June 23rd, 2003


on ever-more lucid and bizarre dreams.

I'm at dinner in the (upstairs part) of a restaurant. It's a long table, with a lot of people... some kind of event, but I don't know what. I'm sitting across from my ex-girlfriend debbie, with whom there is some interaction, but I can't remember that either.

It's time to go, and everyone else files out with debbie and I at the end. We're walking up some stairs back up to street level (in contradiction to where we were eating in the restaurant), and I realize I have to go to the bathroom. I see some pictorial "Men/Women" signs ahead, so I say to debbie, go on ahead, I'll catch up.

At the top of the stairs is a landing, and to the right is a very narrow door leading to the men's room. To the left is another stairway leading up to the exit. I go into the bathroom, and it's SUPER tiny and cramped, and I have to close one door before opening another to the stall, then have to hold both doors closed to wash my hands, that kind of thing.

Upon exiting the bathroom, I find that I only thought it was a stairway leading off to the left, but instead it is a gently-sloping-down plain on which a freeway entrance is stretched out ahead of me, down to a highway off in the distance. "That can't be right," I say to myself, so I look to the left again (now a 180 turn from the original stairway up) only to see another highway entrance, this time to a tree-lined boulevard with cars. This seems like it makes more sense, so I take that path, but I'm getting very nervous since it seems plain I am lost.

Now in a UK-type drive-on-the-right car, which I am having difficulty shifting, I try to drive along, finding where I need to be to meet up with debbie and the other people. But it seems less and less familiar, the highway turns into a surface street, with many confusing signs. I see one for the airport, and think somehow that the answer to this is to go way back to the beginning of my trip, at my arrival in the UK by airline, and then the right path will be clear.

So somehow I wind up inside the airport, but I'm still lost... nothing seems familiar. I go through some glass doors into a kind of vestibule with booths on either side, then into a larger waiting-room type place, and then think I should just give up and call someone. I get out my cell phone and try making a call, but there is some difficulty, and I notice that there are only one or two bars of battery life left on my phone, and then realize with great anxiety that I have forgotten to bring my charger, so I will have to make this battery last my entire trip. So rather than fool around with the phone call difficulties, I put my phone away.

I try to reverse my path, back out of the waiting area into the vestibule with booths, and then ahhhhh, *NOW* this looks familiar, seeing the glass doors from this side. I feel as though I know where I am, but am anxious anew that I now have, like, DAYS of catching-up to do to get to where the other people are.

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on wet dogwalks

Saturday it was warm, so I threw on shorts for Ajay's dogwalk. We went up to the ponds by Japan House, and Ajay kept wanting to go in the water, but I kept telling him "no" because I didn't want him in the nasty green pond. But... the day was warm, the mud on the bank was looking awfully attractive to romp my feet through, so I eventually went down there with him. He splashed in the shallows for a while, and I cooled my feet in the wet mud on the bank. Fun.

Then a couple other dogs arrived, and their owners were throwing balls and sticks into the water, and Ajay decided he needed to go fetch them. He only rarely does an honest dog paddle, usually splashing with his front paws as if he were trying to climb on top of the water or something. This only pushes further away from him whatever he's trying to get to. So he kept swimming further and further out. I didn't want to take him off his flexi lead since I don't quite trust him off-lead, so when he hit the end of it I had to wade out further so he could reach the ever-receding ball. The mud out there was green from algae and ankle-deep, kinda gross even though it was still feeling pretty good to my toes.

I was secretly pleased that the other dog owners by now had all removed their shoes and socks and were splashing around in the water with their own dogs.

When Ajay tired himself out, we walked back along the bank towards home, and I had an instructive experience. I hit some especially soft mud, and went down to my ankle. I took another step, also going in to my ankle, but then pulling the first foot out of the mud sent my second foot down a couple inches further. This repeated itself for a few more very slow steps, until I was completely mired in about 8 inches of mud and still slowly sinking. I wasn't in any particular dire straits because all I had to do was make a 90 degree turn away from the pond and within a few steps was on the hard ground up the bank, but in that moment it hit me: oh, so THIS is how people get themselves killed in quicksand. The image in my mind of a field of mud too large to walk out of before becoming mired beyond my strength to pull either leg out, combined with the reality of what I had just experienced, was really very powerful and disturbing.

But it was a beautiful sunny day, and Ajay and I were safe in the grass again, so muddy dog and muddy owner tromped home to bath and shower, respectively. I'm so glad Ajay got to swim. He loves to do it, but I'm usually too weary to consider the bath he will need upon returning home to let him go in the water.

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