THE VERA DREAMS
Dreamed 1991/7/25 by Chris Wayan
Talk about dreams, with my friends Stanley and Vera. Then we jam, till late. I play keyboard--badly, but I play! New for me to let go and not worry about how I play... just DO it!
We all walk to Vera's Victorian house in the Haight-Ashbury, under the stars. After a cup of tea and a little winding-down talk, I bus home feeling happy. Because when I played, I stepped over a line drawn long ago... by some inner perfectionist.
I'm a student--single, white, female, 20, tallish, skinny. Not anorexic any more, just skinny, OK?
I'm following the Dean of Women--tiny, fierce, old, sure of herself--on her nightly rounds, through the Haight-Ashbury near Vera's house. We're prowlers, really--go from floor to floor, house to house--not just the dorms and houses the University owns, but old funky shared Victorians that students rent, where she has absolutely no right to snoop--but nobody stops her, and I accept it blindly too.
She's looking for lights on, music playing, and especially live music. Every girl up, she scolds... but musicians get the worst. "Nice girls don't stay out late and they don't play rock and roll!"
"What should we do?" I ask. I'm serious; as an overly nice girl, I want to know. Know thine enemy...
"Nice girls study and sleep--by ten o'clock--study and sleep--they have no time to get in trouble!"
I defer to her even though I disagree with her opinion of music and night life; in fact, when I see a lit window and hear several female students jamming, I feel excited and think "Maybe I'll meet a girl who's like me." I hear the Dean never married. I wonder if she likes girls too--is she frustrated? Maybe that's why she's so harsh.
TWO DAYS LATER
Vera calls me. On impulse, I tell her the dream. It was one of a whole set of authority-figure dreams I've been having; I do have an inner voice nagging me to be a Nice Girl who studies and sleeps (mostly my mother's voice)... but I seemed to be part Vera in the dream, and I wasn't sure why.
Vera is quite sure why.
She gets very excited and says "My father was very rigid about this; he came home tired and went to bed at 10 PM like clockwork every night; he blocked me from going out late with just this "Study and sleep" business. I've been in therapy, wrestling with exactly this issue!" Vera's convinced it was a psychic dream about her.
A WEEK LATER
(Two fragments of a long dream)
I dream that Vera is a conflict mediator. Sometimes her assignments (she was like a private eye) are risky and she has to carry a gun. This doesn't bother her unduly: she's never had to use it. "If I'm coping with drunks or gangs in a rough neighborhood like the Tenderloin, I need the gun so they'll take me seriously. If I didn't have it I'd need it; having it ensures I never need it!" I'm astonished; gentle shy Vera is the last person I'd ever think would have a job handling gang violence!
Now I'm in a dorm or housing project. My bedroom's private but the rest is all shared; one kitchen and toilet for the whole floor. I'm lying in bed. I hear shouting. I look out the window into the courtyard and see Vera is there, by a bus. An enraged man is blocking the bus, maybe holding hostages. Cops and spectators all around. Vera is negotiating... Wow. She wasn't kidding. She really is a conflict mediator!
TWO DAYS LATER
Vera calls to say "I might not be able to make it to the dream group this weekend, because I have a two-day workshop." I says "I had another strange dream about you" and read it to her.
Vera's shocked. "My weekend workshop is an advanced course in nonviolent conflict mediation. The group that teaches it works mostly with gangs and in prisons. I've felt very private about it and haven't talked to my friends about it." Certainly she didn't tell me.
Till I told her.
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