McRest-stop, McRestroom

As the dream goes, my sister, my dad, someone else ( I cannot recall who), and I are travelling by car. I don't know where we're going, but it is certain we are not on an interstate. We stop in a McD's on the side of the road to get some food. The place is setup on the inside more like some sort of diner, with a counter and stools - looks more like a Waffle House than a McDonald's. There is only one teller (to the right of the door) and there is a line.

As I approach the cashier to place my order, there is chaos around me. There are a lot of people in the line with me. I finagle my way to the front and then I freeze. The value menu is not the typical one. Of course it's been so long since I have been to a McD's that I wouldn't know what is in the value menu anymore. Anyway, I cannot seem to make up my mind. In the meantime, the cashier is getting restless. The crowd behind me urges me to place an order. I say, "The number three."

It hadn't been a split second when I realize the "number three" is a breakfast item - a sausage biscuit combo. This is perhaps one of the few things I would not eat from that place (along with their fish sandwich or the McRib). I quickly try to change my order, as the cashier grabs five dollars I am holding in my clinched right fist. Outraged, I grab it back and verbally confront the cashier. I berate him about bad customer service. Then, things go from bad to worse.

The man crawled from behind the counter to confront me. I never felt physically threatened, but he was not going to back down from his actions. The man was sloppily dressed. His face was unshaven. He was in his mid-forties and balding. In the middle of the oral confrontation, he doubled over and threw up all over the floor. Behind him, the front of the restaurant. It was all windows and a window door. It is the late afternoon. The day is colored orange and long shadows cover the landscape.

The sight of this man throwing up cleared the joint. There was no one left there. Everybody left in disgust. I remember leaving. I approached the car - a non-descript four-door sedan to see my sister and the other person there. My dad was not there with them. My sister told me he was still inside. I did not recall seeing him, so I decided to go back in for a closer look.

When I got in, everybody had left - even the employees (the only two that I remember including the cashier). I walked to the left alongside the counter. There was a hall that darkened as the floor to ceiling windows were replaced by a solid wall. The hall left to the restrooms. I called out my dad's name. He responded from the ladies' room.

I walked in without hesitation knowing that the place was deserted, but concerned about my dad. As I entered the room, which looked like a regular men's room without any urinals (all stalls), I heard the voice coming from a closed door in the far end. I wondered if he'd been locked in and was unable to get out. I don't remember having any difficulty opening the door.

I walked in to see a very interesting setup. The room looked like a tiny hotel room with a toilet. There was a bed. My dad had his suitcase out on the bed. He had some books or magazines out as well. He was concerned about his BM. He was confused too. I encouraged him to get dressed (he was hanging out in his underwear) so that we could leave. I remember him trying to get his stuff together.

And then, poof - I got up.

Created: 3/19/2009

Granddad's Golden Treasure

The dream started like a sequence from the movie 1408 - at least it had that feeling of familiarity. I was visiting somewhere – it didn't feel like home although it started looking like in-town Atlanta later on. It was dark outside. My brother was an infant. I walked carrying him in my arms through some pretty bad neighborhoods. I kept on wondering why I'd done that – feeling guilty and worried about something bad happening to him. I walked by a prison. It looked like the Emory dorms I drive by on my way to class except the building was sunk below street level and the area was gated. For some reason, a bunch of angry people were gathered outside. As I walked past them (not close enough to touch, but close enough to see), they began lighting up a rag that was sticking out of a large gas tank (looked like a water tank). I saw the flames and ran away. I wasn't far when there was a huge explosion behind me.

Day time came suddenly and I had reached my destination. I bump into my aunt and she tells me a story about my grandfather and how he had hoarded gold in the form of coins and bolts (as in nuts and bolts) and that she was never able to find it.

