Uncomfortable Places

Another dream, this one odd and troubling (like so many others). I was a passenger in the back seat of a small SUV driven by a friend. Another person who I don’t think I know was in the front passenger seat. We were almost halfway up the incline of an impossibly wide bridge that appeared to be covered in a thick, snowy slush.  All the traffic, mostly semi trucks, headed in the same direction we were.

All the traffic was moving considerably faster than I thought advisable, but my friend wanted to go faster and so he accelerated around a slower-moving truck. The SUV began fish-tailing and spinning. We slid sideways to the bridge railing, slamming into the curb with the two passenger side tires, before coming to a rest.  But then the vehicle began sliding backward and away from the railing, into the path of oncoming traffic. My friend whipped the steering wheel to no avail; the SUV just kept sliding. He opened his door and pushed he foot against the ground, which sent the vehicle sliding back toward the bridge railing. Again it slammed into the curb, this time stopping.  Though it was stopped, it felt unsteady, as if it might begin sliding again at any moment. My friend seemed in a panic. “I’m getting out of here!” he said, and his front seat passenger said “Me, too!” Both of them slid out of the SUV; I called after them, “It’s not safe to be on foot on this bridge,” but they ignored me.

They were half-way down the bridge when the vehicle began sliding again.  Still in the back seat, I rolled down my window and reached for the railing, grabbing it to try to stop the slide. As I clutched the railing, the momentum of the slide down the bridge stopped, transferring the movement sideways into the curb.  The SUV hit the curb, hard, and tipped to the side; I thought it was going to turn over, so I managed to pull myself into the front seat and grab the steering wheel. I tried to open the driver’s side door, but it was very hard to get the door to move, as I was pushing up on the door as the vehicle tilted.  Suddenly, the windshield collapsed out, seeming to transform from a piece of hard glass to a wad of thick plastic wrap, as millions of cracks suddenly appeared in the glass but the layer of plastic between layers of glass kept the glass from exploding.  A sun-roof I had not noticed before burst outward, as well. Somehow, I was able to get out of the vehicle just as the front of the SUV fell from the bridge into the water just at the shoreline, which by this time was only a few feet below the level of the bridge.  There were large rocks at the water’s edge, and the front of the hood of the SUV hit one of them at an angle, causing the hood to crumple.  I watched as water filled the SUV, which was nose down, about half way up the passenger compartment.

After I climbed out of the vehicle, I made my way to the base of the bridge, where people were milling about in a covered, brightly lit arcade, filled with shops and kiosks. My friend’s passenger was there; he said my friend was getting food and would be back in a moment. When he walked up to us, I explained that the vehicle had gone off the bridge and pointed to it.  He didn’t seem phased by it. “Well, I’ll just get it repaired and sell it; I don’t want to drive a car that’s been in the water.”

Just then, we heard a commotion near an overlook inside the arcade, just above the end of the bridge. People were shouting and there was an occasional loud “bang!” We looked down toward the water and saw that there were several crumpled and bent cars, now, where only my friend’s SUV had been before. Then, we saw some men pushing a car onto a pathway, where the car suddenly headed downhill on the path that led to the clump of waterlogged vehicle, toward the water. Another bang! The car smashed into my friend’s SUV.  It seems the men were doing this for fun.  Again, my friend was nonplussed. “Insurance will cover it.”

Suddenly, the scene shifted, but my friend and his front-seat passenger were still in it. The three of us were standing by a school bus, but inside the bus were three men dressed in military-style police uniforms.  Their caps each had a red hammer and sickle symbol affixed to the front. “Just tell them we’re going to buy business suits in Russia,” my friend said. I was utterly confused. I somehow knew we were heading to Russia when we had the snow incident, but I hadn’t realized we were already there.

Then, the scene switched again. Other military police guys were hauling a man out of a station wagon while his wife and two sons looked on.  They looked frightened, but not terrified, and the man kept repeated, as they dragged him away, “I am just a farmer, I am just a farmer.” He, too, seemed concerned with the situation, but not overly so.

That’s where the dream ended with me awakening.  I remembered it vividly the moment I woke up.  Since then, though, I’ve had to sort through the memories as they became less precise.  I’ve written what I remember, though now it’s not as vivid as it was when I awoke.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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