The Journal of Jim Benz|
Dream Journal #14
04/26/2016 09:52 p.m.
I'm part of a football team, on defense, and we're running out onto the field. I think I'm a linebacker but as we get into formation, I get pushed out to cornerback, on the left side. As I take my position and look up, there is a giant scoreboard that dominates my view. Behind it is a bright blue, cloudless sky. Then I look back down to the field, see the offense line up and immediately start the play. Before I've even had a chance to react, the football is pitched to a wideout just across from me. I'm pretty sure I can tackle him, but then he runs past me, almost invisible, he's so fast. As I turn to pursue him, he's way down field, then he's up in the air where he's picked up by a small airplane which quickly flies over the stands, disappearing into the distance. I stand on the field watching this vivid scene, thoroughly amazed.
I am listening to the sound of no hands clapping
Dream Journal #13
01/27/2016 07:39 p.m.
I'm driving on highway 36, or maybe it's 88. The weather is rainy. Or snowy. Or icy. I'm having a difficult time driving and can't seem to control my car. But it's more than the slick pavement; I just can't seem to focus. Then I spin out and crash. What will my wife think? I just smashed her car. But it's right outside a shopping mall, and body shop mechanics--who just happen to be there--immediately begin assessing the damage. But it's not my wife's car after all, it's my truck. I've completely smashed the front end, as well as the entire left side, with some additional damage to the tail end. The driver's door is hanging open, nearly torn off. The chief repair guy points at the built-in refrigerator on the side of the truck, just beneath and behind the driver's seat, and says, "We won't be able to fix the refrigerator." I tell him I can live without it, but silently I regret the loss. While they continue to assess the damage, I somehow manage to go home, hop in my wife's car and return to the mall to make final arrangements for repairing the truck. Again, driving is very difficult but I arrive unscathed and park the car. I can see my truck being towed away but suddenly realise that I have no idea about where it's being towed or who these repair guys really are. So I need to quickly get back to the car and follow them. But now I can't find the car. It's neither in the front lot nor the rear. So I run into the mall's interior and look for the car inside. While I'm frantically searching, a man approaches me. He's gay, has very large hands, and he wants hold me. I seem to remember being in a car with him earlier, or maybe it was someone very similar. Maybe it was a different dream. He tries to put his arms around me but I fend him off as gracefully as I can without hurting his feelings and continue running through the mall, frantic about losing my wife's car, wondering where it is that my truck has been towed. I enter a bakery that sits in the middle of the mall. Its entire front wall is made of glass. All the baked goods look and smell delicious. The man at the counter, a tall Italian-looking man with a dark moustache, dressed in white with a chef's hat, looks right into my eyes and greets me warmly. It's clear that he's been waiting for me to arrive.
Dream Journal #12
01/25/2016 07:08 p.m.
1. New House
It's night time. We've finally found where our new house is located--somewhere on the northeast corner of a large industrial complex. We drive up to the door, park the car and get our luggage out. I'm happy about the location because my job is in a warehouse somewhere else in the complex. I only regret that it is about as far from this house as it can possibly be while remaining within the borders of this property. The house itself is a converted park building. There's nothing in the immediate vicinity that looks anything like a park. We open the door and go inside; the house is dark and empty.
2. The Warehouse
I know it's somewhere, but I'm having trouble finding my workplace. It's still night time so all the buildings are shadowy and hard to distinguish. But then I see a crowd of men outside a familiar looking building and know this must be the right place. One of the men--a big kid, really-- starts running toward me and he looks angry. I look around, see a bicycle, hop on, then pedal away from the kid as fast as I can. He's still gaining on me though. So the bike turns into a car and I increase my speed to nearly 60 mph, but the kid has no trouble keeping up and is even gaining ground. He's within arms reach and I think to myself, "Man, this kid is really fast."
3. Inside the Warehouse
Finally, I'm at work but everything is unfamiliar. Another man is working with me in the basement of the warehouse. I'm dumb as a brick when it comes to knowing what I should be doing. And it's dark inside. We walk up to an opening in the concrete wall, almost like a very wide window, and the guy says to me, "We need to go up to the next level," then he climbs through the opening, twists around, and disappears. When I follow suit, the floor of the next level begins to move down, threatening to crush me as I pause between the two spaces. But when I try to quickly pull myself up to the next level, the floor rises and prevents me from going any further. No matter what I do, I'm stuck between the two levels. I can't go any further and I can't retreat.
