Snap Decisions and Dressing for the Weather

I’m walking with my partner up a grassy tractor trail on the property I grew up on. There are several other people walking in both directions. Everyone is chatting and the atmosphere is light.

We crest a small rise and see a somewhat dilapidated out building. It’s cheerfully decorated with strings of lights, banners and signs. As we get closer we see a bustling farmer’s market in progress.

Inside the building is lit with more strings of lights and we slowly work our way though the building looking at the produce, crafts and curiosities. In the far corner of the building there is large room with a counter on the back wall and a large old wood burning stove near the center of the room.  There appears to be a cooking class or product demonstration underway.

The woman leading the activity looks vaguely familiar, like maybe I have seen her profile on Linkedin or somewhere. She is working at the stove, slicing something and talking. A closer look reveals she is using a neat little gadget that attaches a cutting board to a surface, in this case the edge of the stove top, and lets you swivel it out to increase your work space. I’m impressed and approach to ask her more questions. I ask a question about the device, she responds with a description of a small island off Croatia. From her description I know the island, I have been there, and my partner and I decide on the spot that we will move there.

We are back outside, many people are now lining up to get inside. The liveliness of the crowd becomes hushed, and our attention is drawn to a couple who have joined the line. The first thing I notice is their feet. They are so pale, the girl has her very white feet clad in a little mule slippers with white soles and fluffy white faux fur trim. The man has his pearly white feet clad also in mule slippers with white soles, but instead of white faux fur, he has gold trim. His legs are pasty white as well, with a halo of of golden hair sticking out from each leg. It occurs to me that his leg hair is sticking out because he’s freezing, the couple is standing in snow, as is everyone else. Everyone else is wearing long pants, boots, and long sleeved shirts. The couple is dressed all in white, with bare legs and arms. They look incredibly out of place. I’m so curious about where they came from, and why they have chosen this place to be.

I wake up.

Work Exchange in Japan

I arrive in Japan on a work exchange. I’m accompanied by a coworker, but it’s unclear who it is. We are taken to the apartment where we will be staying. I know I am in Japan, but nothing is as I know things to be in Japan. The journey to the apartment is unclear, but the apartment building itself is massive.

The elevator doors open, and we are opposite a bank of white doors set in a wall. The wall is uneven, with some doorways inset, and others jutting out. It reminds me of a massive row of bad teeth.

We move toward one of the doors, and I’m intently trying to notice the number on the wall beside the door. The number seems to be in gold paint, but it never quite comes into focus.  I struggle to read the number, I want to know what floor we are on, if not what apartment. I’m unable to see it accurately before we are led into the apartment.

Walking through the door I’m face to face with a wall. There are several suit bags hanging on the wall.  We squeeze into the apartment and sidle along the wall toward our left. The space opens up to a massive kitchen with a large center island. We move through it into the sleeping quarters. There are modest sized rooms with a twin bed in each. I enter the room I’m assigned and put down my bag.

I sit on the bed and consider why I’m here. I’m not sure what work I do. I’m not sure who I’m here with. I don’t know the number of the apartment I’m in.

I’m alerted to the fact that it’s time for a tour of the rest of the building. So far no one has spoken, and I have not seen anyone’s face. I’m not clear if I’m with one other person or ten. As we leave the apartment I try again to read the numbers by the doors. Again I’m not able to bring the numbers into focus.

We re-enter the elevator and I sense we go down a few floors. We exit the elevator and again I search for any clue as to what floor we might be on. The floor we are on is much more open, I can see windows to the outside opposite the elevator doors. I move toward the window. Through the window I see a large, round disc of a building. Its a deep blue color and seems to be suspended in the air. It has windows like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. I can’t see anyone in it, and I can’t gauge how high up off the ground it is. I scan the area for more windows, and see a small one on the far wall. I cross the space and look out to a vast city scape. Again, it’s distorted and I can’t tell how high we are.

We are left to find our way back to the apartment. I don’t know what floor the apartment is on, or what floor I am on now.

We re-enter the apartment. There is a new woman with us, a blonde woman, with heavy tattoos. We squeeze through the narrow entrance way and move into the kitchen space. As we do she stops stops and removes her clothes. She has tattoos, large black bands all over her body. One of her butt cheeks is a cube, and the other juts out as triangle. She starts working in the kitchen. I move to the back of the apartment.

