I believe the employer's or customer's satisfaction is, there's not much I feel I should do in most cases.

I am never comfortable rating media on a scale or point system either- not even if I love or hate a book, movie, etc. This is sort of a review site (although I haven't been able to read or review nearly as much as I had hoped. I might have to give up on that), but I don't ever relish using stars or scales. I don't know of a better alternative for large-scale products or systems though.

Things like this have always tied into how I feel about the causes of mass violence in our times. I don't see how it's possible for us to eliminate terrorism and school shootings when we pay people low wages, restrict their access to education and job training, make them feel desperate, small, temporary and nasty, all while knowing they have increasing access to increasingly effective weapons or the technology to make them. It only seems more and more inevitable for things like this to crop up the more small larger numbers of people are made to feel.

Again, I don't see a really good alternative. I really enjoy the benefits of stiff competition and I think lot of people do. I may not be able to be a big fish in a little pond, but I am pushed to try harder, and I like the results better than when I don't have more incentives, whether positive or negative. I don't at all see the idea of "cream rising to the top" manifesting; it's more like the relatives, the cheap, and the group-think rise to the top while one or two people who benefit the most go on vacation.

It's very rare for someone to go rogue, so I guess things work out well enough for most people. But it seems to me as though we as a planet are ever-increasingly less able to afford to let people fall through the cracks, emotionally. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I discover that one of my professors is cheating on his wife! (dreams)

See page for image author [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I'm exiting class in a hurry. The halls always fill up to the point that we're all jammed up against each other. We're in my hometown, but we've all transported in a clump from LA. It's abnormally crowded for this place- my hometown, but it's very sparse for SoCal. The transplant reminds me of the times I decided to redecorate my aquariums as a kid. Sometimes I had enough allowance money to buy an extra decoration or a small upgrade in volume and I'd just move around the fish and the majority of the decor to another aquarium; all the furniture and fish were basically the same.

In this case, the people are the same, but the weather is very different. The light is dim, the air is a bluish gray, and it's cold and snowing outside. There are no leggings or skateboards here. The majority of us are dressed in thick jeans, solid boots and poofy jackets.

One of my professors is outside. I arrange a meeting with him in order to get some help with a couple of concepts later that day.

I leave campus and drive to Wal-Mart. I enter through the home and garden section and window shop, dithering about until I feel like going inside. I stamp the remaining snow off my boots, and when I look up, to my surprise, he's there too. He's just a little further down the entrance from me.

I chuckle. If I were in California, there's no way I'd be bumping into him. For one thing, there'd almost certainly be 7 people squished between us- even if he was only 5 feet away.

He puts his arm around the waist of an attractive blonde woman in her late 50's or early 60's.

Awww. 

Wait... I don't remember his wife looking like that...

I pretend I don't see them and turn my back, pretending to look at something on the shelves across from them.

Garden hoses... yes... they're amazing... amazing, amazing, amazing...

I look at garden hoses until, out of the corner of my eye, I can see her leave the store and go back out into the snowy weather. I look up, thinking he must be gone, but he's not. I pick up a bag of flower bulbs to mask my intentions and catch little glimpses of what he's purchasing.

I'm alarmed by what he's buying- especially in combination with the angry, determined expression on his face. He purchases rope, a hatchet, an auger (for drilling holes into the surface of frozen lakes) and some other things I don't stick around to take note of. I don't want to know and I don't want him thinking I know. I slip back out of the double doors as discreetly as possible.

I ponder what he's thinking of as I drive back home. I take a nap and eat a little to recharge.

Very soon, it's time to go back to class. I'm going to have to honor that meeting with him. I really don't feel like it. I have to take my family's motor home in a snow storm, and that's never fun. I get into the hulking vehicle and crawl at least 10 miles under the speed limit up and down hills- always wondering whether or not I'm going to make it- especially not on time.

I get back on campus and to my class. It's dark out and the lighting is yellow.

It's the same professor- standing right there, even though our meeting isn't until later. He's watching for me, and seems pleased that I've arrived on time, even if it's for someone else's class.

So am I!

I've decided that it's none of my business what he has going on in his personal life. I start going to my class and I spot his mistress. She looks extremely unhappy. She pulls him aside. They have a conversation in low, ominous tones.

I bet he's planning to kill her. I bet it's going to be her- not his wife.

INTERPRETATION

Buh hah! I can't imagine this real teacher cheating on his wife. I actually don't know if he's married or not at all, but I assume so based on his texting habits. I might have seen a ring too- I can't remember.

