Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hey, Columbo! (Another dream)

In the dream, I am with my family at a mall in the US that we visit. My mother is my actual mother; my father is Peter Falk, at least in the part of the dream that I remember. We go to this mall for some special event - there's a casino, a restaurant, a racetrack, a movie theatre; that part of the dream - what we do there - is forgotten, though I remember being in the theatre at one point. As usual, in the dream, we go to the mall in a car - the car may be the white American Rambler that belonged to my actual father, that we owned in my childhood and took several (actual) roadtrips to the US in during my childhood, sometimes going to malls, sometimes going to Longacres racetrack so my father could bet on the horses (in later years, my father gave up driving and all our casino trips were done by bus). In the dream, my father/ Peter Falk needs to do something that requires us to separate, and my mother and I are going to go to the enormous parking lot, find our car, and negotiate our way to a certain point where we pick him up. We have belongings to pack and this proves complicated; I let Mom drive (she doesn't actually drive in real life; neither do I, for that matter) while I get them organized in the back seat. Alas, she gets confused - I'm not sure in the dream if she had had her stroke, with disrupted some of her cognition, or if she was just prone to making mistakes (as she arguably was even before her stroke) - but it may not have been the best idea to let her drive, because she  drives us to a completely different part of the mall, well past the area where we're supposed to be; when I look up from my work, I realize - she's gotten us completely lost. 

I take the wheel and, realizing we're going to be late for picking up my father, drive us to a certain point, but it dead-ends, and we have to get out and walk. The walk is complex, and we weave around several mall corners (how we get there when my Mom had driven in a straight line is anyone's guess - I must have been attempting a shortcut). We can see the part of the mall where we want to be in the distance, but suddenly we're following a winding path down rocky hills that, it turns out, was designed by the First Nations people who built the mall as a sort of "ordeal path" of religious instruction: climbing down the hill is designed to provide enlightenment, and I discover myself having a sort of religious experience, which, for some reason, Mom isn't really noticing, though she's on the same path as I am. She's just finding it hard going, and I have to explain what's happening to her, as we wind our way down the hill; I also have to help her over several complex passages, holding her tight and lowering her down, somehow confident of my footing; for reasons unclear and related to whatever epiphany I feel I'm having, I think I know what I'm doing and know that I will not fall. The last stretch of the descent is practically like mountain climbing...

Some of this is doubtlessly based on the teachings of a remarkable Lakota fellow that I knew, who had a big impact on my life in my 20's, and often talked about the "Red Road," which he understood as a circular path with certain recognizable points (the "giveaway," a kind of sacrifice, which led to suffering, which led to compassion, which let to wisdom, and which then led back to the giveaway; they call it the Red Road because it hurts so much, he told me... I don't know if I remember that accurately but it's in me, somewhere, still, informing my present behaviour with my mother - unless I'm kidding myself. There was also a hierarchy of people you take care of in his belief system, with elders and children at the top...

Anyhow, my mother and I finally emerge from the bottom of the path, and indeed, there is a legend posted on the stone saying that the hillside climb was designed by the people who lived on this site, thousands of years ago, and the mall has been built around it; there's a name, seeming to belong to some Southwestern native band, though its nothing I recognize or can make sense of now - not Hopi or Navajo or anything obvious; maybe Anasazi? I don't have time to read it. Mom says something about how she wants to tell the mall employees, who may also be First Nations, about the experience we've had, but I'm too busy trying to figure out where to go next. I  can see where we have to be, and as I start towards the area of the parking lot, I can see my father, below me, stalking angrily, worriedly off in the wrong direction - the direction Mom drove off in previously - looking for us. 

Since "father" is too generic to attract his attention, especially if he doesn't recognize my shouted voice, I shout as loudly as I can: "Mr. Falk! HEY, COLUMBO!"

I can't tell if he's stormed off in the wrong direction or if he is coming up the twisting staircase towards us. I feel a twinge of fear: I know he's going to be very, very angry with me, and hold me responsible for what's happened, which, I suppose, is reasonable, since I'm the one who doesn't have impaired cognition. ("I should never have let her drive" - I can see how it will all seem to be my fault, however I construe my excuses). I finally see that he is racing up the stairs to get to us and I brace myself. He casts an angry glance at me as I babble explanations and embraces my relieved mother, and they have a moment - he was worried about her! There's the sense that he's going to deal with me later.

We set off as a family. How we get back to the car is unclear, but I know one thing: we don't go back up the hill that I'd led my mother down... 

No comments: