Very complex dream last night, in which many past events of my life had happened differently/been substituted for. In general, the main difference was that I hadn’t moved to LA in Summer of 2003 (when I married Tova). Instead, as I realized while chatting with my old friend Phil Poulter, I taught at MCC in Texas (which had been vastly expanded, to the size of a university) where I was exploited during the Spring 2003 semester by being given only one class [this is a reference to how I was treated in NYC that semester at John Jay College of Criminal Justice—I was cut down to one class which damaged my economic prospects in the city] and further exploited (in the dreamlife, at dreamMCC) by being forced to edit the student newspaper for free, in return for a chance to teach more classes in the future. I kept running into my students from the 03 dream-semester, smart, affluent, mostly Asian (dreamMCC had demographics more like UCI than central Texas, and I think the students from the “dreamclass” referred to the students in my Art of Poetry class at UCI in Spring 2001—probably the single class I have most enjoyed teaching, to naturally thrilling results (I won an award!)—the sort of class that I feel like my friends with PhDs and “real” teaching jobs have the chance to teach all the time.
In the dream I had had to more or less write the student newspaper myself, with help from a handful of kids in my “dreamclass” (which was just a comp. class) and it had been short, naturally. I had been dragooned into doing it because the person whose job it was had been on leave, maybe pregnancy leave (a reference to how I filled in for a teacher on pregnancy leave in Fall 2003 at Cypress College, where I was also poorly treated [classes cancelled in summer 2004]—interesting how the referential dates revolve around Summer 2003). In the “dreampresent” the student paper was huge and done by students. It occurs to me that dream MCC represented all the community colleges (since MCC was the first one), and Phil represented all the colleague-friends from the community colleges (since he was the first and best one).
Then found myself at the Martin house conversing with Phil P and James Sherry. Alcoholic subtext, but not directly mentioned—just that kind of conversation. Someone was puking in the garden. Then found myself in New York City (Williamsburg) for John Ashbery’s wedding [?]. Everyone involved very shy of publicity. Many old southern gentlemen talking about John, comically mock-pompous orations. Teenagers recording everything with camcorders, the tapes from which were meant to be confiscated at the end of the ceremony, but some of the parents of the teenagers [poor relations!] plot to sneak out with tapes to tell to the tabloids. So, a confidential wedding and it’s unclear who the other groom and/or bride was, so also a one-man wedding. There is a lovely circle-dance of teenagers pointing camcorders as they spin. It ends with confusion, as there’s a general effort to confiscate tapes, poor relations screaming and crying as the tapes [negotiable memories] are pulled away from them. I am the poor relations of course, as much as [no, more than!] I am Ashbery. I would like to be Ashbery, which is different.
After the wedding, I start driving home but have drunk too much and lose control of my car in a small tree-lined neighborhood just north of Williamsburg [very funny—suburb with lawns where Bed-Stuy should be]. I crash the car in a yard. I get out, and find my head is bleeding. I know if the police catch me I’ll get a DUI so I decide to walk home. I have to walk with no shirt on because I’m using my shirt to collect blood from my head. I go into the backyard of a suburban house and find an outdoor pantry from which I take a bottle of water. I worry that I’ll get punished no matter what I do next, because the crashed car is evidence against me, but on the other hand if I’m sober when they see me who’s to say I was drunk when I crashed. (The answer is, the wedding guests will narc on me.) So I walk and find a small southern-style convenience station, the sort you’d find where one one-lane highway intersects another, with a Bubba type dude inside. He doesn’t care I’ve got no shirt on and a bleeding head. I ask for directions to the train but he doesn’t know shit. Then I walk out and some tourists point me to the train. It’s the train to Manhattan (where apparently I live). I find a backpack on my back, put on a shirt for the train, find my head has stopped bleeding and my vision has cleared, and off I go. It’s actually the 1/9 train (misplaced, and of course the 9 train is discontinued now).
Dream seems to reference my comments on “backward causation” on my blog yesterday, the idea of changing one’s life through a natural, unnoticed process of backwards causation where actions today cause events in the past to unfold differently until there you are in a different present—my dream runs with this [nerdy] idea of an unstable continuum.