I don't know what this one is all about. In the dream, I'm taking an entire home with me (not all of it, but I could live in it, and I'm also risking losing it in the storm), and I'm layering my past home with my new one (the transplant).

I guess this might relate to how I have struggled, for most of my life, with deciding whether or not to fight back and when to fight back: assertion. Doormat or potentially engage in a power struggle? Tell someone about the hatchet or mind your own business? It seems as though it's one or the other when you aren't dealing with people you like and vice verse (I actually like this teacher in real life, but in the dream, for some reason I really didn't).

*End of the semester update: Hah, there ended up being some things about this instructor's style of relating information that didn't jive with the way I saw things. I might have sensed an agglomeration of issues approaching. Maybe the dream is showing me that I know I have a pattern of ignoring impending issues or not knowing what to do about them or how to prevent them since I'm blending my entire house and two main locations.

I even chose this instructor based off of ratemyprofessor.com and other websites because he had such glowing reviews. I don't even see why I bother trying to strategize based off of online reviews anymore. They're proving themselves to be highly untrustworthy whenever "soft skills" are involved. I have had so many good experiences with persons or institutions who have attracted a lot of flack.

I wonder if I could've done something sooner to ward off the damage to my grades that resulted from the inability to communicate with this person- to look around for more tutoring sessions at more locations much, much sooner, making a more concerted effort to befriend classmates, being more strict with my studying sessions, etc. I hope next semester goes more smoothly all the way to the end instead of just at the beginning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The glowing, lace-covered ball. (dreams)

Image by Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DREAM

I am non-corporeal, but I am not omniscient or omnipresent.

I'm watching over a house occupied by a man and a woman working together to understand the properties of a grapefruit-sized, glowing, lace sphere. The ball is on top of a pedestal in the exact center of the room.

The walls of the room warp and undulate. I don't think this couple can see it. Even if they'd grown accustomed to it, they would take note that the curves of the walls are a fluid vortex at certain points. But they enter the swirling areas and exit without noticing.

It's not that I'm seeing things either. Although, like the couple I don't think that this swirling dimension affects me in ways I can understand, I think I just notice it because of how my consciousness is contained in this new "body."

The woman is in her late twenties or early thirties. She watches the man with interest. I suspect that her interest is in him rather than the sphere. Her makeup is done with skill and subtlety. She's wearing a thick, nude, off-the-shoulder lace dress. Her dark blonde hair is in ringlets.

The man is the same age. He's tall and thin. His brown hair has been trimmed into a neat bowl cut. He wears a tuxedo without a bow tie, cufflinks or cumberbund. I'm under the impression that he's a hipster, since I know the time is the 20th or 21st century, but I can't tell for certain what the era is yet, and I don't trust my impressions.

They don't react to me either, so I assume I'm invisible too. I think I'm the only one like me nearby. I can't tell for certain though. I don't know how I could tell if there are any others like me around. This transfer was extremely sudden and I'm still disoriented.

I can move to different locations, but I don't feel any of the constraints of gravity or air resistance. I'm not breathing. I'm not floating. I'm seeing, but I don't have eyes. The light is a little different from what I'm used to. There's an even, incandescent lighting in the room, but the white lights glow brighter than usual. Things that wouldn't ordinarily glow white are glowing.

I go outside and see that the daylight looks fairly normal, but brighter. I go back inside. I can zoom in and out of this house within certain parameters. It's hard for me to understand that I still exist, given this absence of physical markers to define myself, but I know I must. I think of Rene Descartes.

If I stayed this non-corporeal state for a long time, I could pick up a lot of information I never could have before, but I could also never be omniscient. I am greatly constrained by time and place- just a different kind of time and a different kind of place, and I still only have about the same processing power and perceptive abilities. So I'm essentially a ghost, but I have no memory of how I got here. I don't even think I died. Maybe I did, but why would I end up here?

The man moves the ball, in such a way that I wonder if it can levitate on its own or not. It seems light all of a sudden, but trapped in a thick, viscous fluid. I also wonder how much these two know about why this thing behaves the way it does. I don't know who they are or why they're interested. All I know is that they are excited, and that this is a somewhat guarded secret.

Everything is so new and refreshingly disorienting. I zoom in and take a closer look. The lace ball is resting on a clear, plastic pedestal. The material further confirms my suspicions about the time period.