Across the street there's another crowd gathering. I learn a well-known newscaster/journalist/author was exploding his house because he wanted to rebuild or renovate and the bank wouldn't let him. This was his "FU" to the bank and he was quite pleased with himself about it. He set off the bomb and his house was obliterated. Another house, next to my aunt's and across the street, also collapsed due to the explosion. In the rubble by the front door I found some very rare rusty coins and a bunch of golden bolts. My sister and cousins were with me at that moment – our ages were not accurate (we were all likely in our early teens and preteens). I told them to help me get it all; that it was our grandfather's gold. They didn't believe me, but complied.

We went next door, to my aunt's house (I guess). Inside we looked at the loot. A baby was there that resembled my oldest niece (when she was much younger) – I guess it might've been my brother. The baby was in a high-chair. We were gathered in what looked like a screened-in back porch with tropical decorations and a nice bar. The morning was overcast gray. That's about as far as I made it.

Created: 3/6/2009

An Audience with the Jonas Brothers

This one is bizarre. By now I have forgotten how it starts and exactly how it ends – I should've documented it when it was fresh. I remember going to the Fox Theater and realizing once there that my ticket was for the previous or following day. The entrance to the theater is more like that of an open air auditorium and once in, that's exactly what it is. The lady at the door minds not that the ticket is for the wrong day and waves me in telling me there are plenty of seats for the performance. Interestingly enough, this ticket is for an assigned seat and not some sort of general admission. I have also managed to walk in with my photography equipment tucked away in my Canon backpack without inspection or reproach. Without much thought, I walk in and am escorted to my seat. The auditorium is not full, but it's not empty either – it appears pretty busy to me – people walking up and sitting down all the way up to the nosebleed section near a wrapping overhang.

I get to my seat in the center orchestra section, on the aisle and lay my backpack carefully by my feet. From there I can see the breath of the auditorium. It's huge. The sun is shinning on the sections to my left. All of a sudden it feels more like a baseball stadium than anything else. There is a stage front and center (where it should be). Then, things change.

Without much announcement, a handful of seats are lifted by some robotic mechanism – mine included. We're moved up and above the other seats and taken to a huge stage, not the one in front of the theater, but to the left of where my seat was. The clearing is huge and engulfed by seats. Out of somewhere come out the Jonas Brothers. This seems to be some stunt to promote their upcoming 3D film. Our seats are deposited on the stage and we can get out and interact with the stars. I'm pretty stoked to be there, one amongst just three or four more. Yet, the uber-excitement is lost on me. And that's all I can remember.

It's funny that I do know that the Jonas Brothers are coming out with a 3D movie – that's effective marketing for you. I can recognize the Jonas Brothers, but I could not spot one of their tunes to save my life. It's not that I'm not a fan, it is that I don't even know anything about them other that they seem to be everywhere these days… even in my friggin' dreams. Damn you Disney! Get out of my head!

Created: 3/2/2009

Lock Ness Golf Tourney

I know I've had a version of this dream before because it was all too familiar. It begins in an apartment complex – an Olympic village of sorts – at the beginning of a golf tournament. This is a team tournament and many countries are represented. I believe Colombia is in the mix. As the national anthem ends and I start greeting as many players as I can, I see the Clemson contingency and I give them a "Go Tigers!" as encouragement which is effusively received.

I walk up to an apartment in the top floor. From it I have a view of the players (all college-aged), now swimming in a lake cove. I assume it's to beat the heat until their tee times. I am walking in an apartment that's not mine for some reason. I don't take anything. Nothing catches my eye. I walk out to see an Asian man with a bow and arrow pointed at a deer. He releases and kills the animal. Upset, I remind him what he has done is illegal – that he cannot go around shooting weapons in an apartment complex. Somehow, the Asian man disappeared and was replaced by a fiery-red-headed gent from Ireland. He was incensed about my comments and wanted to get in my business about it. Somehow I avoided the conflict.

