When Facebook friends--or those of other social networking sites--decide to crash your unconscious party, that's when you know you need to start clocking the hours spent rummaging through your news feed, keeping tabs on people who unknowingly interest/tantalize you, obsessing over various things you wish you never knew existed, or interacting with virtual friends in general...
...though I'm sure any guy out there would do the exact opposite in the hopes of a ménage à trois with the female characters featured in this narration--heck so would I, but I've had dead virtual friends haunt my dreams as well so I really don't wanna push it!
I awoke in the middle of the night to record the details of the dream while they were still oven-fresh in my mind, knowing I'd forget most of them in no time, and was inspired to write about it here.
Something about an unusual painting I saw at the top of my news feed late at night triggered the dream that very night, almost as if the painting has supernatural powers! It is called, oddly enough, "Nautical Dreams of a Dead Man" and is a collaborated creation by my friend Jessica and her friend Cody.
This was one of those dreams you awake from not believing you were just dreaming... so real was it, so elaborate and complex, so rational; you'd like to think it was an actual experience in another realm or something.
We'll get to the good stuff soon, but first I really must clear something up...
I used to be quite engrossed with Facebook back when it was new and fresh and unadulterated. But after repeated sweeping changes caused it to spiral out of control due to an overkill of interface, I found myself drifting further and further away from all the people and things I kept up with since the beginning practically. Soon enough I abandoned mindless Facebook activities in favor of more mindful mindless activites on sites like Blogger and Tumblr, roaming through endless, relentless streams of pixels, both static and dynamic (GIF heaven omg!!!).
Tumblr is Alice in Wonderland's longing for a book with nothing but pictures materialized in cyber form.
There is something so wickedly enjoyable and addictively indulgent in browsing images and videos sans any interaction with cyber beings. Perhaps I'm speaking as someone who has interacted a lot with them and feels I've gained only lost time. A complete waste in the end... But it's probably my own fault that I let myself get too heavily involved with them or simply directed my attention at the wrong kind of virtuals in the first place. So after years of trial and error, I've evolved into a kind of highly trained cold reader in the cyber community and it's impossible to fool me. I know when someone is bs-ing me as well as I know when someone isn't really Christian Bale's cousin wtf!
I do realize I'm a "cyber being" myself to others out there, so whatever interaction I become involved in from now on I try to make as useful as possible for both sides, only sharing content with substance.
Is it wrong to think of others as nonhuman entities before actually seeing or hearing them? Before attaching flesh and bones to the pixels and text they're otherwise composed of? And don't we know how remarkably different people's cyber personalities are from their real ones--a whole nuther issue though.
Before getting too emotionally invested into someone online, voice and/or video chat is essential at removing the blindfold just enough to get an idea of what you're dealing with and if it's worth continuing.
For me personally, socializing has become just like the food industry: in the same way that I support local farms and local businesses, I support LOCAL HUMAN INTERACTION. People from a distance are like processed food and not good for you, yet harmless in tiny quantities...unless you plan on moving elsewhere and need to know more people there, fine! However, as a rule of thumb, EAT LOCAL, MEET LOCAL; or M-EAT LOCAL for short - because meeting and eating go hand in hand right? It's perfect! ;)
So where am I getting with all this? Simply trying to convey that I've long forgotten about some of the Facebook friends featured here, two of which I never met and barely know. Why they would turn up in my dreams is indeed mysterious! Perhaps their cyber versions must've felt neglected enough to remind me of their existence or wanted to get famous through my blog (lol). Hey, it worked!!! Anytime you want some free PR, feel free to invade my dreams and be sure to wear a skintight superhero outfit!
I know I ramble too dang much... deal with it!! Ok ok onto the highlight of this entry at long last, which may or may not be shorter than all the claptrap before it...
Jessica Beyers (a former Elite model and multi-talented young lady I'm lucky to know in the real world) is moving to NYC soon to attend university. In my dream she had already moved here, which would make it somewhat of a foretelling dream as well (get plenty of those wtf), but it was for an entirely different purpose. The painting she worked on, mentioned earlier, landed a spot right at the front of the New York Public Library and was ginormous enough to cover most of the height and length of the library's entrance area. In reality, it's probably not more than 40-50 inches wide. Jessica was notified of this and called over to be present at her larger-than-life exhibition.
