Dreams from the Pandemic: 28 May 2020

Last night, I dreamt my brother Brian and I were younger (maybe he was in junior high and I was in high school), and we were in a mall food court. The mall was decorated in pastel colors popular in the 80s and 90s. Brian wanted Korean food — something I never had had — and he was adamant I try it.

The weird thing about the dream was I had depersonalization. It sometimes feels like I’ve always had it now. The menu had so many choices on it, and I am not the most adventurous person in any aspect of my life.

Brian knew what he wanted and ordered it. My order was a little more difficult because I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to try Korean food. It wasn’t that the food was repulsive to me but there were too many choices, I was afraid of trying something new, and I didn’t want to choose something that I wouldn’t like and then offend my brother.

There are real parallels to my waking life now. Feeling overwhelmed by choices. Tentative of new things. Not expressing myself and my emotions.

The Korean couple behind the counter — they were in their late 50s or early 60s I would say, if not older — were trying to help out as much as they good, bless them. The wife ended up leaving to help other customers there, Korean teenage boys, who did know what they wanted and ordered enthusiastically. The husband persevered as my indecisiveness grew, and instead of him getting angry with me, or my brother getting frustrated with me, I caved and told the husband to give me what my brother was having. He asked if I was sure, and I kept repeating to give me the same meal my brother was having. I was embarrassed and stressed and feeling uncomfortable even though I wasn’t really holding anyone up.

After ordering the food and getting it, we had to go around to another counter in the food court. There was a tall white man and his Asian wife working at this counter. I’m not sure why we were there even, but we were talking to the man for a while. He seemed nice.

Suddenly, a white woman with blond hair came along. She worked there too. She continued to talk while the man was talking to me, so I was getting overwhelmed by the experience. If you’ve read my blogs before, you might remember that it is extremely difficult — and sometimes impossible — to multitask now. If two people are talking at the same time, or if the TV is on and someone is talking to me, or two different things vying for my attention, I get bits of both and can’t focus on one thing. It is very difficult to live with considering I used to be able to focus on more than one thing pre-depersonalization.

I got something sticky on my hand and went to a sink to wash it, to find it was a hairdressing basin to wash hair in. The hairdresser at the stall across from the one I was at seemed unfazed. The mall was relatively empty, after all.

The dream morphed somehow, and I was in California, working on some sort of film set I think. My brothers were there, and my Dad was too, for some sort of work-related thing for them. Perhaps a furniture market, I’m not sure.

But I was doing something different from them, helping getting sets ready for something I was filming or involved with filming. This part of the dream was quite dark and grungy in comparison with the bright, cheerful mall.

I went out for a walk to somewhere else, and it was like a park area or a newly built area, where the pavement was very fresh but there were no new houses or buildings yet. There were quite a few people out and about. With walking, it felt like I had a destination and where I had been was behind me.

During the walk, a familiar low rumbling noise sounded from the distance, and the ground started to roll beneath me. People were gasping and making noises around me, some kneeling, some falling, some trying to reach for something to steady themselves, but the movement was very strong, yet rolling (unlike the Christchurch earthquakes which were shunting and more jagged in their shaking).

Water started spewing from broken pipes and a lot of the pavement was cracked.

Knowing my brothers and Dad were back in the building I had been at (or in that area), I turned around and ran back.

I arrived back at a workshop area and the shelves had all shifted. There were items all over the floor, and people were cleaning them up. I couldn’t find my brothers, but I kept looking.

In a sort of showroom or hotel room, I stumbled upon my Dad. He was sitting on a couch on his cell phone, and I went to see if he was okay, but he was crying and waved at me to let me know he was okay. I assumed he was talking to my Mom.

I don’t know why, but I was talking to him while I started cleaning up. Having been through earthquakes before, safety is very important, so I kept removing items from pieces of furniture with hutches and cupboards where things could spill out or the furniture could fall over in quakes. During doing this all, I told my Dad this, and then I started putting the furniture on the ground so it couldn’t fall any further.

Then emotion overwhelmed me. Quakes, wildfires, depersonalization, a terrorist, a pandemic, being shut off from my friends and family, and now, another large earthquake. I wondered when it would end, and then I cried. Very deeply and quite a bit.

That’s where the dream ended. Whether it was because I was extremely uncomfortable with being so close to my emotions or the natural end of the dream, I don’t know.