Suddenly, it is dusk. I'm away from the apartment complex and in a small strip mall. I'm with a friend – an acquaintance really. He wanted to talk about something. We walk to a small pizzeria with a few tables on the outside. We sit. He starts spilling his guts about something – I cannot recall what. All of a sudden a flaming arrow flies high above our heads and lands in a pasture. "It's the Irish guy," I think. The dry pasture is set ablaze. I run to try and contain the fire. Just as rapidly as it starts, it stops on its own. I'm pissed off.

Somehow I'm transported back to the apartment complex – now down by the dock next to the lake. A child – no more than 12 – is insistent on getting his submarine assembled so that he can go out into the lake. This is something he strongly believes he must do – like a duty. I understand his motivation, but encourage him not to do it. I fear the vessel will take on water eventually and he'll drown. Something also scares me about the lake and the vessel itself. All assembled, the submarine resembles the Lock Ness monster. It's also rapidly getting dark and that adds to my fear. There is something about this kid getting into the water in that sub in the dark that creeps me out. The dream ends as the child continues to assemble the submersible vessel.

What the heck does this one mean? This is a disjointed and weird as they come. I cannot make any sense out of it. It was incredibly vivid and familiar and those are the only reasons I decided to document this dream. Maybe when it comes up again (if it does) I will look closer for more details.

Created: 8/21/2008

A Reunion Clipped Short

As the dream goes, I met up with a few of my high school friends in an impromptu reunion. There were guys and girls I hadn't seen in more than a decade. They all looked exactly the same as they did then. Amongst them were two close friends and about ten other people from my class. Some of the people there were from other graduating classes in my school, although I knew them as well. There were maybe five people I didn't recognize. None of my friends had their kids or wives there (unless they were married to other high school people).

I remember at first talking to a guy who's a musician in Europe now and asking him about his record. He proudly played a couple of the tunes. I don't remember what the songs sounded like, but I do remember a woman singing the lyrics. I then continued to make the rounds, briefly saying my hellos to all. The meeting was certainly short. It was at night and something tells me probably a weeknight. Furthermore, it seemed like the group was stopping in Atlanta on their way to somewhere else. The hotel was close to my work and far from the airport, which led me to believe that my buddy had made the reservations so that we'd be able to see each other.

The hotel room was more of a condo than a room. It had a dining room, living room, study, full kitchen, etc. It was huge and nicely decorated. It looked more like one of my friend's homes than a hotel room. The place didn't resemble any place I remember ever being in though. The crowd was spaced throughout. A gang of guys was hanging around the kitchen. Some of my friends were in the main common area. Others were at a smaller study.

After briefly saying hello and exchanging a few pleasantries with the group, I was ready to go. I remember gathering my coat and bag several times – every time having to place them down to engage in another conversation or another goodbye. Every time I went to retrieve my belongings, there'd be gone from the place I'd left them. After the second time, I started suspecting someone was moving my stuff around as a prank. This annoyed me a bit.

As I was ready to finally head out the door, the idea that my dogs were there came to mind. I was not surprised to assume them there – they just were and that was that. At the same time, some of the guys in the kitchen started coming out with their hair shaved off. Some were sporting makeshift Mohawks; others were shaved completely bald. They were running around laughing like school children. I heard they were doing it in support for a friend (one I didn't know) with cancer. "Honorable cause," I thought to myself.

I was two steps from the door and calling my dogs when I saw Junior walk up to me, his back shaved. One of those guys had shaved the top half of my Boston terrier. I went nuts. I ran to the kitchen cursing atop my lungs only to see a guy I didn't know doing the same to my other dog, Sidney. In this case, I was close enough to see my dog's skin had been cut in more than five places. I imagined he tried to resist the shaving and got nicked by the clippers. One guy was holding my dog from the back and another, the shaver, was doing something to his face with a pair of scissors. That was all I could stand.

I jumped on the guy and wrestled him to the ground. Then, locking my arm around his, I took the scissor away from his hand and proceeded to stick it against his chin. I don't remember exactly what I said to him, but it might have been something to the effect of, "What gives you the right to do this to my dogs you %$@^&!*?"

