Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Pouring water, hot and cold

Around 8 or 10 years ago, an odd thing happened to me.

I was trying to fix one of those instant soup cups. This particular cup was made of heavy paper, and I was supposed to peel the lid back halfway, fill the cup with boiling water, stir, and then put the lid back on and let it sit for a few minutes.

I had a tall electric pitcher to heat water in, so I heated the water until it was boiling rapidly and steam was pouring out. I decided to hold the soup cup over the sink while I poured, in case I spilled something. The paper lid wouldn't stay back by itself, even when folded, so I had to hold it open while I poured. I was trying to hold the cup in one hand, hold the lid back with my thumb, and pour the boiling water into the cup without actually spilling any on me. It was very awkward. The heat was coming through the paper sides of the cup and burning my fingers, and I was trying to pour the water in quickly so that I could set the cup down, when all of a sudden I poured the water over my fingers.

Oddly enough, it didn't hurt. It just felt cool. The heat from inside the cup was burning my fingers too much, though, and I had to set the cup down.

The outside of my fingers, though, where the water had flowed, seemed fine. There was no pain and nothing was visibly wrong with them. I turned the faucet on and ran some water over them, but it didn't seem to make any difference.

The water inside the cup had been so hot that the cup was too hot to hold, but the water poured directly on my fingers, other than the sense of coolness, had had no effect.

Somebody must have been watching over me. Again.

NOTE: Don't try this at home.

Labels: ,

Dream - The contest

A small man in late middle age made his way between two houses through a yard partially strewn with garbage.

He reached the sidewalk and continued along it. The sidewalk also had garbage in places, but was generally thinner and flatter in this regard then the yard had been, though sometimes the garbage covered large areas.

The man had a cane with him, that he held in his right hand. The cane was much too long to lean on, and he held it out well in front of him and tried to somehow use it to pull himself forward by putting the point of it on the sidewalk and pulling down. He was hindered in this by the length of the cane and its thinness, and its excessive flexibility, which gave it a wobbly feel.

When he walked, he moved forward with an odd motion, with one leg taking a short step and the other more of a bound, sometimes a tremendous bound. Sometimes he seemed to have more trouble and went forward on all fours, still using the cane to try to pull himself forward.

Once, he stopped and actually got the cane beside him and pushed down hard enough that his whole body slowly rose into the air. He stayed there for a while, one hand on the cane and his body in the air at an upward angle, then he slowly straightened his body out until his feet were pointed straight up. The cane flexed and wobbled and snapped back and flexed again, and you would think that it would break under the weight, but it didn't. Eventually, he lowered himself to the ground and went on as before.

After a time, some kids in the neighborhood saw him, teenagers, and they made fun of him and were going to make trouble for him.

He proposed instead that they have a contest.

He showed them the garbage in a nearby yard. There were many onions, whole and uncut, looking like they had just come from the store. There were thick hamburger patties, still pink but cooked just enough to change color slightly. There was lettuce cut into thick slabs, and open hamburger buns. There were even some thin slices of tomato. Some of the items even had a little ketchup on them. There was more than enough food for everyone.

The man proposed that they have a race to see who could prepare a meal the fastest. The meal would be large enough to serve everyone there. Two fires would be started on the sidewalk to cook the meat. The first side to get the food fully prepared and ready to eat would win.

The side with the teenagers quickly began working. The man looked through some of the food that he had gathered and placed on a picnic table near the sidewalk. A girl had been assigned to help him, to make the contest more fair. She seemed to be slightly familiar with him, evidently from seeing him on his walks in the past, but she mainly just sat and watched him. There were perhaps three or four people in the other team.

The man discarded some of the slabs of lettuce, because they showed some signs of wilting at the edges. In truth, though, much of the remaining ones did not look very different from those that had been discarded. This disturbed the man, because he did not want to serve the others food that was not good quality.

Abruptly he got up, and, leaving his cane behind, raced home at incredible speed, getting there in an instant, before the kids even knew that he was gone. One of them looked up and somehow saw him there, despite the distance involved, and made an exclamation, surprised that he could have gotten there that fast, or that anyone could.

At home, the man gathered a thick package of raw hamburger, a head or two of lettuce, and some tomatoes. He also selected some sharp knives to cut things with, and grabbed some ketchup and a bag or two of chips and some cans of soft drink. He then rushed back and quickly prepared the meal.

