Monday, January 4, 2010

Two nights ago I dreamed that I went on vacation to 1970s Apalachicola, Florida, with someone else's dog--a large, mild-mannered German shepherd. I made part of the trip by bus, part of it by Volkswagen Beetle, and the dog lay next to me on the seat with his head in my lap. I think I may have been a child traveling with my parents, but I'm not quite sure. In any case, Apalachicola contained a number of white-framed, two-story apartment buildings as well as numerous convenience stores decorated with brown knotty paneling and low-slung swag lanterns. The interior lighting was reminiscent of a pool hall, but there were plenty of parking spaces outside the apartment buildings.

Last night, I reprised the same dream, but this time I found myself trying to construct a series of sentences that would accurately describe my memory of the previous night's episode. It was a dream about a dream, except that I was dreaming about writing about the dream, and I was also aware that I was asleep and dreaming about writing about the dream. I hate to think what a postmodern French philosopher would have to say about this confusing scenario. I do know I didn't accomplish much because I can't remember a single one of the sentences I spent all night constructing.

By the way, I've never been to Apalachicola. The only time I ever visited Florida, I contracted stomach flu and a high fever on the flight down and so spent the entire weekend in a Ramada Inn bed, where I stared in hallucinatory disbelief at reruns of "Bewitched" and "My Three Sons." I have known some very pleasant German shepherds, however. One was named Trilby and one was named Bismarck, and both were mild-mannered and dignified. And when I was about ten, I rode in the backseat of a neighbor's Beetle; and once my parents bought a swag lantern with S&H Green Stamps. I think they might have briefly installed it but then were embarrassed and took it down again.

That's about all the relevance I can dredge up, but no doubt there is an as-yet unplumbed psychological angle. Possibly, the French philosophers would have something to say about it, but I hope not. French philosophers make everything colder and more boring, and I prefer to think about that strange, swallowed-up, indoor lighting that used to be so popular in the 70s and how it contrasted with the hard daylight of summer, and the way those darkened interiors used to look and smell like cigarette smoke, and sometimes also smell like dogs--those peaceful old dogs ensconced behind counters and scratching themselves under wobbly tables. And then there is that name "Apalachicola." What an excellent word to say out loud. Who needs a psychological angle when you have a word like "Apalachicola" in your dreams?

1 comment:

charlotte gordon said...

Ok, this is an example of dawn writing. This is why I love your essays. Trilby! Bewitched.
Thank you