The guy was frozen. As I jabbed the scissor tips closer against his chin, I dug in a bit and moved my wrist slightly, making a small cut into his skin. I was irate, but as soon as I saw blood I felt bad about what I had done. The cut was neither painful nor significant (maybe 2-3 mm), but I still felt like I'd gone too far. The dream ended there.

Hard to tell what this meant. Maybe the dream represents how sometimes I feel guilty after overreacting to a personal attack. Maybe it also taps into my incredible disdain for people who abuse animals – especially dogs, who at their core serve no other purpose other than loving their owners. The realization that my dogs had been shaved sent me into a parental protection mode. To see that one of them had been cut – likely hurt – several times in the process pushed me over the edge. At that point, cutting the perpetrator's chin was nothing in comparison with what I wanted to do; yet after I'd done it, I felt guilty. Interesting ways the subconscious mind works.

Created: 4/21/2008
Last Edited: 7/22/2008

Last Action Heroine

The beginning of this dream is unimportant and to be fair I cannot remember exactly how it started. What's important is that I was in a party – my party. There were a lot of people there – many I didn't even know. The first thing I remember is walking around questioning theology with a friend. I walked through the lounge, which looked very trendy with warm reds, glass, and dark colors, and into the outdoors. The place was located near the shoreline. I walked up to a gathered group. There was a guy I knew surrounded by three girls – women my age really. I walked up with the confidence of someone who's hosting the hippest party of the year. I greeted my friend and introduced myself to the girls – one of which took to me right off the bat.

We walked away from the group and down the shore. It wasn't a shore though. It was a rocky, shallow structure that looked more like the surface of a coral reef than a shore. I commented that it was man-made as I broke off a large conch shell from the area closest to my feet as proof. Then, I explained that this was just part of a protective barrier from the open sea. We walked up a bit and I was able to show her what I was talking about. There was a huge area between us and the ocean. It looked like a shallow pond covered by vegetation – like if enough water continuously crept in above the barrier closest to the ocean to keep the area about a foot deep at all times.

In a sudden move, the girl I was with, which had exposed a foreign accent, decided to walk down a thin wall that connected where we were to the outer barrier. It was a long walk and a tough one to complete without falling in. It wasn't long before she fell to the open area (the shallow-looking area) closest to me. As she fell in, what seemed like a shallow lake peeled back like a sheet in the wind. She fell into a deep lake that had been hidden from beneath the other one. As soon as she splashed into the water a couple of guys that were somehow meddling down there started swimming her way. For a brief moment I thought they were there to help. Then, it all turned horribly bad. Instead of helping her, they were trying to harm her. She screamed and fought them. A couple of them were fully engaged in her pursuit, but I could see others coming to their assistance.

Then, something happened. She found a gun somehow, running through the passages inside the wall. She turned back to her assailants and shot them both dead. The shots were incredibly accurate. I could see their heads pop open upon impact. Then, she continued her rampage firing upon every single one of the others that had come to the aid of he initial attackers. All of them were killed. None was left standing.

I was quite impressed at her accuracy – quite appalled at the massacre. I went down to her and remember her being calm and collected. I was awed by her shooting prowess. I sled down through the passages she'd navigated while shooting her pursuers. They were tight and intertwined, full of pipes and conducts, brightly lit in fluorescent white. I was thoroughly shocked and speechless at what had just transpired.

That was it. I woke up a bit later wondering what this vivid dream had meant. Nothing came to mind. I still think it was interesting enough to cube.

Created: 2/1/2008

Recurring Classroom Panic

I have a recurring dream that makes its appearance at very random times. It takes place in college – of this I'm sure. It is set in a campus very similar to my high school. Some of the features of the location are undeniably "CNG" – the stairs leading to high school next to the gym, being perched atop a mountain looking down on the city. There are though some things that make this place different. Behind the main structure, where in my high school would be nothing but woods, are more structures: buildings, basketball courts, fields. Distinctly I remember the campus also being much more barren of trees than my high school. For some reason, I assume this to be Clemson. The time of day always seems to be the same – a clear, sunny afternoon – a 5 or 6 o'clock setting orange sun illuminating the scene.

