I spend Balinese New Year's Day, or Nyepi, house-sitting my friend's villa in Umalas, north Kuta. During the day of silence I do yoga, meditate, play video games, contemplate my place in the universe, and star-gaze. The next morning, after having scaled the wall into his own compound, he wakes me up by banging on the downstairs room's door, whereupon I stumble out of bed mumbling apologies in Indonesian. Mightily groggy and feeling a strong tug to keep dreaming, I decline his invitation to have a morning surf, pack my few belongings, and head back to Canggu Permai. As the morning is hot, I turn on the air-conditioning, wait for the room to cool down a bit, then crawl under my light blanket, tossing and turning a few times before I fall back asleep. My ensuing dreams are recorded here, to the best of memory.
A convoy of vehicles and pedestrians is making its way along an elevated roadway that runs through both unkempt plots and well-maintained rice paddies. I am pushing a bicycle piled high with goods of some sort, but realize that I forgot my flip-flops on the road behind me, let my bicycle drive itself, and sprint-hover (a form of locomotion I often experience in my dreams, a type of bouncing that allows me to cover large distances quickly) back along the left-hand side of the road. My feet do not sting or hurt as I hurry along although the road is made of pitted and crumbling paving stones. As I am passing a number of shiny cars (whose drivers are staring straight ahead and not making eye-contact with me), a part of my conscious mind wonders why the convoy is still moving even though I had just abandoned my bike. As soon as I slip into my thongs, the dream changes. I have a vague memory of bartering for a coconut, which I drink, leaving the spoon that came with it on the edge of the now-deserted causeway, whereupon I remember a few elements of bartering for the coconut from a woman standing amidst heaps of rubble and broken houses by the side of the cobble-stone road. Still carrying the coconut, I reach a break in the elevated roadway, which has for some time been running alongside deep, stone pits filled with crystal-clear water. Leaning over the barrier installed above the break, I look down to find a pagoda (wooden pillars, roof of fired red tiles with adorned ridges) floating in the water, which is blocking mounds of water-borne trash from entering a lake on my right. Ahead of the break is no elevated roadway insight, only an open field of dry earth with a darkened wood, or jungle, beyond. I hurl my coconut down onto a slab of broken concrete, but instead of breaking it bounces out of sight. Moving carefully through the rubble, I make my way down the right side of the elevated roadway and step onto the pagoda, which tilts and begins to sink under my weight, whereupon some loose bits of plastic and other trash wash over my feet. I look down into the clear water and see great seams in the sunken rocks, as if it had been built by man. As I step off of the pagoda onto dry land, the dream changes again.
Next, I'm in a courtyard paved with gray stones. It has buildings on three sides of it and a wrought-iron, sliding gateway to my right. I'm facing a row of planting boxes in which are growing bushes and small trees. In front of me is a basin filled with water. In my hand is a piece of an engine which I am taking apart with a knife. I am using a short-bladed knife to cut away at the piece, which suddenly resembles a carburetor made entirely of rubber, and when I have sliced it in two, a reptile pokes its head of out the piece in my left hand. Standing up, I dump the piece in the basin of water, which I can see is about 2 meters deep, nearly 1 meter square, and lined with white, porcelain tiles. Bending over to look into the basin I see a large frog (possibly female) whose limbs are strong and human-shaped, dressed in a brightly-colored kimono decorated with the image of an Asiatic woman holding a parasol. The frog is also wearing a traditional Chinese scholar's hat, complete with red tassel; it turns to look at me, then kicks its legs and swims deeper into the basin, allowing me a full glimpse of the colorful image imprinted on the kimono. There are 5 or 6 other frogs in the basin as well as some swirling debris. The frogs are all past the tadpole stage but their rear legs are of different sizes. All have long flaps of skin that connect front to hind legs, in the manner of butterfly wings. I reach into the basin and pull out a bit of debris, a length of furry vegetation that I throw into the yard behind me. Excited at the sight of the kimono, I exit the yard through the gate and call to my neighbor, a blond woman, to come see, but she for some reason cannot get past the gate – her long dress keeps getting stuck on a hook of some sorts on the other side of the gate. The dream changes.
The next thing I remember is sitting in the lobby of what looks like a hospital. There's a counter to my left, a door behind me, a door to my left, a door in front of me, and another, larger door to my right. Through the large door on the right I can see sunlight as well as people and cars coming and going. Across from me are two rows of chairs with three seats each set up so they are facing each other. Five or six people are sitting there, but I can only make out a man sitting cross-legged on a seat closest to me, on the right-hand row. I'm on the phone with some sort of customer service representative, a woman, who asks for my new phone number, whereupon I start trying to find it while yelling into the phone's mouthpiece for her to be patient. At that point, the cross-legged man starts yelling louder and louder until I become annoyed enough to hang up my phone and confront him. I am not aware of walking across to him, only that I'm suddenly standing over him. The five other people seated there with him are only dimly visible. He looks away from me, down to the right, and I realize that he's yelling pure gibberish, non-sense sounds, whilst flapping his jaw in an exaggerated fashion that mimics talking. Taken aback at his offensive behavior, I lean away, whereupon he looks back up at me. His torso and legs are blurry but I can see his face and arms more clearly. He has reddish hair with a somewhat bloated and freckled face that looks a bit like my own, and his right arm is tattooed almost entirely with elaborate tribal designs, though his left arm has but few tattoos. At that point, I wake up, feeling refreshed.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