I had a strangely detailed dream Tuesday morning. I had another Wednesday morning. I want to preserve them.
In Tuesday's dream, I had been asked by a friend to give a brief and humorous presentation on the topic of...masturbation. It would be done as a slide show, and was to last about ten minutes. I decided my presentation would cover a broad history of the topic, mentioning The Sin of Onan (who "spilled his seed on the ground" rather than have intercourse with his own daughters, as God had commanded), masturbation celebrated in music ("She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper, "I Touch Myself" by the DiVinyls), and famous masturbators who had gotten caught in the act (Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens, who was arrested in 1991 for masturbating in a porn movie theater, and, in a nod to current events, political commentator Jeffrey Toobin, who had been caught earlier that day masturbating on a Zoom call during a simulation of the upcoming Presidential election.)
That was the plan, anyway. In practice I never got around to preparing any of this, and now it was the day of the presentation.
The presentation would be in the second floor of The Gallery, a building that no longer exists on the campus of the University of Scranton. In the mid-to-late 80s, The Gallery was an old Chemistry building repurposed as offices, some classroom space, and a large study lounge that occupied the second floor of the building. The lounge was also the site of the art gallery that gave the building its name. I was there only a few times. I remember the large windows that were treated with an energy-saving film that reflected sunlight during the day, but reflected internal light at night. In the dream I needed to have some of these windows removed. I brought in a crew and a crane and we carefully chiseled out a bank of windows and removed them, only to discover that we had accidentally removed a built-in large screen TV that I planed to use for my presentation. We decided to clean the TV - it hadn't been cleaned in over a decade - and reinstall it.
I awoke realizing that the amount of mental work I had done in the dream would have allowed me to actually create this presentation with just a little more effort.
This morning's dream was a lot more serious. I had been arrested as a political dissident in a society slightly more authoritarian than our own. I was imprisoned in a large, labyrinthine prison in the wilderness outside of town. I was not yet being subject to punishment or re-education, and may have been awaiting trial.I managed to slip out of my cell and, with the aid of others, was able to find a way out, a sort of broad water outlet like the overflow of an infinity pool, that formed a small waterfall down the side of the building and outside. As is often the case in my dreams, it was a very tight fit. We had to remove our bulky jackets to get out. (Otherwise our prison garb was all-gray, much like the stuff worn by Kirk and Spock when they were prisoners on the Roman planet in Star Trek.)
I was quickly recaptured and put back in prison with no known consequences. I immediately set out to escape again. This time I was accompanied by Lo, who I had known in real life several years ago. When we got to the escape point I decided I would not try to squeeze through the tight opening again, and decided instead to walk through the lobby and out the front door, after announcing my intentions to the desk guard. I was seized and once again recaptured.
This time I was to be taken for what I assumed would be psychological torture. Among the people assigned to me was a young, evil, clean-cut, 1960's version of Chaz, the now-deceased leader of the writing group Lo and I had belonged to. He was stern but friendly to me in the manner of O'Brien in 1984. He told me about writing he had done that I had never known about, including some writing for science-fiction comic books in the 1960's. He opened a locker and let me see a few. He told me that, when all this was over he wanted me to organize and curate all of his writings for eventual publication. I was flattered by this offer, and some of the other prison officials expressed jealousy.
Lo's mother was summoned, apparently played by Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, but with long, curly, unkempt, black-and-gray hair, looking much like Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter movies. She was there to be interrogated and, apparently, punished in her daughter's place.
I don't remember much other than that. Just a feeling of everlasting hopelessness, a feeling that others would suffer punishments, sometimes for things I had done, but I would be OK as long as I played along. Overall, a very bleak and disturbing dream.