My dreams last night or early this morning were long and tangled. At one point, I was inside a mall, listening to someone (an architect I think) tell me about expansive plans to refurbish the place, turning it into an homage to opulence. When I responded with what I thought were the expected congratulatory comments about his plan, he said he thought malls were wastes of space and materials. “In ten years, this building will be irrelevant; it’s already mostly irrelevant. People don’t understand we’re living in a new age in which reverence of conspicuous wealth is a disease to be treated.” His words were exactly how I saw it, but I felt I could not claim the attitude as mine; not after attempting to ingratiate myself to him with my lies about how I admired his plans.
At some point, I came across a woman I once worked with, Cathy, who offered to lead me through the mall to a place that sold masks. I followed her inside a store, where she showed me an area in which there was a tiny selection of cheap, flimsy Halloween masks. I thanked her, stunned that she thought them worthy of display. I noticed a stack of styrofoam to-go containers with a restaurant name (though I can’t recall what it was) and “the best fried meatloaf in the tri-state area” printed on them. They were for sale, alongside the masks.
Cathy asked the architect from earlier in the dream to give me a tour of the mall. We walked outside into a run-down residential neighborhood; across the street was his house, a wretched old building with peeling white paint, a neglected yard, old cars on blocks in the driveway, and a rickety set of grey concrete steps leading to a raised front porch. As we approached, the front door opened and four or five dogs that looked to me like pit bulls rushed out to greet us, their tails wagging. They licked me with doggy lips, leaving wet slobber on my hands and clothes. Suddenly, the architect said “Damn fleas!” He began brushing fleas off his lower legs and I noticed I had fleas all over my shoes, as well as a couple of scorpions. He then said “come on over here and I’ll show you my welding shop.” There was almost no welding gear in the area to which he led me, just a single arc welder; instead, there were table saws and drill presses and enormous volumes of sawdust.
I noticed a house behind the one next door; it was in much worse shape than the architect’s house. I said “that looks like it’s ready to collapse.” He responded by pointing to the one in front of it and saying, “They were both built by the same people at the same time; see how the one next door is clean and neat and tidy? That’s what a little TLC does to a place; the one back there is what neglect does.” I turned back to look at his house and wondered if he considered his to be neat and tidy.
Scene shift, back inside the mall. I asked where I could find a bathroom. The architect pointed to a door; I walked inside, to find an overflowing toilet. I turned around and told him it was not working. He pointed to a wooden building across a breezeway; “That’s old school. There’s a sign for men and for women.” I crossed the breezeway into the building and saw what I thought must be the bathrooms. As I tried to reach them, though, I came across what I thought was an at-grade bridge. When I started to cross it, I discovered there were two sunken tubs below it, both with people sitting in them. Just as I looked down, a guy sitting in one of the tubs said “taking a bath.” A woman sitting in the other one said, “Just walk on over us. Go inside there,” pointing to a green louvered door. I pushed on the door and saw nothing that looked remotely like a bathroom.
And that’s when the dream ended. It was all connected, somehow, but not logically.