In my dream, I'd lost my red purse. In my red purse were all my bibliography notes, my pen case with all my ink, all the supplies I needed in order to make worthwhile the event to which I was meant to have traveled twenty minutes earlier. My next class was supposed to start at 2 p.m. My fellow students--some of whom were students of mine, some of whom were people I knew in grad school--kept waiting for me to get my act together, watched as I kept disappearing into the communal closet to change clothes yet again (it was so hot; my clothes were so soaked), and to stall in the hopes that my purse would reappear. I kept telling them to go on without me. One by one, they did. I couldn't find the purse but finally gave up. And then, as I tried to get to whatever class we were taking, I had to walk through some vaguely wooded space, and there were two of my football players, doing something that stranded one of them in a tree. What were they doing? It's only one of the details gone fugitive upon my waking to a morning so rainy it's fogged out the city beyond my window.
This morning I can see that the top floor of the building next door is so empty and open that I can look right through it: in one window, out the other.
Oof, in the wake of the first comment on today's writing, I can see how dislocated and dislocating and disturbing a dream that was (particularly given the range of people who were in my vicinity within the dream--but how could it be otherwise, with my life organized the way it is?). I've told you before that I'm not a Freudian; I'll reassert that now. I don't believe in universal symbols (at least not always). This purse might not have been just a purse, but I refuse to believe that it was what Freud would have made it out to be. (On a job visit once, I made a comment vaguely like that, and someone said, "Any good Freudian would tell you that you're a classic case of resistance." That's part of the reason I'm not a Freudian: I resist theoretical models that leave one absolutely no way out. Things are always more complicated than they at first appear. Things are generally more complicated than theoretical models can account for.)
I am sojourning in a strange city. I see very few people walking around here (though that may partially be because of the weather today). I supposedly can get from building to building without ever going outside--except that I get about 80% of the way to my destination and the signage stops. The wind and the rain buffet and soak everyone who does dare to walk above ground and in the open air. The talk of the morning was the way the outside world whited out overnight; people awakening on the 60th floor of the official conference hotel (where I am not) said that they saw absolutely nothing beyond their windows.
Last night, walking home from the conference hotel, I found myself about a half-block behind a white woman who was shuffling and muttering and sometimes yelling. A group of boys--maybe six, all late-teens, all white--on bikes and skateboards across the street were taunting her. One of them rushed the curb, gestured threateningly across the lanes of fast bright traffic, made as if he were going to cross the street and accost her. I started to wonder what my role in all this would or should be. As I neared her from behind, I had an experience not unlike one that Ttractor described some time ago, telling a story about a group of children she once saw chasing an old woman in a wheelchair down the street outside her house. When she confronted them, those children revealed that the old woman had been shooting up outside their apartment building. When I neared last night's woman, I could hear her hoarsely extolling the virtues of the KKK, at the top of her voice, particularly to the African-Americans she was passing. I ducked my head, turned the corner, made my way here, swiftly. Things are always more complicated than they at first appear, see? What to do.