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Bizarre Political Dream

May 15, 2020

I was sick with a fever in mid-April. The symptoms were more consistent with a common cold than COVID-19, and as of May 4, when the sample was taken, there is no COVID-19 in my system. Given that there was nowhere to go, I splet at all hours of the day and totally threw off my sleep cycle. The past couple of weeks, I had been trying really hard to get it back on track using caffeine and other things, but wasn’t successful, consistently falling asleep between lunch and dinner during what used to be the most productive part of my day and unable to sleep from around 2-4 in the morning.

Yesterday, I had osteopathic manipulative therapy scheduled at Fordham Road, so it was important that I not sleep for that, although I was certainly concerned about falling asleep on the train and so forth. I made it on time without an issue, and got a good portion of King Henry V read (the setup about Salic law compared with Holinshed’s original in the footnotes–not exactly the most exciting part), but still ended up buying caffeine afterward. I slept much of the evening, got up with my contact lenses burning me and needing to go to the batrhroom around 1:30, then was kept up until about 3 by my roommate’s loud phone conversation with his girlfriend, “Princess,” then fell asleep until a bit after 6.

Supposedly your dreams are the most vivid when you most need sleep, and this was certainly true last night. I dreamed that I was in the lobby of a building in Midtown Manhattan where they were showing off a desert tan-painted tank actually inside the building. The driver had to be really careful to not break things as he tried to navigate it out through a service part of the building. This could have been comedic, but no mistakes were made, and much of what I did see of this was obscured because of a hallway full of shops between me and it.

I left, and in front of the main research library, or Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Library (I really hate calling intthe Schwarzman Building, its current official name), I saw a guy I seemed to recognize and who seemed to recognize me proseltyzing. We were all in facemasks, as in life. This was probably inspired by the guy I saw yesterday on the sidewalk from the bus masked and handing out religious pamphlets. In the dream, at first I thought he was Ryan Dorman, who organized my high school class reuninon, to which I was unable to go. It’s oddly been the subject of a number of dreams recently eben though the only part of the actual reunion that was on the campus was the homecoming game. Anyway, when I got a better look, he wasn’t Ryan Dorman, nor can I place the face at all, even though we recognized each other.

After that, I was eating in a brightly lit yellow room that I think was in a basement because there were no windows and the doors led to a staircase. They were projecting video with a lot of red and pink flowers that seemed to be Korean propaganda, and I think most of the people around me were Korean, and most looked sixtyish. It must have been a soup kitchen, because I was reminded of the principal of Nora Elementary School when I was in first grade. She was a bit of a Nazi who would go around to every table and tell the people at each through an electric megaphone, “Stand; pick up your tray,” although we eventually learned that if you weren’t finished, there were no real consequences for continuing to eat, and this ewas the same. I wasn’t quite finished eating. I don’t recall the meal, but I finished some floral-looking cookines (one pink, one yellow) before getting up.

Next I went to a Duane Reade store, which was of the old design with blue and green rather than the current blue and lavender). The checkout counter was to the left of escalators going down (not unusual for drug stores in Manhattan) and was staffed by sixtyish women I thought were also Korean. In-between the counter and the escalators was a lift of sorts (not an elevator, just a platform going downward, which is not the first time I’ve seen such as thing in a dream–last time you actually had to go behind the counter to use it). I’ve never gotten one of these things to work right in a dream. In this dream, it was under a whole rack full of products and impossible to use without getting caught on them, which I did.

When I got downstairs, the dream was at its most mundane. The food area was a bigger part of the store than it would be in real life (except maybe at the Union Square store). This was the most mundane part of the dream, and I remembered that I live in a homeless shelter and didn’t buy any refrigerated or frozen food except for a pint of ice cream. I did notice an innovation–meals that were sold together but boxed in different perforated portions of the box so that they could be cooked independently.

After I bought my groceries, I left the Duane Reade through the lobby of a government building. Normally the security in a governmeny building is only going into the building, but being so used to public library security checking everything you before you leave, at least at the main research building (which currently houses the central circulating branch while Mid-Manhattan Library across the street is being remodeled), and this being a dream, anything can happen. and in this case, it did: That fat fuck Antonin Scalia had decided that it would be fun to play security guard. And he didn’t have a shirt on. He wanded me several times, then told me to bark like a dog. I picked my food bags off the table, about to leave, and soon I was surrounding by a security detail and Scalia yelling me he wasn’t joking. I said, “You’re going to steal my food if I don’t bark like a dog?” Scalia said, “That’s exactly what I’m saying.” I started insulting him and said that he ought to be shot, and one of the regular security guards asked me if I knew who that was. I woke up soon after.

Maybe I should have said that he was dead. I dreamed I was riding in the passenger seat of a car while Dad was driving not too long after he had passed away in real life, and he didn’t fare well.

I didn’t fall asleep as much during the day, but I still did, including after dinner, and I’m not sure if I fell asleep near the end of the VOCAL-NY Zoom town hall or if I simply got booted from Zoom because of the weak WiFi, which happened several times during the town hall, sometimes kicked out long enough that I had to go back to the URL rather than it spontaneously reloading the meeting.

Speaking of Scalia, there is a funny story I heard from someone related to him. One of the lawyers who is a housing justice ally was sitting next to me prior to the City Council vote in December 2019 mandating a 20% homeless set-aside in all new housing construction that gets any kind of tax break or subsidy. Donald Trump had just been impeached, and the press really wanted to talk to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson about it, even though its pertinence to city issues wasn’t all that clear. I mentioned to her that years ago I had made a petition to impeach Scalia but had buckled under criticism and not promoted it. She told me that at one Thanksgiving, which would heave to have been 2016 (Scalia died February 13 of that year) or later, she had said that she was thankful that Scalia had died. She had totally forgotten that one of her grandmothers’ maiden names is Scalia, and that she was close enough cousins to Antonin that she actually had known him. I’m not sure how close that is, since I wasn’t brought up near my cousins and met my maternal ones only briefly and two of my paternal ones only through Facebook. She got quite a good scolding from her grandmother for saying that. Of course, I was there thinking how lucky she is to still have her grandmother as an adult. Of course, for me to have had any grandparents as an adult would mean them living to be nonagenarians tio reach my eighteenth birthday or centenarians or perhaps even supercentenarians at the lawyer’s age, the eldest (paternal grandmother) having been born in 1899 and the youngest (maternal grandmother) in 1906–all struck down by disease–Alzheimer’s, heart problems, and cancer–which I don’t know but am guessing late twenties.

  1. Lucy Godfrey permalink


    • NYPD actually does own a tank like that. I saw it once when walking on the Lower East Side. I don’t recall exactly where, and as it was, it wasn’t out in the open. I saw it through a space between panels. It was infamously used during the 1988 Tompkins Square Park Rebellion.

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