Afterwards, everyone was sitting around a table, happily eating. One of the girls came forward, though, and stood in front of the man and accused him of cheating, of getting food that was already prepared. Considering the situation, it was a dangerous accusation to make.

The man looked up from his hamburger and stared into space, not looking at the girl or at anyone. He did not reply directly to her, but instead said, philosophically, "Death goes where it will, and when one reaches the place where he had been going, he never knows whether death will find him there. Most times, though, it does not. Anyway, in any case, no one expects death, but death will eventually come."

And the people continued eating, then, happy with the food.

And in the future, when the man was out on his walks, his journeys, and happened to see the kids, they called out to each other and greeted each other like old friends, which now, of course, they were.

-a story from a dream I had the night of December 17-18, 2005.

Labels: , , ,

Dream - Possible futures and what came after

Early in June 2005, on a Sunday night, I had a strange dream.

In the dream, it was night and I was at my computer. I was looking at a lot of documents in a lot of moderately small windows. The windows seemed to be part of some larger program that filled the screen behind them. The documents didn't seem to contain much, just a few characters in some kind of alphanumeric code. I think many or most may have had just two characters.

I was puzzling over them, and my mother kept interrupting me. She was wandering around in the house going through things. It felt like there was a real strangeness to the night.

There were two little dogs in the house, and they were up, too, and we finally decided that maybe they wanted to go outside. We let them out back and they seemed happy. When I looked at them a few seconds later, though, they were far, far down from the door, in vertical distance. Somehow, the house had become multi-story and I was on at least the second floor. The door that the dogs went out of now just opened into empty space.

I walked from the kitchen to what would normally be the dining room and then the family room, but the house had grown huge. A few other people were there, too. I don't know who they were exactly, but I think they were supposed to be relatives. They generally looked young, like they might be teenagers. There was a long narrow room along the edge of the house, and it seemed to have a small balcony associated with it. I went and looked out. It wasn't quite so dark now.

I saw the next-door neighbor's house, which was also huge, and much farther away than it had been. I could see the back better than the front, and it had a very large, tall garage-like area that apparently came through from the front. A very large, tall, pointed tent partly stuck out of it, made of black, tattered cloth, virtually in shreds in places. A similar tent was in his backyard. I seemed to be on the third floor.

I turned back to the long, narrow room, which had doubled or tripled in width. I came somehow to understand that this was an alternate future, and I had somehow switched over to it. I was then essentially given a bit of a tour through the long room. I met a couple more young people, and then I came across a very strange person sitting on a small, old couch.

The person looked human, but not quite. His face had some dog-like qualities. The lower part of his face seemed stretched somewhat, and the upper lip projected forward in a bit of a point. I think his ears may also have been long and floppy, but I'm not sure. He didn't move much, he just sat there with his arms stretched out on the back of the couch. His eyes looked at me from time to time, mainly when he spoke. He didn't say much, except brief responses to what was said to him. I knew somehow that he was really a dog, one that had been genetically engineered in this now future (but still alternate future) time. I felt that he knew of his situation and was satisfied with it.

Then I was outside, farther in the future. It was night. There was barren ground, with a rise and a few people standing on it. I was aware of an occasional very large building, very far apart. Dark, reddish clouds were low overhead. I felt that they were toxic, and that the whole Earth, or most of it, looked like this.

I was given the story, in my mind, of what had happened. There used to be a big building, huge, very wide and several stories high. A smaller, square area projected several more stories toward the back. This building was the headquarters of a major aerospace firm. In the smaller area that rose toward the back, there was a conference room where executives from a rival firm had come to talk about merging or combining the two companies.

Everything in the meeting was going fine, the executives were happy and jovial and laughing with each other, but outside the room, some employees had become worried. They were afraid that something bad was happening in the room, and they tried to get in to protect their boss and their company. They knocked and banged on the walls, but they couldn't get in. They finally tried to blow holes into the room with explosives.

The CEO heard the noise and the explosions, and thought the building was being attacked by a rival. Rather than let the building fall into the rival's hands, he pressed the button to self-destruct. The entire building blew up and was completely destroyed. The repercussions of the event brought about a rapid series of events that eventually resulted in the destruction of the surface of the Earth.

