I slept until about 2:30 p.m. today, which is unusual for me these days. Apparently that was enough sleep to put me back into REM, because I had a really distressing dream right before I woke up.
I was out bowling with a huge group of people–apparently people from high school, because Kelley Kmucha was there. We’d been bowling with balls that weren’t bowling balls, and as such the lanes weren’t lit up and there were no pins. The ball just rolled down to the end and came back through the ball return.
After awhile people started discussing what to do, and I said I’d really like to do some actual bowling. Several people agreed, so I went to find a ball. It took forever; some of the racks had been changed into lockers, holding balls that apparently belonged to regular bowlers. I walked all the way to the other end of the bowling alley and back before finally finding some balls I could select from.
I picked up a swirled blue and white ball, and it felt light enough, but when I looked at it it said “15” on it. “Is it mislabeled?” I wondered. But since I hadn’t been able to find another one, I carried it back to the lane and set it down.
The lane was still dark, and I realized I was still wearing street shoes. I went to get my purse, wondering if I had my ticket for free games I’d gotten the last time I was at Brunswick. This concern over paying for the game rapidly turned to panic, as my purse was nowhere to be found.
I asked a large group of people (this is where Kelley Kmucha came in) if they’d seen it, and they said no. So I started scouring the bowling alley, in more and more of a panic. I asked everyone I saw, and then I started opening doors I probably shouldn’t have been opening to see if it had somehow gotten into closets and back rooms. There was a purse in one of them, but it wasn’t mine. It was a similar shape, but it was red and had gold hoop handles.
Finally, having exhausted those options, I headed back out towards another group of people to ask them if they’d seen it. As I started to indicate my right arm to describe that my purse had short straps, I suddenly realized that my purse was hanging off my arm.
“What does it look like?” one girl asked me.
“This is it!” I cried, and fell to laughing uncontrollably. Where had I picked it up? When had I picked it up? Was everything intact? I unzipped the first compartment…and it was almost completely empty. There was a notepad and a pen in there, and a couple of other useless things. “My wallet’s gone,” I said, feeling the panic rising again. It seemed to me that something else was missing, but I couldn’t think of what.
“Well, I’m glad you found your purse!” the girl said.
“But they have my wallet. ID theft!” There was, of course, no cash in my wallet, but all my credit cards and my drivers license were in there.
I fumbled for the flap in front to see if my cell phone was still there, which it was, so I hurried to call Sean, who was at home.
“Hey babe!” he said. “Get this. Bono sent out an anonymous email, because he thought it would affect his career to put his name on it…”
“Honey, I have something very important to tell you.”
“Well, do you agree?”
Frustrated, I said, “I don’t know, and I don’t care! My wallet has been stolen! I need you to come get me. Well, wait, I can drive myself home. But I need you to call American Express and the bank and cancel the cards!”
“Oh, no, don’t do that!” Sean said.
“Why not?” I asked. Would cancelling the cards affect my credit? How would I keep the thief from using them?
By then I was in a crowd of people heading for an exit. As we shuffled towards the door I suddenly spotted a Wachovia bank card on the ground.
Gasping, I picked it up–but it wasn’t mine. The name said “DON CARBONELL”.
“Anyone lose a bank card?” asked a man nearby, holding up a card from a different bank.
“Is it Don Carbonell?” I asked morosely.
“Yeah,” he said. I shook my head, waving the card I’d found at him. All around me I saw other people picking up more bank cards.
The rushing crowd had by this time pushed out the door and onto a gravel walkway. This didn’t seem to be the exit to the parking lot. Instead, there was an expanse of gravel that ended at some grass that led to a ditch and then a chain-link fence. The sun was setting over a body of water on the horizon.
“Crap,” I said. I leaned Don Carbonell’s bank card up against the door frame and worked my way back inside. “Sean, are you still there?”
“Yeah. Just tell them,” he began, and I could tell that he meant for me to call the banks myself, “that every nutty hotdog was fried. Or whatever they were.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
I was very angry at this point, because I didn’t have phone numbers to call, and I didn’t want to wait until I got home, so why couldn’t he do it for me before my credit cards got used somewhere?
Then I woke up…and as I did, I was so relieved.
And now I remember that I had another dream back beyond this one, in a different cycle of REM sleep. I can’t remember too many details from that one, but I do remember that a handful of people and I ran to get into a train to avoid a battle, and as we were settling into our seats (which were laid out like subway or intra-city train seats, along either wall, rather than long distance seats) a bullet shot through right next to one woman’s head. Then, as the train pulled away, we heard the sounds of battle receding behind us, and knew we were safe.
I opened my purse, saying to the man next to me, “I wish I hadn’t lost–” And then I saw that my purse was intact. “Oh! I still have my wallet and ID! Well, it’s too bad about my camera, and all those pictures, and my brand-new memory cards–wait! Those are in here too!”
I realized that I had been expecting to lose these things because I had lost everything in the fire, so any traumatic experience in which I lose my home should automatically include losing my personal identification and my precious camera. I was ecstatic that this wasn’t the case.
I know where these dreams came from. The purse one comes from the other day, when Brooke accompanied me to Wal-Mart. She took my purse out of the shopping cart and brought it into the car with her. When we got back to my house I was getting out of the car when I realized my purse wasn’t sitting next to me.
“Do you have my purse?” I asked Brooke. Surely she did. Surely it wasn’t gone.
“Yeah, I put it on top of the car,” she replied. “Didn’t you get it?”
I think my moment of sheer panic lasted a full second…and then, “Don’t fuck with me,” I said. I apparently have no sense of humor.
The dream about the war and believing I’d lost my camera comes from some general paranoia I’ve had lately about our apartment burning down again, and from thinking about how horrible it must be to have a war waged in your country while you’re just trying to live your life.
Needless to say, I’m glad they were just dreams.