4. Back Home
I'm inside our new house. Though it looks small on the outside, it's hugely expansive on the inside. There also seems to be quite a few more people in here than just my wife and myself. The rooms and corridors have no rhyme or reason, they sprawl all over the place and change shape at unexpected moments. There is a clutter of furniture everywhere and what seems like a million abandoned possessions. It has the look of a dusty Louise Bourgeois installation/sculpture. I have to watch where I step. As I walk down one corridor, I come to a disheveled bedroom where a middle-aged matronly sort of woman is trying to find her bed. She's both exasperated and bemused. Suddenly, a hole opens up in the ceiling and a bed falls down right on top of her. It doesn't hurt her, though, and we both laugh. I continue walking through the house, amazed at the seemingly endless supply of different rooms. Everything is dimly lit but I can see just fine. I take joy in knowing that I can choose whatever room I want for a bedroom, or office, and there's no shortage of choices. Back in the front room of the house, my wife, Nancy, has just racked her Polish wine into bottles and is putting them in a wine rack in the front corner by a window. A bunch of children are watching television on the other side of the room. It's a big screen tv with several game consoles attached. This is probably the most cluttered room in the house--old furniture everywhere, much of it tipped over, and lots of junk, clothes and other indeterminate items laying on the floor. I'm looking for a different wine rack where my own bottles of wine are aging but I can't remember where it is. So I decide to look over by Nancy's rack, but now I can't see it anymore. As I search the increasingly cluttered room, the children by the tv begin to argue and fight. The clutter grows thicker and there are now potted plants everywhere. They create obstacles, walls and intricate nooks throughout the large room. Finally I return to a part of the room I've already searched more than once and find Nancy with her rack of newly bottled Polish wine behind a wall of plants. I can't understand why this was so difficult to find, I should have seen it right away. But Nancy is beaming, she's so happy about her wine. This makes me happy too.
I am listening to Peter Tosh: Legalize It
Dream Journal #11
01/20/2016 05:26 p.m.
I'm out of town, somewhere where the maps are confused and I haven't packed the right clothes. There are people partying at our cabin but I don't remember how to get there. So I dress in something inappropriate and very unstylish then hit the road. Someone might be traveling with me. It might be my Dad. The roads pass by but I see them as if they are written on a map. We're in a small city. The weather is beautiful, early summer. We're walking up hills in a residential neighborhood full of trees, knocking on doors, raising money. Downtown, they have our cabin and it's been disassembled for the purpose of cleaning and restoring its timbers. The stacked wood has a beautiful golden hue to it. There seems to be a restriction on when it can be reassembled. We don't know what town this is. I don't know for sure that I'm not alone.
I'm in a huge, sun-filled church with stadium seating. We're singing a song but I don't know the words. I'm trying to find my seat, unsuccessfully. It seems like I just keep climbing stairs, wading through the crowd of worshippers. But then I find myself in a line outside the sanctuary. It's Spring. We're singing a processional hymn, dressed in robes. But the robes are slipping off, beyond our control. We're in our underwear. The panties on the middle-aged woman in front of me are riding very low. I feel embarrassed for her. She pulls them back up.
The service is over and I'm in a gray waiting room. Over in the corner, beneath the stairs, are some bicycles. A very special children's bike, that I had purchased myself, is missing. I go beneath the stairs and take a closer look; it's definitely missing. Going outside, I see a kid riding the bike and approach him. It's the same kid for whom I had bought the bike. The sun is shining and everything--the sidewalk, the walls of the building, even the air--seems to glimmer.
I'm back home, but I'm not sure what or where this home is. Except I do know--simultaneously, it's my house in Minneapolis, my old house in the suburbs, and it's located in each of those neighborhoods as well as my even older neighborhood in Sioux Falls. The maps of these places are overlain. There's snow everywhere. Rather than shovel the snow, I take a walk down the street--three blocks down, then one block over to my right. I see an apartment building across the street to the north. It's the building in which my long-dead grandmother once lived, but it is on the site of a church where, as a young adult, I once had been a parishioner. In the very window that had been my grandmother's, I see my son's old piano teacher, Nelda Hart. It appears that she's having a party.
