Dream Journal, February 14, 2016
We are here to work. We are good workers. We do good works.
My wife, Cat G., and I are in a local Holiday Inn conference room. Boring reddish brown carpet, chintzy faded wallpaper of fake oak wood paneling in a very cubical room, 40 foot wide, tall, deep. Fluorescent lights flicker above, giving the room a flat, dead light. The room is flanked by two sets of double doors, to the east and to the west. There is no furniture, there is only us. We are the last ones.
We are both wearing conservative corporate wear.
I have my red lacquered ukulele.
There is a monitor station set in the ceiling of the room. It looks like a fire alarm with a pink orb set in the middle of it and a tiny orange light, blinking on one side.
I take my ukulele and begin to play, carefully monitoring the orange light blinking. As I this I am explaining to my wife how the monitoring stations work.
The monitoring stations are set to check for repetitive, logical progressions of sound and action. So strumming 4 equal beats on the ukulele in 4/4 time will result in nothing being reported, no news is doubleplusgood to the monitor. Skipping a beat, or altering the tempo midway will result in an upset, which will get reported to the monitor MONITORS, a negative, doubleplusungood.
As I am explaining this, Amanda Palmer materializes, also in conservative corporate wear. I know this is Amanda Palmer the workplace peer, not the musical superstar (who would otherwise leave me starstruck), as she is in possession of natural eyebrows.
Strum, strum, strum, strum
Strum, (beat), strum, strum, strum.
I get a kind of sick glee in watching the facial expression of my wife and Amanda go from “things are going to be okay” to “oh damn, we are going to get in trouble”; wide eyes, flushed cheeks.
Strum, strum, strum, strum
Strum, strum, strum (beat)
The thing of it is, even in the dream my ukulele playing is not great. So it is a matter of diminishing returns, the longer we go, the more inevitable it is that the monitor MONITORS will show up.
Monitor MONITORS are known for their white suits and red wraparound acrylic eyewear. They are terrible, the punishments severe, and the fear we all have for them is quite real and palpable.
After a few slip ups in a row, we hear the monitor MONITORS in the passage outside the east door, so we run for the west. Door opens into another conference room, exactly the same. We move in and close the door behind us just as we hear the east door open in the room we just left. Dream takes on a manic energy. We run across the room to the next set of doors, and through. Next room has doors on all fours walls. Turn and through the North doors. Next room. East Doors. It all starts to blur together, I am playing manically on the ukulele this whole time. I giggle. Cat Laughs. Amanda goes “this is fucked up” and we are all laughing, out of breath. We go through the south door.
This room is the same in appearance, but very, very different in feel. There are footprints in a dark ashy crimson on the floors and the walls. Looks to be a men’s size dress shoe (no tread), roughly a size 10 or larger. The air in this room is quite cold, we can see our breath. There is a salty sharp scent. We cross quickly, there is something about this space that deadens sound. All singing and laughter and music has stopped, it is paramount that we leave this room as quickly as possible. Something decidedly ungood happened here and has left psychic reverberations. I catch in passing that the monitor orb in this room is a leaden grey color, not pink, the tiny orange light is steadily pulsing.
The next room is back to pale wood paneling and boring unmarked reddish brown carpet again. I have the sense we have been here before. We pause for a moment, and then resume with the ukulele playing. We are singing in discordant lyrics we are making up on the spot. Joyful cacophony. I notice Amanda’s eyebrows are gone, replaced with the resplendent hand drawn statements of her musician persona. Someone off-screen cues the Benny Hill soundtrack and we scurry from one conference room to the next again. A blur of anti-establishment joy. There is no longer any fear of the monitor MONITORS.
My wife wakes me up to fix the bed sheets, which have become discombobulated in the night. I scribble all this down. Of course I have the urge to locate Amanda Palmer’s Ukulele Anthem and play it as soon as possible.
Sarah Lee photo of Amanda Palmer grabbed from the Guardian