The dream always starts pretty much the same. I enter the scene walking up those mentioned stairs (which are much larger and taller than the ones in my high school) like a lamb going to slaughter. I feel a sense of impending doom. I walk up to the classroom which is anything but atypical for a high school classroom, but is perhaps a bit odd for a college one. I sit down fully realizing that the term is almost over and I have managed to skip all the classes. The subject is math-based (which would make it manageable or easy for me, yet I'm lost). I sit nervously realizing I not only don't know the subject, but I don't know the teacher or anyone in the class with me – I guess this is exactly what one would feel given the circumstances. It's like finding out during the last week of school that you have been enrolled in a required class that comes along with very unpleasant consequences if failed. It's nightmarish for sure.

Always, at about the same time, when nerves escalate into panic, I realize this is a dream and that there is no possibility of failing the fictitious subject. Sometimes I wake up at this point. Other times, either the class ends or I just don't care and wander off inconsequentially. When I've stayed awake I have meandered around the campus – that's why I know what's behind the building where my class takes place.

Besides the point that this is an interesting dream because it's one of my few recurring ones, there's also the fact that this so out-of-my-character scene sends me into a full-blown panic. I've never been in a situation similar to this. A test has never gotten me by surprise. I've never missed a whole semester's worth of classes on any subject. I stopped skipping class when I left Andes back in 1995. Heck, if I were to skip a single class at Emory it'd be a waste of more than $600 of my money – definitely not a smart or fiscally conservative thing to do.

On a related note, last night I had another school-related dream - this one focusing on an incoming mid-term for my Derivatives class. The setting is not Emory or the school in my recurring dreams. Regardless, I show up in class to the pseudo-surprise that there's a mid-term I have not studied for. I'm not too nervous because I know the subject matter, yet I'm not happy about it. The reason for this dream is quite clear. For a few days now I have been questioning whether the mid-term is this weekend or not. If anything, the dream indicated I should prepare for it regardless… so I will.

What is it about school that births so many nightmares? Is it the fear of underachieving? Is it the fear of not being accepted for who we are?

Created: 10/11/2007

Border Experiment

Last night I had two main dreams. One, I'd rather skip on the grounds that it's perhaps a bit NC-17 and, as such, very personal. The other was quite humorous and worth cubing before I forget it.

On the heels of thinking about going to Dubai with my MBA class next spring on what the school calls our class' Colloquium, I dreamt about travel. At the same time, I had just uploaded the "Where I've been" application on my Facebook page (yes, that's right – I went from skeptic to junkie – it sickens me) and had remembered one of the most random places I'd been to: Slovakia.Having perhaps one of the least popular passports in the world, international travel has often been a hassle and my dream was all over this.

IT BEGINS. I arrived at the border crossing into Slovakia much differently than the first time I had done so from Austria. The border patrol (inside an old, rustic office with dim lighting) asked me for my papers and as soon as he saw my passport cover he realized this would be no easy transaction. Noticing the immediate change in his body language, I signaled that I had been there before by producing from within my documents' inner pages a Slovakian visa. The guy smiled and waved me in. In a split second, perhaps motivated by a deep awareness of proper procedure, I said, "It's expired." Pure genius. The barriers that the document had torn down were once again propped up. Somehow the border agents couldn't do anything for me and I found myself trying to contact my country's consulate. I looked through my phone and auto-dialed the place. The phone wasn't taking into account the country code so the call wasn't getting through. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get anyone to answer.

Then, things stated changing. All of a sudden, it was as if I was allowed to take residence in the border town while my situation got cleared up – not necessarily free to wander into the country, but certainly able to go back to where I'd come from. I remember continuing to try to reach the consulate unsuccessfully while in this transition area still to no avail.

