20 March 2011

A muddy swath, an archaic shop

There is a long narrow grassy strip which shades into a dirt strip, and then to mud. There is a narrow strip of water perpendicular to the grass/dirt strip. I am with one or two other people, and maybe some children. I have to walk along the dirt strip. My shoes or boots are getting very muddy. I get all the way to the end and turn around to come back. Now there really isn't any solid area left; it's all soft mud or muddy water. On my way back, I get completely muddy all the way up my chest. When I reach the starting point I enter this place sort of like a gas station; I want to get cleaned up.

That gas station place is now someone's home, or maybe it's a combination home/shop. I go in past the first room (a kitchen, I think) into a sitting room. Everything in the place has a pall of age, like an old aunt's house where she hasn't changed anything for thirty years. There is a television on, but there is no or very low sound. Across the room on a small end table or tray table is an old-looking radio with a wooden cabinet. [It doesn't look like any actual antique radio I have ever seen, but more like something I might come up with if asked to design an original "antique" radio.] I have to adjust this radio to hear the television sound. The volume control is a small smooth silver knob on the radio's left side. By the time I go to set the channel, I have forgotten it again. I think that it is something like 1013 AM, but that doesn't seem to be it. I go back to the side of the room where the television is and consult some reference. I find that it is in fact an FM frequency, 1.14 FM [maybe it was 101.14 FM, but maybe I just think that on waking because 101.14 makes more sense than 1.14]. When I turn back to the side of the room where the radio is, I notice an old woman is sitting in a chair to the left of the radio. The old woman lives here, but I don't know who she is personally. I get the radio tuning adjusted. I go back through the kitchen and look outside from the doorway. I see a wave, a minor offspring from the tsunami, roll down the narrow waterway.


Recently I watched the movie Slums of Beverly Hills. In one scene of the movie, a Lady Remington shaver lady remington shaver can be seen on a nightstand. My grandmother had this exact razor and I was always fascinated with it, probably mostly because of the way the cylindrical two-compartment box opens by swinging out on a pivot. I even used the razor a few times as a young girl before I started shaving with a regular blade. I had completely forgotten about this shaver; I hadn't thought about it in years until I saw it in that movie. Thinking about it reminded me of other items in my grandmother's house that always held a special fascination for me. The wooden headboard of her bed had a radio built into it; the middle of the headboard featured a small white power/volume knob and a large white dial shaped like a disk with an arrow head that pointed to the selected frequency and a tail opposite the pointer. I think the knob and dial were meant to look like ivory (though I believe they were plastic). When you turned the knob, it took some time before it actually came on. I think the point of the dial arrow lit up a dim orange. Since it was only an AM radio, the sort of programming that I ever heard on it, talk programmes or strange old staticky music, was quite incomprehensible to my five- or six-year-old self which made it all the more intriguing. On a shelf above a counter near a window in my grandmother's kitchen were a small assortment of knickknacks and an old Motorola radio. If it wasn't the exact one shown in the picture, it was one very like it. I always liked the look of it. I remember my grandmother playing some radio programme of Polish polkas on it.

I also thought about my Aunt M's and Uncle D's house. (Aunt M was really my grandmother's aunt.) They must have died when I was less than ten years old, so these are really ancient memories. Aunt M lived in a farm house on a vineyard. Her water came from a well so we were always being reminded to conserve it. Everything in her house was old in that way that makes it strange and bewitching to a small child-- similar to the things you know well from your own home but just different enough to be eerily unfamiliar.

I think all this rumination on these artefacts is responsible for the appearance of the home/shop place in my dream, and the decidedly Aunt M-like lady who inhabited it. The weird setup with the radio and television in my dream clearly was inspired by my recent viewing of an episode of the The Ricky Gervais Show in which Karl Pilkington tells about man who had two broken television sets; one had no picture and the other no sound-- by using them together, he could receive a complete broadcast.

The wave in my dream has so much in common with that in this youtube video I saw the other day of the tsunami reaching a canal in Hawaii that I am certain it was derived from that image.

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