Sunday, December 19, 2004

How can a dream be this epic and exist only in my head?

Scott and I were preparing to board an oversized, modern airplane in a futuristic airport where everything had a bluish tint to it. Having developed a flying phobia, I was looking everywhere for a drink to calm me down. (So there are already overtones of fear, anxiety, and disaster in the dream.) I think I had obtained something — whiskey or gin — but it kept eluding me.

We had taken off, when some unbelievable news was learned, I think through a television screen embedded in the plane's wall. An incredibly ambitious space shuttle project had just met with disaster while attempting to re-enter Earth's atmosphere. The shuttle had about a dozen civilians on it, acting as the flight crew. The people I recall being on it were (keeping in mind that this dream really was unbearably sad, even though I had been flipping through the channels right before I dragged myself into the bedroom and happened to catch a bit of the SNL news and, well....) uh, Tina Fey and the other blonde woman doing the news were on it, and my friend James was on it as well. (Perhaps he was invited aboard due to the phenomenon of

The worst thing about the shuttle-disaster newscast was the fact that they somehow had video footage of everyone dying, and were broadcasting it.

First they showed interior footage of everyone happily gathered around control panels, goofing off, when suddenly there was incredible jolt, which jounced everyone sharply in their chairs, after which they started looking at each other in panic.

The next shot sh
owed a view of the shuttle hovering over the earth, as an announcer described how they had been in the process of re-entering the atmosphere when a trap-door in the shuttle had blown open, sucking everyone outside of the shuttle.

Here they showed a shot of one man in a spacesuit falling towards the earth (my waking mind now wants to insist that it was Kevin Spacey), which was followed by a distant shot of everything on fire.

Watching this, I was bawling — in such an incredible state of grief I couldn't see how anyone could go on living. Later on the TV was a broadcast of SNL where they were making jokes about the disaster and the two SNL deaths, and although in the dream I realized it was a form of tribute, it seemed very shocking.

I eventually ended up at a disquieting, sprawling amusement park at dusk, still distraught. While waiting to board a ride, some friends showed me a newspaper that had an accounting of the tragedy in it, to try and cheer me up. There was a large USA Today-style graphic on the front page, showing an illustration of the tan-colored night sky, with the new star Galacticus burning in it. This is what the space shuttle had become - a new star.

We board the ride, which was a log flume possibly 150 feet high. The ride was designed to give you a leisurely overview of the park while a canned voice described the attractions below. It was indescribably tranquil, as high up as it was, although the park still had that disturbing dreaminess that made me feel I oughtn't be there.

The end of the ride was a sudden, screaming vertical drop all the way down, into a confusion of water.

At this point, we were now stranded at the very end of the ride, miles and miles away from where we had begun. We could see it snaking back all the way to the horizon.

We were at the bottom of a final slope, with water pouring down it over our individual boats, and it was imperative that we somehow paddle uphill, against the current, back to the beginning of the ride. (Although we were definitely stranded and imperiled, there seemed to be residential areas to either side of us, like our waterslope was an overpass.)

After a dozen of us struggled with our paddles for a few minutes, I discovered if I just reached out my hand and grasped the side wall of the ride, I could pull myself up the slope easily. I discarded my paddle and began pulling myself back. Eventually I discovered it was a rope attached to the side of the wall which I was pulling off, as I pulled myself back with.

This scene metamorphosed back into the original large airplane I had been on in the beginning of the dream, but the action was the same - I was pulling myself upward along the middle aisle by a rope that was being released as I went from a small narrow groove in the side of the airplane wall that ran all the length of it, around all corners and contours. The airplane had many compartments, like a train, and I continued pulling myself upslope through all of them, evading something nameless, although no other passenger seemed much disturbed.


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