In the dream, I'm taking someone I know - perhaps a small party of two or three people - to some paradisical place that I knew years previously. (Maybe my recently telling someone by email about Kennedy Lake, near Tofino, the nicest place I've ever gone swimming, had something to do with this, but I'm not sure what the destination was supposed to be in the dream, however). We have to negotiate a precarious path through dark forests to get there. On the way, there's a taco stand; we make it that far, and we decide to stop for lunch. (The place may be based on the terrific tacos at a restaurant in Vancouver that I used to take my ESL students to, which may or may not still exist; it changed its location a couple of times and dropped off my map). The restaurant, alas, is under new ownership, and the menu is suddenly very complicated, because the people running it now don't understand much about Mexican food. All sorts of things that I want to order are no longer on the menu, and some of the things they do have - egg foo yung, for example - don't make any sense as part of a Mexican meal. I negotiate ordering at the counter and join my party (there seem to be two people - a woman I may be involved with and an older woman, perhaps her mother) and explain that the new owners have me thinking about the famous sentence from Thomas Wolfe's novel, Look Homeward, Angel, about how you can't go home again. (I've never read Wolfe, only heard that observation quoted, so 'scuse me if I've got it wrong).
I then proceed to talk about the previous owners, and the dream becomes based on my memory of them - a traditional Mexican couple who were, as I describe them, absolutely without guile or corruption - the sweetest, most sincere people I have known. Who knows where they are now? I describe his smile, in particular - wholesome and honest. By contrast, I explain, the present owners are nowhere as close to the "real thing" - I'd hoped that the meal would be something absolutely authentic, but it wasn't going to work out that way.
In addition to authentic tacos, I explain, I learned a lot about life from how sincere this Mexican couple had been; I learned in dealing with them about how I had romanticized suffering, how I had made some crucial mistake in my past: that because I had gathered growth was painful, I had mistaken pain for growing, and become a sort of masochist, in love with his pain. For reasons not clear to my waking mind, I turned to a metaphor from basketball, which came complete with images of me on a basketball court (I have almost never in my life played basketball, only ever occasionally being forced to in high school). I was, I explained, doing a "slam dunk in reverse." (This is, it seems, an actual idiomatic phrase, but I have no idea where I may have encountered it before, or what it actually is supposed to mean).
I woke up with the phrase lingering in my mind: slam dunk in reverse, I've done a slam dunk in reverse...