I was shown two planes that were planned but now would never exist, except as prototypes (and I'm not sure about whether the prototypes actually existed). One of the planes was by this company and one was by its rival. I remember one of the planes had its whole nose open in a huge intake tunnel for the engines, and had one wing that trailed back fairly normally and one on the other side that was tiny and curved forward and upward. Somehow the shape of the tiny wing was supposed to balance out the full-sized wing on the other side. I don't remember what the other plane was like, but it seemed less visually remarkable. There would have been other planes that would never happen, of course; these were just examples that were shown to me.

Then, somehow, the building was back again. Some of the people had managed to go back through time. They wanted desperately to prevent the disaster from happening. I was with them, but I seemed to be somewhat older than I am now (I am currently 51). Instead of having dark brown hair with just a little gray, it now seemed to be all gray.

The other people seemed to be employees of the company, but they must have been somewhere else when the building exploded. They were all fairly young, probably in their twenties, and not particularly tall. I was not as tall as I used to be, but I was still taller than them.

I seemed slimmer than normal, too, and my face was different in some way. I think it may have had some fine lines on it, but it was more than that; it was like I was in someone else's body.

The conference room was mostly composed of huge walls of heavy glass. We were picking up little odds and ends and throwing them at the walls. The impacts made little tapping noises, but the people inside didn't seem to notice. The people outside desperately wanted to get inside and warn the CEO not to do it, that there wasn't any attack and the company wasn't in any danger.

I started trying to bang on the glass with little objects that I found, but the glass wouldn't break and only little tapping sounds resulted. I moved my hand around, trying to scratch the glass, but whatever I was holding wasn't good enough to do it. I picked up something a little heaver and more substantial, with some strong metal in it, and forced it against the glass and moved it around in a big, tall oval, but it just seemed to be leaving some scuff marks.

One of the people decided to try to blow a hole in the glass to get through. He brought some kind of plastic explosive over and smeared it all over in the center of the scuffed oval I had made.

I stepped back a bit and watched him, and something dawned on me. I told him that if he wanted it to happen as it did, to keep on going. He stopped and looked at it, then he stood there and stared at it.

Suddenly, to my left and around the corner, far down the wall a door opened and the executives came out, laughing and talking. We stared at them. The disaster had been averted.

Then the dream changed to a far future time, perhaps thousands of years in the future. The lifespan of people had been greatly lengthened, to hundreds and even thousands of years. I walked through a strange land, full of distorted little people. They were almost cartoonish, with short, impossibly thin arms and legs. Their heads and faces were human, but too big for their bodies and were distorted, sometimes too stretched vertically. The faces seemed to have a lot of fine lines in them, though the skin seemed tight.

As I walked by and looked at one person, his eye on the far side moved way down his face while the other eye, closer to me, moved way up his face and grew somewhat larger as he looked at me and I looked at him. It wasn't like the eyes had actually migrated, it was like the face had stretched and distorted.

Everyone was very short, probably three feet or less, sometimes much less, and they seemed to be engaged in various serf-like tasks. There were various small structures all over the place that provided a least a small bit of shade from overhanging stiff flaps held up by strong wood stems at one end, but they didn't usually provide too much in the way of walls. I got the impression that the structures were actually plants of some type.

There were also occasional large, fairly normal looking people, but still short by our standards, who seemed to be lounging on large wooden flaps that were shaped and/or grown. I came to understand that the vast majority of the people here in this distant future time were in fact the equivalent of serfs, with the rare large person being one of the extremely wealthy owners who lorded over the serfs. Everyone was even dressed in a vague, medieval kind of way.

I could see, a ways off, some actual buildings. They looked something like adobe structures, with tiny, dark windows.

Then, suddenly, two police or military type people were there. They were larger than the serfs, but still very small. They seemed to be wearing some kind of hugely padded armor, with an enormous rounded chest area and huge rounded areas on the shoulders. Their arms and legs were still short and skinny. The color of the armor was pale, washed-out bronze. They were each holding some kind of large futuristic weapon in their hands.

They fired their weapons, then, at some of the serfs who evidently weren't as docile as they should have been. I went over and ripped the head off of one of the police/soldiers. He continued to stand there, and no blood flowed. The other stood there, too, as if frozen.

