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why i don't keep a dream journal

2003-04-29 - 9:15 a.m.

The pieces of my dream are already fading away to leave me with one vivid image -- a perfectly round, bright orange satsuma in my hand. The way I held it. The way I peeled it one-handed, with a flick of the fingernail to reveal the sectioned flesh inside.

But I must start at the beginning. Last night, I was unusually tired and could feel myself being dragged under as early as 9 o'clock, although I somehow managed to stay awake until 10, in hopes of not messing up my sleep cycle too much. (I've been on a project for the last two years of trying to always get up at 8 A.M. or earlier, in hopes of achieving a more regular schedule.) As I fell asleep, I calculated that if I got up at 8, I would be sleeping for 10 hours. I woke once, briefly, around 3 and then at some point after that fell into a long and wandering dream.

There were always people around, too many people. Some, many (all?) of them were wearing brightly colored robes or, more accurately in many cases, robes that had once been brightly colored but had now faded. I and another person robbed a bank, but the reason we did it and the actual robbery itself are already fading. There was some statement that we wanted to make. There was some sort of 1960s ideology or inspiration, but outsiders (the media?) put some kind of religious modern spin on it. Like we were the leaders of a cult of bank robbers or something? (Fading, fading.) I think in the robbery that some people were shooting at us or that we were shooting at people and that some people were killed? I can't remember who the other person was. He (if it was a he?) was more notorious in the beginning but then seemed to fade.

There must have been a chase but I don't remember it. I just assume that there was because chases are a frequent occurrence in my dreams. (If you had a dream where armed gunmen were chasing me and there was an elevator and I went to the top and I was shot or cornered and had no choice but to jump off and then I somehow managed to stop the fall by flying away by flapping my arms really, really hard, then you would have the generic Peachfront dream.) There is an impression of many events and a lot of visuals and then I was caught and brought to trial in a large, untidy courtroom that didn't seem to have a roof on it or indeed, now that I'm thinking about it, any real means for making sure that I had to sit around and listen to all this. For the first time that I noticed, I started to have voices as well as visuals. Someone or maybe multiple someones referred to me as a terrorist. My lawyer said something else, but I can't remember what. It must have been at least somewhat convincing because the jury went out a little distance into a park (?) although I could hear them talking perfectly well, and after a time they came back and said that I was innocent -- I'm fairly sure I remember the word innocent as opposed to not guilty, which is the correct terminology, for who is innocent? -- and then the judge wandered off to decide what to do, and then the dream seemed to split into two paths.

On one path, the judge came back and said that I was free to go. But then it flashed back to a second path where the judge insisted I was guilty and that he had to do something. He wandered around a bit and I was getting rather tired of waiting around to hear what he would say, but then my sister(?) brought me a magazine with my face on the cover. It wasn't my real face, it was a rather generic face, somewhat long, skin extremely glossy to the point of being oily, eyes of no particular color. Even in the dream I couldn't help but think that it wasn't me at all (although I knew it was definitely meant to be the dream me, since it was quite obvious that I was dreaming) and I thought but didn't say that I looked quite young. Early twenties, maybe? The hair may have been my hair, since it was pulled back from the face and you could barely see it except to tell that it was straight, fine, blonde. The hands were posed the way they always pose your hands propped under your chin when they take your pictures in the upscale restaurants in Vegas -- a technique used to make the mostly middle aged and older clientele look younger because it lets the blood run out of the veins in the hands and mostly conceals one's neck and the underside of the chin. So I was looking at the picture and while I had the impression that it was taken outside, in a park, with me on my stomach in the grass, with my head propped up, I simultaneously had the impression that it was taken at Caesar's Palace. I looked at the photo and never got around to reading the article. There were some other magazines too and more people milling around. It was like a waiting room at a doctor's office or something. A poorly managed waiting room.

Then we got back on the timeline with the judge wandering back still wringing his (?) hands and wondering what to do. He (?) was wearing robes, but I have the impression that almost everyone was. I was wandering around the waiting room looking for a more interesting magazine to look at (I think that's what I was doing?), and someone was talking to me, but I might not have been listening. The judge noticed his mother, who was also wearing a robe and who had also served as a judge at some point when she was younger, and asked her what he should do. She said that he knew what to do. Then (or perhaps earlier?) I knew that he had been a judge in a previous trial (aha! in the dream, I must have been quite the professional criminal) or a victim of a previous crime. Then somehow the waiting room was the courtroom again (although there was still a lot of milling around) and the judge called a mistrial. Then I wandered off -- I guess the D.A. didn't want to try me again but this part is unclear -- and there were lots of people around. More fading. My partner in crime didn't seem to be around any more. More pictures were taken, I think. Then I was asked to give a speech or a sermon. Everybody still believed that I was a cult leader and I knew I had to go along and I was wandering about, trying to think of a way to, what? Live up to their expectations?

Then I was giving a service, but it was not in a church, because there were no pews. We may have been outside but I had the impression of walls without a ceiling. There were too many people, most if not all in robes, crowded about, but it wasn't like people from horizon to horizon, but more like the sensation of being crowded into a hallway. Somehow I was looking down on the people and I'd say now that there were only several dozen -- less than 100 -- people there. But the feeling was of lots of people and that I was pressured to do something different. I began to speak, at first something playing to the old followers, talking about the meaning behind bank robbery (although I can't remember the meaning). Then I began to perform a communion service with the satsumas. I clearly remember thinking of them as satsumas, although they were kumquat sized, perfectly round, and a vivid shade of orange. "This is my body, take eat," I said, and I fed a whole unpeeled orange to the person next to me. Then I said, "Go thou and do likewise." And people began to feed the little oranges to each other. But some of the people thought it was weird or maybe blasphemous so they didn't go along. Just a few of the people though. They were just starting to grumble. And I could feel myself coming awake and starting to think how it couldn't be much of a communion service without any wine or blood. Then I was fully awake and thinking I should write it down. Then I was thinking that the dream would have been perfect if the oranges had been those blood oranges, with chestnut red flesh, that I discovered a few months ago at the grocery store, but they weren't. They were just regular oranges.

I looked at the clock and it was 7:45, so I decided to go ahead and get up. I know where some of the elements of the dream came from. For example, last night on, I had skimmed a story about a homeless mentally ill career criminal who robbed a bank of $20 (without the use of any weapon, just by telling the teller to give him $20 and call the police) because he had been kicked out of his family's life, kicked out of the mental institution, paroled from jail, and he wanted to get arrested to have a place to stay. And there was a long bit in the article about how the jury debated with finding him guilty of bank robbery, which they did after much struggle because the teller greatly exaggerated how terrifying it was to have an un-armed bum hit her up for $20; the judge had not yet decided on the proper sentence for this evil deed. The communion stuff is because Easter just passed. Etcetera and so on. I don't see much Freud or Jung here in this dream. While brushing my teeth, I remembered that the world's most successful bank robber/cult leader was Stalin. I remembered that Patty Hearst was supposedly brainwashed by the cult/terror cell that kidnapped her and that she assisted, voluntarily or not, in a bank robbery. The whole dream just seemed a jumble of images tossed in a blender and spun around a few times.

I remember, or seem to remember, that no one fed me one of the oranges, so I don't know if they tasted like kumquats, satsumas, oranges, blood oranges, or what. But maybe if I had tasted them, I still wouldn't have known, as all of these fruits have great variations in sweetness and flavor.

I hope this is not a prophetic dream and that my satsumas are not doomed to be teeny tiny kumquat sized guys this year.

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