"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Monday, January 04, 2010

alligators in the sewers

i know, it's been a long time since i've posted, and shame on me for letting this fall by the wayside. before i forget, HAPPY 2010!(it's going to rock so much harder than 2009, don't you agree?) and also, a recollection of a dream i had last night:

my friend Dave who incidentally goes to grad school at UCLA (but who i haven't seen in months despite living just blocks away from each other) asked me to come over to check out this crazy-looking condo he was thinking about renting for him and his new girlfriend, who may or may not have been pregnant. when i got there, my immediate thoughts, i remember, were "sweet dang! how much money does a grad student at UCLA make?!" – because the place featured impressive (albeit confusing) post-modern architecture and, the real point of interest for me, an expansive lagoon/swamp/"koi pond" underneath the deck. this is what i felt most obligated to check out for my friend. i tip-toed closer to the water, and observed the alien-looking marine plant life, as well as some strange movements on the surface. i saw some kind of mechanical alligator head, which looked like a wind-up toy, but then i couldn't be sure, so i got creeped out and discouraged from venturing a toe into the water. i searched the depths, murky and deceptively deep, looking for fish and now, alligators.* i informed my friend that i believed water of unknown depths to be dangerous.

we moved further along the deck and i observed fins skimming the water. i looked on closely, tensely, awaiting dolphins or sharks. first, dolphins, and i thought about friendly swims with porpoises. but shortly after, sharks emerged too, and i thought of thrashing water and sharp bites on the ankles. i delicately lowered a shoe'd toe beyond the level of the deck, offering it up to the depths below to see how eager and hungry the marine ecosystem below me was, but Dave snatched me up before the sharks and alligators did.

we moved inside as my friend told me how much his new investment was going to be, "$500, 000 for rent." rent?!! i gasped. you can buy a house in kentucky for that much! ah yes, but he reasoned that he really wanted a nice place for his gf and "baby?" to live, and i concurred that, despite the potentially dangerous lagoon in his backyard, living with danger and a body of water nearby could be a pretty satisfying experience, albeit a uniquely LA one (and already attainable, at a much cheaper price – ah, the glories of private property ownership!)

we moved inside to his artfully minimalist living room and sat on his firm couch, and his dog came up to me and wrestled with my leg. i then remarked on how impressively wide and large his dog's head was, and told him what he had here wasn't a dog, but a polar bear. i cautiously played with it, then watched as the dog and another animal my friend seemed to be domesticating (an otter? a fox? a bear cub? i don't know, just that it had a red body and a furry face) started making out.


in the dream before that, i believe i was wandering around the city of chicago, looking for a place to stay while i was there for a conference. i had a map, but the lines showing streets were gone or faded and all i could see were the names of streets floating on a page, guessing at their intersections. my parents came and met me at a corner bakery where we talked to some business man in a suit and tie about staying in one of his many properties in the city but he seemed unconvinced i shouldn't just be homeless and continue wandering the city for the entire weekend.


earlier this week (or last week, as today is monday) i had another dream where my family was trying to swim across a river. i made it across and was looking down into the water, watching alligators swimming up to the shore, bellies up and skimming the surface, then flipping off the bank and catching things in their arms and legs. my dad was the last to swim across the river and i watched as he got closer to the bank of the river, at the same time an alligator came near enough to flip off the bank and onto my dad, its body sinking him into the water and swimming away with him. i woke up terrified and gasping, as if i too had been drug under water.


i looked up the symbolism of alligators in dreams, and Bella, "the voice of women" writes:
alligators and crocodiles in dreams can signify 'hidden danger'--a situation that you are aware of on an intuitive level but are not acknowledging in your conscious mind. This can be a simmering situation at work, a untrustworthy person, or sadly, anything that you can't really see coming but which strikes out of the blue and without mercy.
i don't listen too much to psychoanalysts, even tho i once wanted to be one. i don't read too much into my dreams either (i have a record of outlandish, vivid dreams that are more exhilarating than they are revelatory) – i have at least one intensely vivid dream a night (that i can remember).

that is to say, i don't write about this for any truth-seeking reason, but merely as an exercise in recording. and, writing. and also: because they are fun to remember. (but, since i mentioned it: stressed thinking about school (applying, attending, working at) and possible future lives, the dwindling winter break and how much i miss being home and particularly in this house, with my family, and the fragility of life and how delicate each moment is but how destructive we can be with each other in spite of life's fragile moments...)

much to think about, and it's almost time to sleep.

*once when i was very young (maybe 10?) my family went to vacation in south carolina. my dad, recently returned from a business trip to florida, brought me and my brother matching mickey mouse hats (my brother's was blue and green, and mine was red) and we wore them out onto this long wooden deck where the locals dangled pieces of chicken meat on metal hooks, in order to catch crabs. crabbing was an intricate process, from skewering the chicken bits just so on the hook so that the skin and fat would dangle off the bone enough to dance enticingly in the water, to sensing the slightest bit of tension on the rope, signifying the crab's eager tugging on the bait (you had to time it just right so that the crabs had enough of a taste to want more, and then slowly hoist them out of the water so you could slip a net under them), and we enjoyed it for hours on that wooden deck. until suddenly, i felt a sharp tug on my line, and looking down, ready to bring my catch up, realized i had baited an alligator. it was thrashing and tossing its head around, the rope coming out from between its teeth and leading up to the deck, where i had tied it just in front of me. terrified, i yelled for my dad, who came rushing to my rescue to wrestle the rope still enough so he could cut it. i remember feeling like the whole deck was going to come crashing down into those alligator-infested waters. in the excitement, my hat got knocked off my head, and i watched in horror as it fell down into the water.
that night, lying in bed, feeling i had just survived an alligator attack/ avoided an alligator eating, i imagined my hat, the hat my dad gave me, lying at the bottom of the swamp, alligators swimming around it, mickey mouse winking up at the surface, forever suspended in time.

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