Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

The Way of Dreams

I woke up this morning with unusually detailed memories from a dream I’d been having and decided that I owed it to myself to record it, as best I could, even if that meant getting less sleep than I needed. The finished document came to over 1500 words!

I’m not going to share that one here. But I will share another. For years now, when I do manage to log something from a dream, however imperfectly, I email the text to myself in Gmail with a subject header that starts “DREAM:”, so I can easily search for it later. After I’d sent myself today’s dream, I looked through some of the older ones and found this strange dream from August 24th, 2009, one which I had completely forgotten:
Japanese architect. I see him on park bench. Turns out tattooed woman in bathing suit w/ two children nearby are his family. At interview, in a big Arts + Crafts-style house in a neighborhood a la M's Capitol Hill abode, I don't really see the architect, though I feel like I brush by him on way in. Woman is naked, as are children, who
are running back and forth on wood floor violently. From across the room, her pubic hair seems mostly shaved, except perhaps for a sliver. I can't or won't look as she approaches. I'm trying to find a place to put my glass - when did I get it? - in the dishwasher as she stands next to me by the sink talking rapidly while doing some mom-ish activity, perhaps involving sippy cups. She's explaining how they have very little cash, with the economy and all, as a prelude to telling me what the job pays. I'm about to say I understand, that absence of cash is what brings me to this interview, when I awake.

NOTE: It's unsettling that I'm a man applying for this job and yet she wears no clothes. I think, during the dream, that it must be one of those no-clothes - not just no-shoes - in the house deals and wonder if I will be expected to fit in or will feel weird, grilled by the children, if I don't.

I just remembered Paper Tiger + how it overlaps.

This whole dream took place between 9:10 and 9:20. It was good I let
myself drift off.
What interests me, aside from the strangeness of this dream -- not a subject I can ever recall visiting before or after -- it that writing out the other dream and then searching through the ones I've archived on Gmail brought me to this dream, which connects up with something I've been meaning to do these past few weeks.

You see, I didn't attend many movies as a kid. My parents basically just took me to whatever Disney film was being recirculated that year. I do remember seeing Bedknobs and Broomsticks in pre-school at a church function -- I think it was one, anyway -- without either of my parents in attendance and being freaked out by it somehow. Presumably that was a 16mm screening, though, since it was held in a church basement.

It wasn't until 1977 that I saw a "grown-up" movie in a theater with my parents, Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, at the same theater in Quakertown, Pennsylvania where months later -- and many months after its initial release -- I finally persuaded them to take me to see Star Wars. But I had seen two other films in public spaces before that, on the Auto-Train my family took en route to a Florida vacation made possible because my dad was attending a conference for work during part of our stay.

My memory is a little unclear, but I believe that the first film I saw this way was Benji, which I experienced as a rather scary story and the second was Paper Tiger starring David Niven. The latter film is the story of an Englishman who is hired to tutor the son of the Japanese ambassador -- played by Toshiro Mifune -- to a fictional southeast Asian country, one which somewhat resembles Malaysia.

The plot of Paper Tiger centers on the fact that Niven's character tells the boy tall tales of his heroism during World War II, all completely fabricated, but then has to demonstrate real courage when he and the boy are taken hostage by terrorists. It's a strange subject for a film, even back in the cinematic strangeness of the 1970s, which helps to make it stand out more in retrospect.

I had been thinking, these past two weeks, that I should rewatch the picture and write about the powerful role it played in my perception of the world as a place of confusing dangers. i had even extracted the DVD I ordered years ago in preparation for a viewing. So the fact that I stumbled upon the write-up of this dream from 2009 today, one that I apparently believed to be connected with Paper Tiger -- perhaps I had started to rematch it on VHS back then? -- suggests that my unconscious was hard at work redrawing connections that had been blurred.

As I write this entry, now, I'm also seeing more pieces fall into place. I distinctly remembered just now that visiting Disney World after seeing Paper Tiger changed the way I perceived the theme park. Some small part of me was on the look out for risks. And the ride Small World -- my mother's favorite -- felt more ominous.

It also makes sense that I would confront this dream from 2009 today, because I have been working on rearranging some things in the family room -- to make room for my daughter's new snake Alexander -- whose position hasn't changed in years. I've dislodged items in physical space and that has led to also dislodging some things in my mind.
Tags: autobiography, dream

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