I've always been morbidly fascinated with mental derangement and distortions of consciousness, and particularly with amnesia and other disruptions of accurate memory. However, being far too nervous a soul ever to have experimented with hard drugs (I did drop acid in San Francisco once, but that's another story), my exploration of this strange territory has been purely imaginative - well, apart from the occasional morning-after memory wipe induced by excess of alcohol.
So, it is particularly difficult for me to trace the origin of the uncommonly vivid dream I had a few days ago. The emotional wellsprings are obvious enough - anxiety (the [probably futile] quest for a new Chinese visa is doing my head in at the moment), wistfulness/wish-fulfilment (ah, material comfort: yes, that would be nice!), disorientation (where the hell am I really? what is going on here?), a desire for escape/oblivion - but the specifics of it confound me rather.
I was throwing a large party in my apartment. This appeared to be an apartment, and indeed a neighbourhood (maybe even a city), I was not particularly familiar with, had perhaps only just arrived in. (There was a vague sense at times that this event was supposed to be set during the time I was a legal intern in Toronto, but this did not seem a significant factor, and the dream bore no relation at all to my actual experience there.)
I was in a very disordered mental state: perhaps anxious, perhaps jet-lagged, perhaps a bit feverish; perhaps just extravagantly drunk (there was a point early on where someone made me an enormous pina colada, which I drank very swiftly); but I had a feeling that I was inexplicably losing control, was possibly under the influence of some drug or other - I wondered if someone might have spiked one of my drinks, slipped me a 'Mickey Finn'.
And in this state of relaxed befuddlement, it didn't at first bother me too much that the party just kept getting bigger - not only in terms of the number of people attending, but in the space we were using. I was pretty sure that it had started off in my apartment, but it had somehow migrated into neighbours' apartments, until we had seemingly taken over an entire floor of the building. I started wandering from room to room, seemingly without end; and the rooms themselves kept getting bigger, until I found people serving cocktails in huge halls.
Eventually, I started getting worried by this, realised that I could no longer be in my apartment, or even in my apartment building. What was going on? Oh my - it appeared we had crashed the City Museum and were having the party there.
Now, what does all of that mean, Mr Freud?