The hallway opens up into a large storage area lined with rows of shelving that extend up to the ceiling. The shelves are loaded with craft supplies, small toys and dolls, and little origami designs. I’m exploring the shelves when I’m alerted it’s time to get ready for work. I wonder what “work” will be.

I go back to the doorway to collect my suit bag.  I open it and survey the contents. There is a navy blue dress uniform that is void of crests, insignia, epaulettes or anything else that would yield a clue as to what might be ahead. More curiously, there is a rather elaborate set of head gear that includes a set of safety glasses that are connected to a earpiece and microphone. I wake up.

Talking Cats and Climbing the Walls

I’m standing in my kitchen putting groceries away. It’s not a kitchen I have seen in my waking life. I’m searching for places to put the non-perishable groceries. I open cupboards and find them to be extremely ineffectively designed. Each cupboard has an inset that looks like the mailroom cubby holes at work. The inset takes up about 3/4 of the space in the cupboard, and the cubby holes are too small to put anything into. There is only a small band of space at the front of the cupboard to store anything.

As I’m puzzling over this situation, Merlin the cat walks by. I ask her if she wants to go out, and she responds “I don’t think so,” and walks toward the door. I ask again, “Are you sure?”. She says “Maybe, since I’m here already.” I open the door and she goes out. I watch her go, and she turns right and walks under the deck of the adjacent place. I hear a hissing and a shriek, and she comes running back. I step aside so she can come back in, and I take a better look at what distressed her. The grey fluffy cat from the neighbourhood emerges and struts toward the door, as usual. I tell him “not today” and close the door. I hear scratching and turn to see a massive grey paw groping around the floor, having reached through a large, jagged hole in the bottom of the door. The paw is huge, way out of proportion to the grey cat I left outside.

I arrive at work and go to my locker. The lockers are free standing towers, about 4′ tall and 8″ square, far to small to put anything in. I notice all the lockers are standing nicely, but mine is tipped over and some distance from it’s place, like it’s been thrown. I ask the guy who looks after the lockers why mine is in disarray while I move it back to it’s proper place. He says a young man comes and sits in it, and sometimes he gets angry and throws it. I ask how that is possible, and the locker is too narrow to hold my backpack, let alone a person, the guy shrugs.

I leave the area and start work. A signal sounds that indicates it’s time for staff to leave what they are doing and go climb the wall. I make my way with all the other staff back to the locker area. The locker guy stops me as I approach my locker and says, “He’s in there now.”.  Again, I can’t imagine how that is possible, as the locker is only about 8″ square, but sure enough, the door opens and a young fellow I used to play hockey with squeezes out. I say hello, and he just looks at me and walks away.

I gather my things for the wall, and start walking with my colleagues. I feel like something is making it very difficult to walk. I look down and there is a fellow from a past G Adventure tour hanging on my legs, and I am effectively dragging him along. For some reason I feel compelled to make small talk, so I ask if they have been on any other trips recently, knowing that he has, as we are friends on Facebook.

We arrive at our destination, and people set their belongings down and begin to get ready. Women are applying heavy make up, men are getting dressed in togas, kurtas, anything loose and flowing. I decide to just get the climb over with, so I approach the wall.  It’s wooden panelling, varnished with a glossy finish. I begin climbing, easily gripping the wooden panels and pulling myself up. I’m about 20′ from the ground when someone calls up to inform me I am climbing the wrong wall. I lower myself back to the ground and return to my colleagues. I wake up.

Sharks, Trolls, and Ugly Mermaids

I’m at the hair salon. Its a small space, there are only 2 chairs, but the atmosphere is chaotic. People are bustling about, the place is a network of pipes, vents, gears, and the odd burst of steam escaping from the floor and walls. There is a youngish stylist getting ready to put some highlights in my hair. She is mixing the dye in the little black pots with brushes. I remind her I only one one purple highlight, as she is mixing several pots of dye, and they are all white. She ignores me and keeps mixing. Once she is happy with her work, she tells me I have to move to the other chair, and someone else will apply the color. I do as I’m bid.

