I just had a startling insight. A lot of my dreams –especially the ones that continue a plot line – are about moving through, or trying to find my way through, long, cramped, and busy places. The office I sometimes work when I’m asleep is pretty much a series of rooms, sort of like the space grew organically as they needed more space, that go deep into the building. My desk, and the stockroom, are near the back. There are at least two department stores I’m trying to pass through to find something. The college building (the one with the walkway around the seventh floor and the pool on the third) where I so often am trying to find my classroom, or trying to get to the caf. The art museum. The shopping mall grown organically – like Gibson’ Golden Gate Bridge – into a long winding space. The big house with the (usually abandoned) dorm off the side of it. And most especially the narrow street in some city I’m not familiar with, lined with small shops and vendor’s booths, from which I never know how to get back to the bus station. The shabby but spacious and airy third-floor walkup.
I’ve been to all these places time and time again; they’re all familiar. I’m usually looking for something; often somewhere to eat or a men’s room. Often I’m trying to get somewhere, though I never remember where or why.
Reading from the dream interpretation book you bought at the checkout counter for $2.99, it could be a birth canal. On the other hand, it could be the passage to death. Or, like the Pilgrim’s Progress, search for salvation. Or just an expression of being in a complicated world I’m not sure how-to navigate. Or the search for a bathroom. If I had a therapist it would be a good opening statement. I’ll give it a good ponder, but I’m pleased to have spotted the similarities.