I've been having a lot of strange dreams ever since I arrived here in San Francisco. Among them:
I'm wandering through a large, Escher-esque mansion amok with architectural oddities like trees in bedrooms and double-helix stairwells to nowhere. I come across a balcony overlooking a wooden-tiled ballroom. The ballroom is unfurnished aside from a polished brass king size bed, on top of which lie a woman I am very fond of and a friend of hers who I don't know all that well. They are dressed in pajamas and are bouncing up and down on the bed--at first I suspect aerial masturbation, but no, they're just having fun. I start to lean over the balcony to call out to them, but I stop myself. I notice I am shirtless and that my right leg is bare, and that my left leg is entangled in the right leg of a pair of khakis. Not willing to approach these ladies half-dressed, I struggle to fix my pants only to realize they do not fit. There is something in the way. I reach into the empty pant leg and discover a pair of semen-soaked briefs. Disgusted, I toss it aside. The pants still will not fit. I reach into the waist and find another semen-soaked pair of briefs, even nastier than the one before it. I turn the pants upside down and shake and an entire laundry load of filthy underwear spills out. I frantically put on my pants and run down the hall to fetch my favorite red T-shirt, which is sitting on the ground down the hall and also turns out to be full of semen-stained briefs. When I finally manage to get dressed and return to the balcony, the girls are gone. I experience an intense feeling of heartbreak.
(the night I couldn't figure out how to work the thermostat) It's midnight in Antarctica, and I'm standing in line outside a bus station shaped like a giant airplane hangar. The people around me hide their faces in their parkas, milling about like cattle. We're waiting for the northbound shuttle, which is scheduled to take me to a dark, lonely place in southern Africa. There is a row of floodlights atop the hangar and they are so bright it hurts to look at them. I look in the other direction, shielding my eyes from the glare, and see and hear the crackling of floes breaking from the ice shelf--it is July, and the ice caps are shrinking. In the distance I can hear the cawing and splashing of penguins leaping onto the migrating ice. An impulse strikes me. I step under the velvet rope and walk into the darkness across the ice shelf, and stand on a loose chunk of ice the size of a small bedroom. The penguins on the ice ignore me disinterestedly--they have no natural fear of humans. The ice cracks and breaks off, and the little island drifts off into the night. I know I will probably die without food or water, and the ice will start to melt as it moves north, but it matters little to me now. I have a shot at escaping to somewhere nice and warm like Brazil or Chile, and then from there--who knows? I have a brief vision of New England, and a flicker of a near-forgotten memory of a girl, and smile.
I half wake up in a giant oversized bed in a house owned by my aunt. I say half because my eyes are closed and I cannot open them, or move any part of my body but my lips. I say something aloud, and a presence by the side of the bed answers me--though I don't recognize the voice, I somehow know it is the voice of the angel of the Lord. I have a brief conversation with Him. I don't remember what we talked about, but it ends in the angel of the Lord being slightly offended and saying, almost defensively, "I have saved hundreds of millions." And as I wake up for real I hear female voices singing "I have saved hundreds of millions" in a gospel choir, complete with guitars and drums and the clapping of hands, and as the sleep fades from me and I sit up in bed in the waking world, one bewildered, half-unasked question lingers at the tip of my tongue: "On car insurance?"