Chris Wayan's journal, 1994/12/14. No, not a dream. It just reads like one.
I call my friend Stephanie the dream researcher, and arrange to pick her up to go see my art show of dreams. She'll be in front of a school...
But when I drive over to pick Stephanie up, I can't find the school! Been by it dozens of times. Park, walk all over the area... and never see it. Know I passed it and it's in plain sight. Schools don't just vanish. This has to be powerful self-sabotage, but I can't break the spell.
Drive home at last, defeated. Call Stephanie's number, leave a message--though what can I say? "I didn't show up because the school disappeared?"
Why did I do this? Do I not want to see Stephanie? I HAVE to see her soon--need to return a book she lent me.
Why'd my unconscious exhaust me, make me drive around at rush hour (which I hate), just to delay meeting a few days?
ONE WEEK LATER
Write my dreams busily, don't eat till noon. Then I bike over to meet Stephanie at Radio Valencia Cafe. My self-saboteur is still reluctant, slows me down with a flurry of last-minute interruptions from friends, so I'm five minutes late. But at least I'm there, and the cafe's there.
But this time she's not. Oh, of course, she's riding Muni. Unreliable! Wait, wait, wait.
I don't want to eat here: pricy, and it's all toxic to me--sugar, cheese, meat, pepper, grease, salt, caffeine. I sit nervously, worrying they'll throw me out for not buying a big poison meal. I pore over the menu, tensing whenever the waitress comes by, though she doesn't mind a bit and smiles reassuringly. I'm such a hermit...
Their menu is covered with Lloyd Dangle cartoons. Suddenly I see Radio Valencia as a historic cafe, like La Grenouillerie where the Parisian bohemians hung out. Wow! Genuine Dangle illustrations on the menu! Hmmm. Suddenly I flip into skepticism. Why do I worship anyone who gets into print at ALL? Why be excited about a guy who decorates menus? It's not like I like his cartoons especially. Just a distraction from my discomfort here.
I order herb tea and sip. And sip and sip. Half an hour. No Stephanie.
A man walks up and asks "Are you Chris Wayan?" "Yes." "I'm Tim." Stephanie's boyfriend! I recognize his voice, though not his face. We have a confusing non-sequitur conversation. Finally I gather Stephanie was running so late she couldn't get back to work on time so she sent Tim as her emissary to pick up the book. Only Tim wants to talk, too. I feel uncomfortable with him. He's very relaxed, friendly, confident, but confusing. He follows personal associations and jumps to grand abstractions about society. In fact he sounds a bit crazy, and makes no secret that he was once diagnosed schizophrenic. Yet he's intelligent, well-read, and much less fearful than I am. In fact Stephanie's more paranoid than he is, and she's a working therapist. Interesting to meet a crazy person who's coming out of it without drugs--his social and emotional sides already straightened out, his thinking gradually settling down into coherence...
He's curious about how and why Jill Gregory got me banned from the Bay Area Dreamworkers Group. His questions are quite perceptive. He's definitely gone most of the way through his madness and out the other side--his thoughts still a bit fractured, but not enough to disable him, and behind the thoughts, his aura and emotions feel clear. Well, no worse than your average philosophy student or local nihilist. The satanic I'm-a-bohemian beard and the Hegel quotations add to that impression, of course...
It's a lovely day in the Mission, so the dreamer and the madman go for a walk. I get so disoriented around him, I get lost in my own neighborhood! Weird. I feel drunk and disorderly. Takes a while for me to get it--weak boundaries! I'm picking up his thought-style! He's that powerful a personality. No wonder Stephanie was attracted. Like walking with a tornado.
Interestingly, it's a two-way street. Tim wants a cigarette, and has a pack on him, but can't find it. Assumes he left it in the cafe, and wants to buy another pack. Out of nowhere, I blurt "No, my unconscious has been hiding things for days, especially things connected with Stephanie. It hid Yoey School from me, last time we tried to meet! It probably just clouded your mind and hid your cigarettes, because I'm allergic. Don't bother buying a new pack, they're on you, they'll reappear as soon as I go." Had no idea I was going to say that, it just popped out.
Did he believe that? Of course he believed it! I'm a shaman, and he's crazy. Why shouldn't he believe it?
Into Mission Library, looking for a book Stephanie recommended. I try to look the book up, but as soon as I touch a key, my terminal locks--only mine. Damn, I'm jinxing computers again... This has been happening so often lately, electrical equipment's just not safe around me. I don't know why.
Tim, without any shyness, asks the librarian for help, and she promptly finds the book. The crazy are so much more functional than the terminally shy... (sorry).
Tim just taught me a lesson. If I crash computers all the time, I'll have to face human beings. Maybe that's my jinx's goal. "Aw, did the big bad jinx force poor Wayan to go out and have FUN?"
At the entrance to the BART station, we say goodbye--and Tim suddenly starts, and laughs, and pulls out his cigarette pack. They're in his pocket, demure and innocent, as if he hadn't searched in there a dozen times... Where DO these things go--schools, cigarettes, Stephanies?
I walk off to get my bike; I know just where it is now, as soon as Tim's presence isn't swirling round me; the drunkenness instantly gone.
It's a hard ride home up Bernal Hill, for I'm exhausted from my latest non-meeting with Stephanie...
But I keep breaking out in laughter, too.
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