As I’m adjusting myself in the chair, a very large woman appears in front of me. I look closer, and I’m not entirely sure she is a woman at all. She is short, and very wide. She is wearing a dress, or maybe something wrapped around her, that’s not what catches my attention. Her legs that are visible below whatever she is wearing are connected together by an enormous roll of fatty flesh, right down to the ankles. Her feet stick out below the roll, splayed out to the sides with no toes. My first thought is “I guess this is what happens when you have a job that requires many hours of standing”, my second thought is “how the hell does she move?”.

It’s an idle question, as I’m now in an inflatable life raft on the open ocean. It’s night time, the water is calm, and the moon is bright. There are several people in the raft, I can hear them, though I don’t see them. I am looking out at the water and am amazed to see thousands of shark fins visible on the surface of the water. There are small ones, large ones, ones that look more like little spires than fins, thousands of them and they are mesmerizing to watch.  As I’m gazing out at the movement and the way the wet fins catch the moonlight, I hear a voice behind me in the raft complain that we paid all this money and we haven’t seen any sharks. I hear another voice contradict him, pointing out how the water seems to be teeming with sharks.

It becomes very important that we get in the water, and it’s my turn to do so. I lay on the side of the raft, then roll into the water, still holding on to the raft. I wait until I feel something bump into my legs, then I roll back onto the raft.

It’s still night time and we are still on the ocean, but now my family and I are in a large stone turret that is rising up out of the water. Some of the walls of the turret have crumbled, and there is a secondary wall around the most exposed half of it. My brother and I are at a control panel, and we are watching the secondary wall intently. Suddenly, one by one, big, clumsy, armoured trolls start climbing over the secondary wall and into the dark watery space between the wall and the turret we are in.  My brother and I start working the control panel, launching large foam boulders at the incoming trolls. They seem to like it.  My dad is standing nearby and asks in a exasperated way if we really need to be wasting our time on this.  I wake up.

Compliant Bears, LPs and Xylophones

A female coworker an I have been dropped off at the bottom of a gravel driveway in a rural area. The driveway is narrow and about 150 meters long, fairly steep, and veers off to the right at the top so we can’t quite see the house it leads to.

We are nearing the top when my colleague notices a large bear heading our direction. The bear is closing in on us, and there is nowhere to go, there is a bank and dense trees on either side of the driveway. We press ourselves against the bank and hope the bear will just pass. That’s when we notice there are actually several bears, many of them look like cubs and juveniles.

I step away from the bank and start directing the bears past us, starting with the mother bear. I’m waving them down the driveway as though I’m a deckhand on a ferry, or at least a traffic control person. The bears one by one pass us by and amble down the driveway. We carry on to the house.

I never arrive at the house, instead I arrive at a little shed. Inside I find my parents and my uncle sitting around a large old looking device. I ask what they are doing, and without looking up from their task they tell me they are recording jazz.

I inspect the machine they are working on more closely. It is cream coloured, sort of resembling a really large, old amplifier. On top is a record player of sorts, and there are slots for two cassettes on the front. There are records lying around everywhere, they are all different sizes and shapes, ranging from small and round to larger and more oval. Everything on the machine seems to be moving, but no sound is coming out. I watch for a while.

We are all around a large “L” shaped dinner table.  There is a small toy xylophone at each end of the table and several people, including myself, have small mallets. We randomly reach out and strike the xylophones with the mallets. As I watch, the xylophone nearest me changes from it’s rectangular shape, and the colorful keys shrink and warp into the shape of potato chips, freeing themselves from the body of the xylophone. People begin molding the newly shaped keys into the piles of silly putty that are on the table, and wondering aloud why the keys no longer make music.

Employment Confusion

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of an ambulance that is travelling down a dark road. There are strong winds and rain, and the road is winding along a lake. I’m not sure who is driving, and I’m a bit puzzled as to why I’m there as I haven’t worked as a paramedic in many years, and no longer hold a license. This becomes secondary as a figure appears in our headlights ahead. It is a man standing in our lane on the road. He stands motionless despite the storm around him. As we draw nearer, I realize I know the man. He is a well liked colleague from my current job.

I ask my partner to stop to see why my colleague is standing there, as he seemed to be staring intently at nothing. We pull up beside him. At first he doesn’t seem to notice we are there, I begin to roll the window down to call out to him. He slowly turns to look at me, and as he does his face morphs from his usually soft friendly expression, into an angry, contorted face. His usually shaved hair starts growing wildly, and by the time he crashes against my window (the one that that I’m now frantically trying to roll back up) he is unrecognizable. My partner accelerates away, and we leave him standing on the road.