I'm inside the apartment, but no one else is there now. I'm supposed to make coffee, but the large coffee pot is way up on top of a cupboard in the corner of the kitchen. I have to climb a ladder to reach it. Once I've filled the basket with coffee, I realise that I still need to fill the pot with water. The light is dim and the ladder feels like it will fall apart at any moment. I climb down to the kitchen sink and discover all the water is frozen into ice cubes. Painstakingly, I make numerous trips up and down the rickety ladder, depositing handfuls of ice into the coffee pot. Before I finish, the apartment fills up with people. They're trying to clean the living room. One old guy is struggling with a vacuum cleaner. Apparently, the makeshift electrical outlet into which he has it plugged is shorting out. He looks at me with an angry face and tells me it is because of the coffee pot and what I am doing to it. I feel guilty about this, then plug in the coffee pot anyway. The vacuum cleaner sputters then stops. Still, I don't believe it's my fault.
I am listening to Televison: Marquee Moon
Return of the Dream Journal
01/16/2016 06:11 p.m.
My wife Nancy and I are standing by a line of restaurant tables. They're mostly full except for the one right in front of us. It's in the "no wait" section up by the cash register, against the wall by a window. Before we decide to put our name in for a table elsewhere, we see somebody else slide into the no wait section ahead of us. And we think, "what the hell." So Nancy slides into the bench against the wall and, instead of taking the chair opposite her, I slide in beside her. Looking across the table, I see a fourth person taking a chair next to the one who preceded us. We're all now sitting together at the same table, looking across at one another. A vague sense of discomfort settles in as we meet each other's eyes. Who are these people?
I am listening to Richard & Linda Thompson
Reports of my death have been greatly understated"
07/15/2014 12:31 a.m.
"the reports of my death have been greatly understated"
I've had a very, VERY BAD arthritis day today, so the quote above (Morrissey, via Pitchfork) really cracked me up. Meanwhile, I'm sitting just inside the side door of my garage, grilling chicken on my barbeque during a 58 degree downpour.
Happy July, folks. I hope yours is behaving better than mine.
Dream journal entry #9
03/29/2014 06:32 p.m.
I remember three dreams from last night, each of which was utterly banal and uninteresting. I remembered them by reciting only one word apiece whenever I awoke: jackknife, tobacco, and electrician. So, I guess they were fairly vivid and came to me with suitable titles. Which I'll use.
It's wintertime and I'm standing in the driveway of the house where I spent my teenage years. Where I'm standing is at the top of a small hill and I'm looking down on a car that is pulled most of the way into the driveway, but not quite; it's blocking the sidewalk, and either the front or tail end is sticking out into the street (this changes back and forth every time I look). There is no driver; the car is parked and has apparently been here all night. It's early morning and I can't shovel the driveway unless I move the car. I seem to know who parked it here and I curse them, but I have the keys so I climb into the car, intending to park it in the street against the curb to my right. When I get in, the nose is now facing the street, so I pull out, turn left, and then begin backing it into the place where I want it parked, which, incidentally, would leave the car facing the wrong direction for the side of the street on which I'm parking. But as I shift into reverse, I look in my rearview mirror and see that I'm now backing a fifty foot trailer which is jackknifing in the wrong direction. Because, you know, backing a trailer is counterintuitive, especially when you're looking in a rearview mirror. Especially when you don't realize you're pulling a trailer or that instead of a car, you're driving a freight truck. Seeing my mistake, I overcorrect, which not only brings the trailer over to the side of the street I want it on but also jacks it into a neighbor's yard, stopping just short of hitting their house. But this was good enough for me, so I leave the truck where it is--blocking several other driveways in the process--and proceed to shovel my own.
