Thursday, June 30, 2011

A strange dream

A few days ago - Tuesday, was it? - I awoke a tad earlier than I would have liked, and in a rather disordered state, and... a dream fragment stayed with me.

I had been in a Chinese restaurant. Not the kind of Chinese restaurant I usually frequent, but a modestly swanky affair, and one built on an industrial scale: one dining hall (of many) on one floor (of at least three or four, it seemed) was a hundred yards or more long. I seemed to be not actually eating in this place myself, nor even really 'present'; I was somehow floating through the restaurant unseen, like a fly-on-the-wall documentary camera recording scattered glimpses of the behind-the-scenes activity.

During a lull in food service (it seemed to be late afternoon rather than early morning - but the place was suddenly empty of customers) a squad of cleaning ladies appeared - almost as numerous as the wait staff, one to every four or five tables. In this particular room, the tables were - as is usual in China - round, but quite small, seemingly designed for only two, or at most four people. When their tablecloths were removed, they were found to be made of glass. And when the cleaning ladies began to mop and polish them with the damp rags which are the only common cleaning utensil in China, when they began to wipe around the edges of these thick glass discs.... well, the tables began to resonate, to hum with a bright, pure sound, as wine glasses do when you run a wetted fingertip around their rim.

Strange, no?

Although I suppose food and music (and, ahem, drink) are my principal obsessions in life; so, it is perhaps not so unusual that my subconscious would find a way of combining these interests into a single arresting image.


JES said...

I love dreams like this (my own, or reported by others).

A therapist who adopted me as a project for a few years (granted, I was paying him...) once told me that dreams about buildings are dreams about our own minds, our own selves.

I didn't get the impression that this was just a glib blow-off of a dream report I'd just given him. (On the other hand, how does anyone presume to know what a given dream feature "means"? Especially enough to make generalizations about it?) But it made an interesting starting point for discussion: Supposing this "meaning" to be true, what (if anything) does it say about your own mind/self, or how you regard it?

If I'm remembering aright, my dream at the time featured a large, rickety tree house, which you could enter on one side but had to leave on the other. The contents were, well, a lot of junk -- old books, old teakettles and kitchen appliances, cracked and broken dinnerware and furniture. And when you left, you realized that your safe exit was being assured by a "watch cat" -- not exactly a Cheshire Cat, but in that vein -- perched over the doorway.

Those singing tables in your dream make me wish this place existed in real life.

Froog said...

I don't think I've ever dreamt about a house, but I dream about individual rooms quite a lot. I think it's the same thing. My symbolic 'mental landscape' is a den or a study or a library, not a whole house.

Now that I come to think of it, quite a significant proportion of my dreams do seem to involve music in some form.

I had a particularly memorable one a few years ago (though I'm not sure that it counts as a dream; I could only recall this single brief image) in which a line of be-waistcoated barmen were shaking ice in their cocktail shakers to the tune of The William Tell Overture.