A while before waking I half-woke from a dream that ended in a scary bit. (Hm, “bit,” interesting word choice that’s a meaningful slip …more in a bit.) I was supposed to meet with someone who represented an opportunity, I lived in an apartment, there was a lobby, I was higher up (hm again, “higher up,” interesting…), I needed a bath first, however, and deputized (if you will) the family to entertain the person I was going to meet until I was done with my ablutions. (Ablution is a fancy word for ritual cleansing with water, in case you didn’t know. The word seems apt.)
My deputies screwed up and let the person I was supposed to meet interrupt my …ablutions, which caused a minor crisis I had to straighten out. While I had my back turned to the bath (which I intended to tidy up), a very small person-like thing hopped in (think “toad,” like those ugly toads who are magical beings in fairy tales) and jumped over the tub’s rim right into what remained of the bath water.
“Oy, you can’t do that,” I wanted to shout like some caricature of a British bobby in a Monty Python sketch. But the toad-sized thing had done that, and furthermore it had hunched itself over nearly into a ball so that only the small of its back and shoulders were visible, and had begun drinking the water. My water! My bath water! Absurdly, this brought out my maternal instinct (such as it is): don’t want little creatures drinking gray water, right?
So I reached in to pick it up, and upon turning it over saw its extremely toothy, gnarled little face – just before it bit my hand, hard, taking out a huge chunk.
Naturally, this woke me up enough to alert me that it was a dumb dream, and I went back to sleep. No further mayhem [bodily harm] ensued in the dream, but plenty of bedlam [craziness], which all had to do with trying to get somewhere and not succeeding.
Before I started writing this out just now, I looked at my Twitter stream and saw a response to a resigned-sounding tweet I posted last night around 1 a.m. (“I’m not too happy w/ myself. Failed to meet self-imposed deadline, probably missed possibly real deadline, too. Also let exercise slip. Zip.”) The response was from Eric Porcher (photographer and more), who suggested “you’re doing just fine,” which was a very fine thing to say (thank-you Eric!).
Funny thing is, it wasn’t until I wrote my response back – “Thx Eric – must be my damn inner gremlin getting the upper hand!” – that my uncomfortable dream from a few hours earlier really made sense.
Talk about inscribing into the (dream) body what’s going on in your head. Getting the upper hand by biting it is pretty damn harsh.
I clearly need to stop feeding this toad, but will I figure out how?
Tonight I saw Tiny Apocalypse (video excerpt here), a powerful one-woman play by Camille Gingras, in which an office drone named Rita Downenlower (“down and lower”) slowly comes undone. The play is pitch-perfect: nothing over-the-top or campy or horribly lugubrious, just pure existential absurdity in the spirit of Beckett or Ionesco, albeit in tune with the peculiar details of our times.
It stars the multi-talented artist and actress Cherise Clarke (her website is in progress, but this page gives some biographical background). Clarke plays the part of Rita perfectly – I laughed at Rita, but cared about her, felt distanced from and analyzed her, but was drawn into her drama. The set design and incorporation of video is a knock-out.
Imagine something like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, except stripped down to just the essentials and to just one woman going mad. Tiny Apocalypse is a bit like that. All in all, definitely worth taking in.