I'm working in a convenience store, quite a bit younger than I am now, about 25. It's an old store, cluttered with merchandise, and the walls are painted an ugly shade of green. The light is such that it feels like it's night time. There's two or three of us young guys working here, along with an older guy (the owner, I suppose) who's standing behind a counter at the cash register. We're not actually working though, just sitting around talking, feeling bored. The owner isn't paying any attention to us; he's just staring listlessly out the window, looking just as bored as the rest of us. There are no customers. The youngest guy among us wants to buy some rolling tobacco, but he can't decide which brand he should purchase. So I start explaining the difference between a dry loose leaf brand like Top and a moist shag brand like Drum. We decide that he'd probably be happier buying the shag, but now the owner finally speaks up and says, no, you should buy a loose leaf brand. I turn, look him in the eyes and begin explaining how much experience I have with rolling tobacco and why my opinion is much better informed than his own. At which point, he shrugs and then gestures toward the guy who wanted to buy tobacco in the first place. I turn back to look at him and see that he's filling a water pipe full of ice and water, preparing to stuff its bowl with the tobacco I had recommended. So I said, oh, I guess it was pipe tobacco that you wanted.
3) The electrician
This time I'm in my childhood home, in the basement. It's just as I remember it--one side finished with wood paneling, a wet bar, and carpeting; the other side unfinished, with concrete walls, a workbench, and plenty of room for storage. A wall divides the two sides, with a single door providing access to the unfinished portion at the stairwell end of the basement. Though this is my childhood home, I'm not a child. In fact, I'm the same age as I am now and I own the house. But I don't think of this as the house I grew up in; it's just my house. At the furthest end from the door in the storage area of the basement, I'd rigged up a very clever bit of wiring that allowed certain electronic devices to work on the finished side. But these devices (I don't know what they are) were no longer working. The way I'd wired it, though, was designed to operate through a couple of cartridge fuses I'd intalled in the box--two of them, one for each circuit. But before I could check the fuses, my wife Nancy came down stairs and told me she'd hired an electrician to take care of the problem. And then, there he was, wearing a tool belt and going through the door into the unfinished side of the basement. I want to explain to him how I'd rigged the wiring in the first place, and the reasons why, but he isn't interested and gets right to work. When he finishes, I know he'd just returned the wiring to its original state, completely ruining my innovations and, thus, rendering the electronic devices that rely on my wiring useless. The electrician doesn't care about any of this and doesn't want to hear anything about it. Then my wife pays him and he leaves. When I open the electrical box to see what I could salvage from this "repair," I notice that the cartridge fuses are gone. This alarms me because without the fuses--which were very rare and expensive--I can never return this circuitry to the state in which I want it to be, and I can never again use the electronic devices on the other side of the wall. So I curse the electrician, open up my toolbox, and get to work, trying to figure out a new innovation. Something that won't burn down the house ...
Dream journal entry #8
03/28/2014 06:35 p.m.
So many strange and vivid dreams, but I feel confused thinking about them and only remember fragments. As I write, they'll probably flesh themselves out, but I know the details will be weird and disjointed.
I'm in a large room, like a basement, but it has a theatrical feel to it--long red curtains in some parts, colorful (and messy) wardrobes throughout, and iron-framed staircases leading up to dressing rooms at random intervals. My wife Nancy is here as well. I'm not sure what's going on, but we're looking around this colorful mess, wondering what it's all about. Suddenly, we're confronted by some kind of tall, mutant bear with blond fur, partially wrapped in a curtain or some kind of vibrant fabric. The bear has a deformed face; it's eyes are lopsided and out of focus. It's standing on its rear legs, showing teeth and snarling--very fierce and unworldly. Nancy immediately runs up the nearest staircase and locks herself into the room at the top. I stay behind and block the bear's path, not knowing what I should do. Then the bear chases me around the room several times before I finally run up to the room where Nancy is safely hiding; the door, of course, is locked, and the bear is standing at the bottom of the stairs, ready to charge. I feel cornered, so I pound on the door and holler at Nancy to open it. Just as the bear begins to charge up the stairs, Nancy lets me in and we slam the door shut. The bear's heavy body pounds into the door and it begins to claw at the wood. I look around the room; its larger than I expected. There's a window and a cluttered desk at one end; light is streaming through the window. Nancy is happy the bear didn't kill me, as am I. We then pause and reflect on the strange appearance of the bear, not at all worried that it might break through the door of this room. Until it does ...