There's a spiral staircase and a couple of other rooms- all of which are warping, unlike the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. I feel that the center of mass of the warping house is always where that lace ball of shifting material determines, no matter what bizarre shape the house takes on. I wonder if they're going to figure it out and how they're going to figure it out since they can't see it.

They don't seem aware that the lace is incidental and that whatever is inside the ball can never physically move too far away from the center of the room. I can feel its inner turbulence. There's a force coming out of it that doesn't feel like anything I experienced in my former body.

The man is able to pick it up to some extent and move it around, but the ball won't go beyond a certain spot. He tugs it one way or another too far and it becomes immobile. He doesn't understand why. I don't either- not substantially. The ball's mobility is unpredictable. I can see its mobility change, but there doesn't seem to be a pattern. The man waits a few hours and finds that he can take the lace ball all the way up the stairs.

Then he really gets excited and starts shouting enthusiastically at the woman. She starts laughing at his giddiness. 

INTERPRETATION

It's spring break! When I go back, my homework is going to be calculating the center of mass for 3-dimensional objects, which reminds me of what I may have been looking for in this dream. I didn't actually know what was going on in the dream- I only had a vague impression, and in real life, I haven't read the lesson, but only listened to a brief lecture about it.

I'm also reading a book for fun for the first time in a couple of months! It's about chaos (nonlinear dynamics). I love it. It briefly discussed a disc of material being a replacement for the standard "point particle" used in physics 1 (classical mechanics) when calculating the gravitational attraction one heavenly body has on another. So this feeds into the image of the warping walls and the sphere which warps the space around it.

When I was about seven or perhaps younger, I remember our class moving from math to art class about once a week. And for several weeks, I would think about how nonsensical math seemed to me. I would listen to the lessons we had about how to draw trees. I would look at all of our pictures of trees and houses and people, and I would compare it with adults' pictures, and I would think to myself... "A tree does not look like a long, straight stick with dozens of smaller, evenly-spaced sticks coming out of it at evenly-spaced points. A face does not have perfectly symmetrical eyes. When we make these snowflakes, they don't look real. A real snowflake is mangled and missing legs and a drawing of a tree looks more real when you gnarl the branches and make them deviate at unpredictable intervals." When I read about chaos... this long-buried memory resurfaces.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Monochromatic noir- strolling in the rain. (dreams)

This image is a publicity shot and is therefore in the public domain.
Publicity still of Humphrey Bogart

DREAM

I bear a striking resemblance to Humphrey Bogart, although I'm not a man. I've even inherited his trench coat. I'm going to an opera with an old friend. We enter the lobby. Triangles splash compass patterns across the walls and ceiling. The opera house was built in the 1800's, but it's been renovated in bright reds and yellows and rich, chocolate browns for the present: the late 1930's.

My friend is gussied up, but she looks tired.

This isn't how I remember her from early childhood, I say to myself. But she just doesn't care as much for opera as I do. 

But deep down inside, I know we're getting older and the cares of life are running us down.

I bring all my homework into the concert. I have to be carrying 20-50 pounds worth of calculus. I do my homework while the soprano on stage sings. I check in with my friend. She seems to be okay with things, generally, and is enjoying herself somewhat, but she mainly seems happy not to be running around feeling like she has to contain a tornado. She's practically falling asleep.

After the show, we meander down that part of the city in the rain. Everything is black and white with vivid highlights in primary colors. She wears a red dress and red lipstick. The color flatters her. I can't remember her wearing it like tonight.

We chat about the old days and how it's hard for her to get out now that she has a baby. I'm glad I have work to do, but it's also hard for me to get out because of it. She gets into a cab and we say goodnight.

I walk around the city a little more, just to get out the jitters from that last high note. A horse-drawn cart clops by. Another old friend pops out. He's wearing an 18th century tweed suit, complete with cape and cane.

I'm surprised! I'm even more surprised that it flatters him! We walk and talk the rest of the way home.

It starts to rain harder. I look back at myself- Humphrey Bogart. That's what I physically see, but I know I'm looking back at this old friend. And in a sudden flash, I know that I am my friend. We've swapped essences and I am in his body looking at me, and I feel the way he feels in my presence. There's no doubt about his feeling of comfort and affection for me. He has a very nice calm compared to the background sensations of my body- or Humphrey Bogart's body. Or my old body- however you'd want to describe it. But I know this feeling my friend has could change, and powerfully. And longer. I respect this difference and enjoy the observation of it. I reenter myself and a serenity passes over me- my favorite flavor of happiness.