Then I was in some large building, apparently one-story, in which some kind of party was taking place. The people seemed to be mostly young and fairly normal looking, but not very tall. I didn't seem to be very tall, either. After a while, I followed some people who went out some glass double-doors to a side area of the building or house. It was dark outside.

There was a small metal shed a little ways from the doors. The people went into it, and I followed them to the doorway of the shed and looked inside. The knowledge was then given to me that this was death, and that once people came into the shed they could never leave. In fact, since I was under the roof of the shed, I couldn't leave either. So I reached up with my hand and pulled on the lip of the roof of the shed.

I walked back to the house, then, pulling on the roof of the shed, which extended over me and continued to cover me, expanding like a telescope does. I reached the doors to the house and went through, the roof of the shed passing through things with no trouble.

I tried to call out and talk to some people I saw, but they didn't seem to see or hear me, though they seemed to sense something. I managed to pull the roof some more and got closer to some people and tried again. This time they seemed to hear me, at least some, and talked back, but when they turned to me, their eyes didn't seem to focus on me, like they couldn't quite see me and didn't quite know where I was. I was definitely getting on the end of my tether, though. I could feel the shed pulling at me, and finally retreated back to it.

I went all the way back and into the shed, which had quite a few other people in it, more than just the few that I had originally seen. After a while more people came, in groups, through the doorway and more groups faded in through the walls. The shed had a sunken floor, which was becoming much more sunken, and people were several layers deep. Some groups of people continued to stand, though, even with layers of people on top of them, as the weight didn't seem to be very much.

Then, suddenly, the shed, or at least it's interior, was going down like an elevator. After going down several stories, it deposited the people in a large underground area already full of people, all of which seemed to be having a good time. There were tables and bars and open areas. Everything seemed to be crudely constructed out of wood. The people seemed to be wearing some type of medieval clothing, for the most part, although the people at the house had been dressed more normally. I had noticed earlier that the people in the shed had tended to wear medieval-type clothes, though, some of them almost looking like pirates.

Some of the people here were drinking and some were talking and some were fighting each other, sometimes with weapons. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I sat or stood at a small table/bar and a friendly man with a small beard talked to me for a while, though I think he may have partially or mainly talked with his mind.

He said that pretty much anything was allowed here, but it was possible to get too extreme. In the rare cases where somebody did do something too extreme, they were sent a few stories further down the elevator, and their soul was then dissolved. I could see in my mind the soul dissolving and spreading out and soaking into the earth.

He also said that a lot of the people didn't know that they were dead yet, and when they found out it could take some adjusting.

After a while I saw my mother come into the room, not from the elevator but from some other rooms that extended from the side. This underground area apparently had rooms and offshoots that went on for a great distance. She was much younger than when I had seen her last, and she didn't seem to notice me, though she wasn't really looking much in my direction. She seemed to be having a good time, but then she got a little frown on her face, and I felt that she had just found out that she was dead. She moved quickly off in a direction that was away from me, talking to people and wearing a little smile but still frowning.

I followed, trying to catch up with her. A lot of people were in the way, though, and I lost sight of her. A few people were on a small wooden platform, acting as entertainers, and the area was particularly crowded. I asked various people if they had seen her, finally even giving her name to them, but no one seemed to know anything.

I continued to go where I thought or hoped she had gone, and I came around a little corner and another small group of entertainers were in a raised area in a recess. They had some kind of musical instruments and were singing. They even seemed to have microphones. The one on the far end looked like Lurch from the Addams Family, except that he was made up to look like Frankenstein's Monster, with green skin and huge red cuts that were crudely stitched together. He looked at me and smiled as he sang.

Someone, maybe him or maybe someone else, it just seemed to hang in the air without a source, was saying, "You know, there might be a way out." Somehow, it was indicated to me that I should continue on off to the side and then go forward through some rooms. The area in question looked much dimmer than the area I had come from, which was brightly lit, though I didn't think about it at the time.

I started to go in the direction that was somehow given to me and all of a sudden I was outside, and alive again. I was in a wide open space that seemed to have a lot of low clouds and even some fog, in a body that was unfamiliar to me, a short young person, but still an adult.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Newer Posts . . . . Older Posts