Last night I dreamed of the City.
Over the course of my life, I’ve had dreams at various times about certain recurring places: a high-rise hotel on a mountain, a mall, a suburb, a freeway, a college.
At some point I realized that all of these places were connected. That they made up an entire dream landscape. They even had routes connecting them: the mountain with its hotel was downtown, and from there you could get on a freeway to the suburbs, or take an elevated train (which hung from overhead tracks instead of riding on them) to the mall.
Of course the City has its own dream logic. I usually found myself at the university on final exam day, when I realized I had been enrolled all semester and hadn’t attended a single class. And I was most often on the freeways while circling he city, unable to find just the right exit. And for a luxury hotel, the elevators were very strange—cages suspended in the dark elevator shafts, which swayed frighteningly as they took their riders up dozens of floors.
But often, spending time in the City was just like spending time in any city. I remember walking past neighborhoods, seeing convenience stores, taking the train to the mall and browsing.
At one point the dreams were so common, and the City’s geography was so familiar to me, I considered trying to map it out, or possibly tell stories set there, either as its own self-contained world or a parallel to the real world (like my own personal Matrix, or Inception). But it seemed I would have the dreams in clusters, months or even years apart. Eventually I just seemed to stop having them altogether.
And then, last night, I found myself in an elevator in a high-rise building. The elevators had gotten an upgrade: real elevator cars now, with glass panels still allowed the riders to see the shaft walls moving by. But I was in the City again. I was sure of it.
I wonder if I’ll return tonight, and what other changes I might find.