We arrive back at the ambulance station. It’s a bit confusing, as it is laid out in densely packed cubicles rather than the ambulance bays and dayroom I was accustomed to in the past.  As we make our way down the narrow hallway between cubicles,  people congratulate me on rejoining the crew. This puzzles me as I have no license, and I can’t really recall why I was in the ambulance to begin with. Everytime I think about this, I’m reminded that I should probably tell someone about my colleague who we left standing on the road in a somewhat altered state.

As I pull my thoughts together about that, someone else approaches and congratulates me on my new managerial job. I try to ascertain from them what the new job entails, and can it be performed without an active license. I learn nothing new. This persists, encounter after encounter, until I finally wake up.

Fitful Sleep, Abbreviated Dreams

I had a restless sleep, frequently waking up. I had a series of short, seemingly unrelated dreams in between waking up. These are the vignettes I can remember.

I’m in a poorly lit small apartment. It is cluttered with things that are either from the 70’s or it IS the 70’s. I’m there for work, I’m with someone else. We move through the apartment and come to focus on the area around the small TV that is on a low table in front of an old dirty chair. Also on the table is a bundle of new, clean plastic tubes, like drinking straws but heavier and longer. I pick them up and start fitting them into the various bullet holes in the table, the nearby wall, and the chair. There are a lot of them, and they are all leaning the same direction out of their respective holes, like quills on a porcupine. I wake up.

I’m in a large crowd of people. Everyone is wearing subdued colors, navy blue, grey, lots of golf shirts and cargo pants, male and female alike. We are waiting for something. Soon the crowd starts moving, first being corralled toward a ramp then into a large building. As I approach the ramp, like those before me, I’m handed a bulky navy blue life vest and told to keep it on at all times.  There is no water in sight.

Even if I wished to comply with the instruction, there was no space in the jostling of the crowd to figure out the straps and adjustments, or even to pull the bulky device over my head. The narrow passage empties into an auditorium like space, I find myself about 3rd row back on the balcony. As I survey the scene, I notice most people have abandoned their life vests entirely, some are still holding them, and only a few have actually put them on.

As I look further, past the seating, I see a large deck or stage. On one side is a wave pool of sorts. It looks like swim lanes, but it is running water moving down a slope. There are people snowboarding down it. On the other side is a forest scene, with a sharp drop off the side of what would be stage left from where I stand. Suspended over the drop are two barrel, that have bars allowing us to see inside. The barrels are facing each other. I leave my seat and make my way up the walkway to the space between these two scenes.

As I get to the front of the stage, there are a few people standing around watching what is going on. In the wave pool there are folks learning to snowboard, and others who seem quite proficient at it. On the other side, there are two women who have been put into the barrels and are suspended above the drop facing each other. They don’t seem to be distressed to be there. One of them is someone I know well, and I’m puzzled as to why she would possibly be present, let alone suspended where she is.

As the crowd gathers, an announcer indicates it’s time to get them into the spirit of things, and two nozzles lower down and take aim at the face level of each barrel. Again, the women don’t seem concerned. The nozzles open and spray large quantities of what is announced to be beer, directly into the faces of the women. They laugh and drink what they can from the geysers aimed at them.

As this occurs, the announcer comes back on saying we are now going to hear how these lucky ladies got selected for this honour. A scene appears in the forested area of the stage, it almost seems like we are watching on a screen, it’s a bit fuzzy, and has a sepia tone to it. The woman I know is the subject, she is in a clearing with some other people, they all have long board skateboards. They are laughing and talking, then start boarding between the trees. In a voiceover with someone who nominated her for this, a male voice describes how she is the light of his life, and such a gentle soul. There is music, and lots of slo-motion footage of them boarding through the forest. I wake up.

I have a handful of tiny figurines of people. I’m walking around with a kid and we are discussing where they should go. We walk to a play area outside, and try to glue the figurines to the playground equipment, but they won’t stay, it just isn’t right.

We go indoors and find a matchbox car mat that has roads printed on it. We glue the little figurines in standing positions hand to hand along the edge of the road. One of the figurines is missing her foot and won’t stand up properly. I wake up.