Monday, December 17, 2012

A Photographer’s Dream

I had a fever-induced epic dream last night that I thought I’d share with you. Since many people try to interpret their dreams, I’ve offered some clues which I've stated in the numbered references at the end. My wife is a psychotherapist so I thought I’d do some amateur analysis along the way.But first, a bit of background material.

I was trying to wean myself off a corticosteroid/antibiotic cocktail my doctor prescribed for my sinus infection. After two doses, my nose began running like a faucet, I had a fever, chills, cough, you name it. Naturally, when I phoned the doctor to notify him of the side effects he couldn’t be reached. So I decided to stop the meds. I waited until the next dose was due and instead took something that would stop my nose from running and control my coughing fits. So the dream came as I was riding the Green Dragon (Nyquil), which was bucking against the retreating forces of the prescription meds. Also, I don’t remember my dreams very often, so this entire experience was quite notable for me.

The dream began with me trying to figure out how I would pick up a used bed1 from a friend,2 in my car3 on my way back from Cape Hatteras, NC, with an old girlfriend.4 I decided I would drive my car through the big city (whatever that was) to my friend's house, remove the bed from the wall (it was attached to the wall), and then pick it up on my way back from Hatteras a few days later.

The morning of the big trip, I wake up in my bedroom in my parents’ old house5 and begin to pack my bags. I have my cell phone with me. I’m in the bathroom sitting on the toilet, and I hear my father (who is deceased), shuffling up the hall to the closed bathroom door. Without saying anything, he slowly slides a new smallish bathroom rug under the door (my wife, the psychotherapist, will have a field day with that one, I’m sure).

So now I’m on the road, driving through the congested traffic of a big, multi-lane inner city traffic circle. I get pissed that the traffic is not moving so I turn down the next street, even though I don’t know where that goes (my wife will testify that this is quite normal behavior for me).  A few block away, I come to an intersection (and this is where the fun begins) with what looks like a rocky vacant lot on the right. It’s quite hilly, narrow, like a double-deep rowhome lot, let’s say 15 feet wide and about a hundred feet deep. The terrain gradually increased in height from the road until it reached about twenty feet toward the back.

As I squinted at the large rocks protruding out of the ground, I realized they were old, worn tombstones! Yay! Park the car, out with the cameras. I put down all my gear where the embankment was about ten feet high and just grabbed my DSLR to take with me.6 I scrambled up the hill, to the curiosity of a couple teenaged girls walking by, and spent about ten minutes photographing worn designs and inscriptions on the granite stones.  Most of which were about three by four feet in size – granite, for you cemetery purists.7 I happened to look down toward my car, and there were two men, about in their mid twenties, fiddling with my cameras that I had left at the bottom. Just as I started to scramble down and yell, “Hey!” one of the guys tossed my film SLR8 to the ground. I watched as pieces broke off it.

I got down to where they were and started yelling, “What the hell’s wrong with you? Why would you do that?” I noticed the guy who tossed my camera was holding his own digital Mamiya medium format camera (worth about $30,000), so I added, “ … and to a fellow photographer?!” They were both very apologetic and moved away to discuss the situation in private. I waited until they came back. They were still arguing between themselves until finally the guy who broke my camera pulled two paper sketches out of a bag and handed them to me, as if I were to accept these as payment for my broken camera. They were each about twenty inches square and had hand-drawn random geometric shapes all over them. I assumed they were the Mamiya-owner’s original artwork. I also noticed on the back of each sketch was handwritten “$11.00.”

Next thing I knew, I was back up on the hill photographing through an endoscope. An endoscope is a long hose (they come in varying thickness) with fiber optic and instrument channels for performing non-invasive medical procedures.9 I work with these in my job at a hospital, and in fact, the Ear Nose and Throat doctor ran one up my nose a few days ago to check my sinuses. You can look through them as well as photograph through them. I got kind of bored with photographing the tombstones this close-up when I realized there was a tiger mask hanging on the fence bordering the hilly lot.

I made a few photographs of the tiger face mask while I shaded the sun over the lens with my hand. I think my hand became a lampshade and I found that that if I moved it into just the right position, it looked like the tiger was wearing a hat. I took a few pictures of this and was quite pleased with myself. There were two artsy-crafsy twenty-something women watching my technique with great interest.

I woke up on drenched pillow cases and bedclothes. Apparently, I sweated the toxins out of my body. Now I’m back to my old sick self, complete with head congestion – the only thing different is that my back hurts (either from climbing all over that cemetery hill or because all my ligaments are dissolving, which is one of the side-effects of the steroid I took). If you’ll excuse me, I must go and burn the sheets.

Reference notes to the above text:

1. Our daughter just turned three and we just bought her a new bed.
2.  The friend was the adult version of a boy I  who I knew in grade school – I have had no contact with him since eighth grade.
3. Impossible, as I own a Saab convertible.
4.  I’ve never been to Cape Hatteras and to my knowledge, neither has the ex-GF.
5. House is demolished now, we lived there in the 1960s.
6. Odd, I would never leave anything unguarded like that in the real world.
7. The interesting thing I see here is that granite typically does not wear and crack like the stones in this dream, which leads me to think this was not a cemetery at all, but a dumping ground for the tombstones from an actual cemetery.
8. Pentax ME-Super, which has been broken for ten years, but I still hang on to it.
9. I’m trying to keep some sense of decorum here, so suffice it to say an endoscope is used to examine an internal body cavity. Let your imagination run wild.