We're on a camping trip with a bunch of friends and neighbors. The place where we're camping seems to be an enclosed space containing an artificial environment similar to a wilderness campground. It's a bright sunny day outside, except it's nowhere near as bright as it should be and the sun is not the sun. Among the people camping with us are our neighbors, Lyn, Dan, and Adam Yates. When we go to their tent to pay a visit, they're sitting around a table inside the dark tent eating and drinking. Lyn is extremely jovial and they all seem to be having a good time. But Dan and Adam aren't saying much. Most of the conversation around the table comes from faceless people whom I do not know. Lyn invites Nancy and me to join them. I don't remember if we do or don't, but later Dan and Adam are outside the tent discussing Dan's car, which isn't running. They're mixing up a batch of synthetic oil in a large plastic vat. It's a tried and true recipe that Dan developed himself and has been using for years. This is what will make the car run again. I'm paying close attention to the different liquids that he stirs into the mix. The syrupy swirl of his stirring, along with the different shades of brown and grey mixing together, is mesmerizing. I forget where I'm at and what I'm doing ...
We're at the airport, or maybe it's an amusement park funhouse. Or maybe it's a very colorful video game full of secret corridors, rooms, and unusual challenges. I'm with Nancy, but she's not quite Nancy. She does, however, need to board her plane, and I've come along to help her find it. But it's not easy because once we go inside the building, everything is in a state of flux--the rooms and corridors are continuously changing into different rooms and corridors; colors swirl brightly and mix themselves into vibrant new colors; space and time has become interchangeable and thoroughly confused. We marvel at this for a moment, then enter the maelstrom. It's difficult to recall what happens next, but eventually we find ourselves wandering through a narrow, dimly lit subterranean hallway made from concrete. The absolute grayness of this environment feels like a relief but we seem to be walking in endless square circles, and we need to get Nancy to her plane before she misses it. After a confused swirl of foggy images, we finally escape our subterranean labyrinth and find ourselves back inside the heart of the brightly colored, time-and-space-shifting maelstrom. We're on a conveyor belt; it's an assembly line and we're supposed to be reassembled here by giant clownlike figures who peer down at us through the brightly colored fog that fills our peripheral vision. I look at Nancy and her eyes look like fried eggs in need of pupils; I know that mine do too. We manage to avoid being reassembled at the various assembly stations along the conveyor, but we're now approaching the final station where pupils will be painted onto our eyes. We need to avoid this more than anything else. I feel time and space finally begin to move in the same coherant direction; we can see clearly again. Because of this, we are able to roll aside just as the pupil painting machine is about to attach itself to our faces. And then I woke up.
Dream journal entry #7
03/27/2014 01:50 p.m.
So many dreams last night, almost all of them completely forgotten. The one I didn't forget began in a foggy cloud of competitive men, all gathered together (indoors and out) at a party, jockeying for status. I didn't want any part of this but it seemed inescapeable. One young guy, with light brown hair, dressed in a white tee shirt and faded jeans, seemed to have the upper hand in this social competition. He was standing by a bon fire, supremely confident and acting as if he were in charge. I had some kind of close relationship to him but don't recall what it entailed. It gave me status, though, even if I didn't particularly like this guy or his way of operating. The whole situation made me feel uncomfortable and degraded.
But here's something more specific: I'm in a dark balconey overlooking a movie screen. Several other guys are there as well. My friend Tony has begun to list off a number of modern day people whom he thought had become deities after they died. I'm not paying much attention to him until he says, "I think Bob Marley might have been one of them, but I'm not certain." At which point the movie screen lights up with a gigantic image of Marley's head smoking a joint (it was very similar to the cover art for Kaya). I reply to Tony that I love Bob Marley's music and the lyrics to his songs but think his status as a deity is way overblown; in fact, I'm pretty sure he was nothing more than a successful musician who smoked tons of pot and slept with countless women. Tony looked confused when I said this, but when he opened his mouth to argue, I woke up.
Dream journal entry #6
03/26/2014 03:02 p.m.
This dream was a swirl of disparate images and confused storylines. I could start anywhere while describing it, so I'll begin with a rather tense meeting.