INTERPRETATION

I wake up and my kitty is in the crook of my left arm, purring. Her chin is laying on my neck. Rain has a soft, regular rhythm, sort of like a purr. It's so nice to have whatever frequency kitties purr at running through the liquids and wave functions in this burdensome physical form we must be thankful for, maintain and endure.

My body allows me to exist on this plane, but I certainly do have a love/hate relationship with it most of the time. I would prefer to exist as a sentient, peaceful being without material form. I wonder if that's possible and if we're capable of detecting it.

My backpack full of homework has been killing me. The 50-60 pounds of calculus at the opera  I brought out is laughable- I am certain my textbooks and other accoutrements must weigh closer to 100 lbs.

Other influences include how Ilsa is Bogart's old "friend" in Casablanca, and there's a sense of warmth, loyalty and shared memories between Bogart and Captain Renauld at the end. The film was about the French Resistance, we're about to watch a French noir in class, I'm watching an MIT course done by a man with a French accent, and one of my favorite calculus instructors had a French accent.

This was a nice dream to have though because people around here have been driving me crazy lately. Just overhearing them lately has been driving me crazy. I hear the following conversation behind me right now:

"Marilyn Monroe is a world leader, but she shouldn't be! She should be kicked out! There's nothing real about her. She's not a real person. Marilyn Monroe wasn't even her persona. She had lips, a chin job, a nose job... She was so insecure she needed someone to come with her on set to assure her she was a good actress!"

And...

"She told me I had Autism because I wasn't looking her in the eye!"

Buh-hah! I get annoyed when people use Autism or Bipolar or other diagnostic labels as insults. Many of the finest people I know have Autism, Bipolar disorder, etc., and they are aware of and defy the stereotypes quite beautifully too.

I don't think think that people who use psychological terms as insults are aware that anyone can be diagnosed with a mental illness. I mean that literally. A philosophy of unconditional acceptance for human nature is mandatory to effective clinical practice. Psychology is worthless without it. Putting the ideas of  psychology into practice without having ingested ideas like I'm Okay- You're Okay is like trying to do calculus without knowing the unit circle.

I feel that that using psychological jargon in SoCal has become a really trendy thing for people trying to get away with being nasty without getting in trouble for it, or for people who are unusually adverse to feeling confused to quickly end those uncomfortable feelings. In polite society, we know it's morally incorrect to use theories designed to help people to attack them. Psychological ideas should be premise by premise arguments leading up to conclusions which should be able to predict peoples' behavior, if those ideas they are accurate. But person A doesn't necessarily look away from person B during a conversation because person A has Autism.

When I was 17 and started my psychology program, I always wondered how the people in my books came up with what they did, but I believed that they were grown ups in a huge institution with tons of people to help test and refine their ideas, and that I was young and didn't know enough to be able to say they were wrong. Unfortunately, I don't know how I would have known that psychology was a poor career idea for me, personally, without learning a certain amount about it first.

I was thinking about how our interactions with other people are so often done with the goal of inducing an emotion in them. Sometimes, that's great. It's often really nice to try to make people feel happy. But that also causes huge problems when we take that principle and hope to shock, awe or induce fear in others in order to get our own way or to silence people when we don't understand how to articulate our ideas. Those two scenarios are equal opposites, but everything contains its own opposite. So they're the same thing, in some respects. I think that things might work out better in the comments of trending articles, YouTube, etc. if our interactions were driving us towards friendship with each other instead of moments of emotion. But then again... I'm not so sure, because our friends sometimes hold us back from doing what makes us happy or can influence us poorly.

I still can't get the phone company to send me my phone bill to the correct address because some psychology genius in their customer service department is convinced that I have this long-running story about not receiving my bills in order to avoid paying them. Not so! For a while, I did not remember what date, amount or address to mail my checks to and they wouldn't take my card online. And so the infamy of SoCal's holier-than-thou customer service lives on. With a twist.

I miss caring about people. I miss the people I've cared about sincerely and without reservation. It's irritating having to care about people strictly on principle for as long or as often as I've had to these past two years or so. I miss feeling a sense of trust and goodness in another person. I miss feeling that caring can be easy, safe and good.

My usual joy in eavesdropping has been leaving me cold. I'll listen to people's conversations and the snark rises within me. Perhaps that's why I'm dreaming about people and things I've cared about before. It reminds me that this is just a small bubble of all possible experiences.