Picture the border town as a current times ghost town – like an abandoned rendition of Disney's Main Street USA in grayish tones. There wasn't snow on the ground, and I don't remember it being particularly cold, but the coloring of the setting was certainly reminiscent of a snowy winter's day. All the stores were stocked with items for sale. Everything was normal, except for the lack of people wandering the streets. It had a very New Englandish or Mainish feel to it. Quaint yet spooky.

Then, things changed again. Instead of being on the Slovak border, I felt as if I was in some Chinese border town. As quickly as this happened, I realized I was part of a weird experiment. It became clear to me they wanted me to leave of my own free will. First, a farmer set up a gated pen next to the area where I was hanging out - keep in mind this all happened in mere minutes. The pen was then filled mostly with cows and they brought with them a host of fragrant emissions. The Chinese were trying to gas me out of town. I was aware of their tactics, so I was set on not letting them get their way. The smells did little to faze me.

The final experiment – the last one before I woke up – was the really interesting one. From the far side of Main Street, a shuttle (one not unlike any of millions circling any US airport at any given time) appeared making its way towards me. It stopped and unloaded a group of black American ladies. "If stink can't get him to leave, a bunch of black women moving into town will," must've been what they were thinking. And why not? There is an impression that racial issues in America are such that some people will be inclined to move if a group of people unlike them move into their vicinity. In this vacuum experiment, the Chinese were trying to see if this would finally get me to leave – an interesting social experiment, although highly flawed in its execution.

Of course aware my behavior was being tested, but furthermore relieved to see a familiar group in such unfamiliar surroundings, I quickly ran up to the arriving black women and welcomed them with enthusiastic hugs. They didn't seem to be aware they were part of an experiment, and they weren't absolutely thrilled to be there. I was nothing but elated to see them. After them, more women (mostly white) arrived in similar fashion. I remember going around encouraging them about our situation – how some of them could run the abandoned furniture store while I could run the coffee shop, etc. – like we could have our own little society in this very unlikely of places. Confusion quickly turned into excitement.

The last thing I remember is feeling that everything was going to turn out all right. We had decided to make the best out of a very bizarre situation and live as a community. Suddenly, communicating with the consulate or dealing with the Chinese were no longer in mind. We had a plan, and we were about to play the hand we'd been dealt. THE END

I don't really know what to make of this dream. I can certainly see why I dreamt about travel and having issues at borders. It's not particularly pleasant traveling with a Colombian passport. I have also been studying psychological experiments in my Leading People and Organizations class – in particular the Milgram Experiments, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Class Divided experiment (all available for viewing on YouTube) – all highly provocative experiments with very interesting results (human beings are messed up in the head). The Chinese connection is perhaps a bit farfetched, but I just realized that some people in my MBA class just left for China to fulfill their international credits. Could that be it? Who knows. The rest, if anything is left, is pretty random.

Created: 8/11/2007

These dreams are made of this

I often have really vivid and interesting dreams. They are, unfortunately, quickly forgotten. I also have a small repertoire of recurring dreams – I usually realize it as I'm having them. I forget those shortly after as well. Why not capture the ones that are worth remembering? Why not give them their own cube? Why not indeed.

My dreams are made up of so much – daily thoughts and occurrences, deep feelings and memories, absolutely random things. This is what makes them so interesting to me – it's like my brain stages a play in which I'm the main character – sometimes I'm in complete control of the situation, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes the situations are bad and I am glad when (sometimes within the dream) I realize I'm dreaming. Sometimes I wish I could just continue sleeping because the situation is so wonderful. Alas, they all end the same way.

I don't claim to know much about their interpretation. I do believe that although some dreams may carry certain subconscious significance, not all of them do. Whatever makes it into one of my cubes may be particularly telling of who I am or perhaps may just represent one of those insignificant, yet interesting voyages into the nether regions of my subliminal mind. All in all, I'm sure one day I'll look back and be thankful I added this category.

Created: 8/11/2007