The two men I was meeting with had hired me as a home health care attendant whose job was to focus on positive reinforcement as a means of modifying a client's difficult personality and antisocial behaviors. They were concerned because I hadn't provided any written material to back up my work or to help them understand my expertise in this field. But I knew what I was doing--personally interacting with a client in an honest, reinforcing manner that drew upon mutual respect and interpersonal insight to draw the client out and help mitigate some specific (and rather cantankerous) attitudes. The two men in charge of this project had their doubts but seemed to trust me. Or perhaps they'd just made a decision to trust me despite their greater misgivings. I'd already been working for them for quite some time and didn't like them any better than they liked me.
Later, I was with a woman I was dating (she's almost entirely anonymous within the dream, completely generic). We were meeting her father, who was wearing a bright purple (or sometimes red) suit coat. Apparently he was a very important man, and carried himself as such. As we were leaving his hotel room, we ran into the other two men, the ones who had hired my services. They were surprised to see me with this man because he was their boss. This meant they had to take it easy on me, but they also had to answer to him if I was unsuccessful or turned out to be unqualified for the job. You could see in their eyes that this was a problem.
What resulted from this chance meeting was that I was now required to do a better job cleaning, scrubbing, and mopping the floors in a wide range of settings. Mostly I was on my hands and knees with a scrub brush. And the locales where this occurred varied dramatically. For instance, at one point I'm scrubbing the steps and basement floor of an apartment building; at another, I'm scrubbing the floor of an old-fashioned drug store, working around the feet of the propriator as he stood by the cash register talking to a customer. This went on for quite awhile, and I felt exhausted. Somewhat later, I found myself using a pressure washer to remove snow and ice from someone's back walkway. As I worked my way toward the driveway of the detached garage out back, I noticed a large stretch of jagged black rocks sticking up from the ground, dividing the backyard from the area around the garage. These tall rocks needed to be cleaned and polished, so I took intricate care in performing this task, which I seemed to enjoy, losing myself in the process.
Before I finished, though, I found myself creeping around in a different backyard. It was now dusk. I heard people coming out of the house so I quickly hid in the bushes, watching these people from a distance as I hid. It was two women, one of whom was younger and appeared to be the other woman's daughter. She was tall with long dark hair, holding a baby in her arms. The older woman was short and stout; she appeared to be around 60 and had a matronly look about her. They were talking casually, not looking in my direction, so I began sneaking out of the yard, remaining in the bushes as I did so. Once I was out front, I started to run. But this neighborhood, which had originally been a suburban housing tract, unexpectedly became an ocean front beach. It was difficult to continue running because my feet were sinking into the sand. Someone, I think it was a man, spotted me and was running out to see what I was up to. Or to greet me--I didn't know which. Was this good or bad? I was hoping for good, but it was too dark for me to read this person's facial expressions. He called out to me but his words were indecipherable, as was the tone of his voice.
Then I was back with my client, who lived in an assisted living complex. He was an old guy with alcohol issues. In fact, he was my real life father-in-law (long since deceased). We got along pretty well, but he didn't pay much attention to me unless he needed something. At one point, he asked me to fetch an item from his locker out in the public hallway. When I went to do this, I discovered there was a bustling cafeteria right outside his room. Everybody was happy here, staff and residents alike. Just beyond this was a bait shop. In this facility, someone told me, the staff believed their residents should be able to go fishing whenever they wish, so the bait was free of charge and fishing gear was always available for those who had none of their own. Just beyond this was my client's locker, but I was unable to open its lock. Something important, like a circuit board, was in here, but it was inaccessible. This troubled me.
Next thing I knew, I was outside, fishing in a body of water that lapped at the curb right in front of the assisted living building. It was neither a lake nor a stream, but it was water we could fish in. The sun was high in the sky and there were only a few small trees at the water's edge. It felt like spring. A number of people stood on the sidewalk casting their lines; some were reeling in fish. I noticed one person had cast her line into a tree and caught a squirrel. She asked me for help, but then, unexpectedly, it became my line and the squirrel absolutely did not want to give up the bait. This resulted in something like an argument between me and the squirrel. Then I woke up.
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