Kiwi Dreaming

I found myself sitting at a long table in a New Zealand restaurant. The menu was a confusing patchwork of dishes I did not recognize, presented in haphazard fashion. Different fonts were used on different sections of the menu, but the menu did not seem to be organized by food type or even by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I could not understand what ingredients were included in most dishes. One item on the menu was, I thought at first glance, octopus but on closer inspection it was skate prepared like or flavored like octopus. I remember thinking it might be awkward to eat the dish, as I expected it would be laced with cartilage. The waiter, a middle-aged man dressed in regular street clothes, stopped to inquire what a few people at my table wanted to order, then left our table to visit with others nearby, chatting a length with other diners he apparently knew personally. I knew some of the people at my table, but I do not recall now who they were. Most, though, were strangers. The experience at the restaurant was confused and disappointing; I felt stupid that I did not know whether the waiter’s inattentiveness was simply a natural Kiwi process or whether our table was being singled out because I was an American. I thought the latter, though someone seated near me assured me that was not the case.

During another stretch of what I believe was the same dream, I was with another group of people (or maybe the same one) who were planning to interview someone; the purpose of the interview eludes me now, in my wakened state. I remember, though, that another person who was not part of the original group was to join us by telephone, I think. She showed up just as we were about to leave. She wrote her address and telephone number on a sheet of paper; the address was many lines long and the telephone number had a New Zealand country code (though I don’t remember now what that code was). Just before the group left for the interview, we agreed the woman would join us by “videotext” from a nearby stadium with videotext capabilities. I have no idea about that technology, if in fact it exists.

I felt out of place and uninformed for the entirety of the dream. I did not know why I happened to be there, nor what my role was supposed to be. I looked for clues in the behavior of others, but the others seemed to think I knew what I needed to know. I did not.

The remainder of the dream, if in fact there was more, is gone. Since waking, I have had brief flashes that I believe were memories from the dream, but they evaporated before I had a chance to try to explore them.


So, it’s interesting that I recall so much of this dream, even though I did not get up and immediately write down what I remembered. I had a conversation yesterday about dreams and how remembering them after waking is greatly aided by writing them down upon waking. It’s as if writing about the dream experience stitches the dream into one’s memory. Failure to do so tends to result in increasingly vague recollections until the whole of the dream soon disappears into vapor.


Aside from the accents and the “knowledge” that the dream took place in New Zealand, none of the scenes from my dream stand out as obviously taking place in New Zealand. I have been to New Zealand (many years ago), but recall very little of the whirlwind trip to Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. This dream, it seems, had nothing whatsoever to do with that trip. Perhaps it arose in response to a television series I’ve been watching; I think an episode or two mentioned or took place in part in New Zealand. But maybe not.


Enough of this. It’s nearing 7:00 and I have only had one cup of coffee (the remnants of which are now ice cold) and no breakfast. I must have a bit to eat, shower and shave, and ready myself for a visit with my wife “through the glass” at the rehab center. Today is the first opportunity I’ve had to see her, save for a brief visit as she returned from a doctor’s visit in Hot Springs, in more than two weeks.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Kiwi Dreaming

  1. Thanks, Meg. Seeing and talking to Janine was a joy too long in coming. I’ve not heard of fake scallops cut from skate wings, but now I must explore to find what I can find. 😉

  2. Meg Koziar says:

    Interesting John. When I read about the “octopus” it triggered a memory of fake scallops cut from skate wings that I was warned about, but never saw, in Maine. Hope your visit with Janine went well and that you found her better. I’m sure she is delighted to see you! Meg

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