July 29th, 2005



I think my subconscious is having some kind of crisis. I've been having mad crazy dreams the last couple of days.

In one of them I and several of my friends from NEHS are watching a school-sponsored one-man band in the NEHS auditorium. Since we're alums, we don't have to be there, but we're bored and have nothing else to do. The one-man band is terrible. He can't keep a beat on the bass drum, his singing is off-key, and his saxophone sounds like a clarinet. Furthermore, he can't play more than one instrument at once, which defeats the purpose of a one-man band. I mention something in passing about Monica Lewinsky and Wazi gets furious. She stands up and yells at me that I always do this, that I always bring that up and can't just leave it alone, and storms out of the auditorium in a hissy fit. Of course I have no idea what she's talking about, but Howard is giving me this congratulations-you-fucked-up-again look, so I assume I've said something horribly wrong and scramble out of the auditorium to apologize. The outside of the auditorium is a vast rural area in central Taiwan, and I wander through miles of woods and rolling hills. Finally I stop at a self-serve gas station overlooking an enormous hillside terrace farm, at the foot of which the recently graduated NEHS Class of 2005 is playing touch football. Wazi is hunched over on the curb, crying. I go into the gas station, buy a frozen bottle of Heineken with a popsicle stick sticking out of it, and offer it to her. She grimly accepts, then says, "You always mention that. You can't ever just shut up. You may think you understand, but you don't have any fucking idea what it's like." I tell her that I have no idea what she is talking about, but promise her that whatever it is, I won't mention it again. For today, at least. She accepts my apology, but I can sense that she is still mad at me.

In another dream I'm bicycling through a surreal, twilight-like Edison, past the church and Quaker Court and the old path to John Adams Middle School. The streetlights glow their usual blue or orange, and the lights are on in every house, so everything is bathed in an odd orange-pink glow. My house has been thoroughly desecrated, of course, by a young immigrant family from Vietnam that speaks little English. There are crazy new annexes all over the place, maybe even a tower or two, and from the windows I can see an interior that looks like it was decorated from the contents of an overturned IKEA truck. As usual there are kids playing roller hockey across the street, and as I pass by Edward's house I can almost hear the whirring and beeping of a 14.4 kbps modem. The place is full of strangers. Old people, little kids. I never knew most of my neighbors. For some reason I decide it is a good idea to take a shortcut through the woods, and I ride over a ravine on the edge of an impossibly large hydroelectric dam. It is humid here. There are birds, screeching tropical birds, like the ones in Hsinchu's Mountain of Eighteen Peaks. The water thundering below is loud, so loud I cannot hear myself think. I find myself in Wei's house. Not Wei's house as I used to remember it, back when he called himself Wayne, but a Victorian architectural monstrosity with a three-story living room and a kitchen the size of a small closet. It must have been based on a house of some family friend I visited as a small child, because the walls were fifty feet tall and there were all these indoor balconies and wooden bannisters going into nowhere. The place is lit by dozens of were incandescent lamps with warm yellow bulbs. Apparently I had met Wayne's long-lost younger brother on the Internet, and I was sitting on the couch with him playing the Prey single-player game on his laptop. We were trying to go down an elevator without falling off, which was impossible because for some reason it never occurred to us that the best way to survive an elevator ride is to not jump off it. At some point a bearded, grown-up Wayne comes into the room, surprised to find me in his house. He gives me a hug, tells me it's been a long time, and offers me some Cheez-Its.

I wake up from each dream with a killer headache.

dreampocalpyse: the liberal nightmare

In the worst dream I had last night, I have been drafted. I'm in an enormous granite military complex with lots of fluorescent bulbs and no windows. They direct me to what is either a shooting range or a defensive rampart, I can't tell which. They tell me to get behind one of the heavy guns and start shooting. I crawl up to a howitzer and through the port I can see hundreds of men in army fatigues crawling up a hillside. I can hear the roar of other howitzers to my left and right, and the men are firing back with all manner of small arms. I see a man crawling up to my gunport, so close that I can see his deep blue eyes through the black warpaint. He is taking potshots at the base with his assault rifle. I reach for the trigger to my left, but I stop as what feels like a swarm of angry mosquitoes grazes my skin. Are those bullets? I cannot reach the trigger without moving the rest of my body into the path of gunfire. I cannot bring myself to reach across the gap and pull the trigger. The man inches closer and closer. I can see his face now; he is angry, so angry. He is a fellow American. He has done nothing to me. I cannot bear to kill him. I cannot bear to reach across.

Collapse )