ORIGINAL IMAGE OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
AAAAND EDITED TO LOOK LIKE MY DREAM. VOILA!!
NOTE: THOMAS KINLEY IS A FICTIONAL NAME FROM THE DREAM AND THE ACTUAL ARTISTS ARE JESSICA BEYERS AND CODY BLAZEK FOR THOSE TOO DAMN LAZY TO READ MY KICKASS BLOG!!! LOL
Apparently, her partner had gotten there much sooner and took all the credit, succesfully fooling everyone somehow. Jess's eyes filled with tears but she held them in as best she could, shrugging it off with a weak smile as in "meh, that's life". We stared at each other for a moment, not being able to speak; nothing could be said in the grip of such strong emotions. I knew what had to be done, specifically where I had to go, not yet who to contact. I clutched her hands together in mine, kissed them, and promised to "get him" in a most forceful, compelling tone. She looked back with gratitude and hope, and we parted ways with peace in our hearts.
I dashed off through many streets and stopped in front of an off-white apartment building that looked odd to me on the street it occupied, as if it didn't belong there, mismatched with all the other buildings, hard to miss. Entering immediately, I went up the stairwell where I encountered my first virtual friend, Vanessa. She sat on the stairs sipping on a bottle of Grey Goose through a super long straw while texting on her blackberry (to my knowledge, there are few pictures of her on Facebook without an alcoholic drink in hand). I asked if she was okay, to which she answered that her husband and brother got into a physical confrontation. Her brother threatened to disown her if she didn't divorce her husband and her husband threatened a divorce if she didn't disown her brother (to my knowledge, nothing like this happened in her life but is not impossible, as her statuses were never without drama, parading family feuds, work stress, and endless complaints about every aspect of her life every single day year in, year out; Facebook was her faithful punching bag). As much as I wanted to stick around and comfort her, I had to keep moving to my unknown destination that would lead me to him.
I felt myself being dragged the whole way as if by a magnet. Further upward, I exited the stairwell on a certain level and passed an apartment door, from which emerged my friend Anthony (who I'm honored to know him in real life). He seemed furious at a shadow of a man beyond the half-closed door, shouting expletitives at him. I greeted him with profound uneasiness. Instead of expressing sympathy or concern over his jam, I forced myself to not swerve off course by any means and stay focused. A strong feeling of urgency to be in the right place at the right time with the right person prompted me to reach out to Anthony then and there. I told him in so few words what happened to Jessica. As though my words were a magic wand that cast a spell on him, his face relaxed into a calm yet serious expression. "I'll get that bastard."
We were now two spies on a joint mission.
He marched up the stairwell as relief swept over me like a cool breeze in sweltering heat, allowing me to slow my pace, the magnetic urgency no longer pulling me so aggressively. I lagged a few flights behind Anthony and wondered what obstacles lied ahead. Time was of the essence and I became aware of each passing second - the sound of a ticking clock could be heard faintly in the distance....
Now is when we really get down to business and my dream starts to actually look like a dream for a change.
As I climbed more stairs, it seemed like the distance between levels was growing and each flight of stairs was getting longer as a consequence. Weakness crept into my legs without the support of any railing, slowing me to a crawl.
At this snail's pace, I would never get to my destination on time. I stopped, closed my eyes, and summoned all my strength down to the deepest reserves of energy within me to sprint up the endless stretches of steps until I'd reach the very last one. After a couple of levels up, however, I came to a total standstill at what appeared next -- Ksenia, a russian calender model clad in a skintight, latex superhero ensemble.
The ascending of stairs now became oddly familiar to the game Red Light Green Light.
This glossy bright vixen happens to be yet another virtual friend of mine from Facebook, who I greeted in a starstruck daze with fervent hugs and compliments. "Krasavitsa!" (speaking of which, encountering cyber friends in real life can be a most shocking experience for some reason, as if spotting a celebrity or ghost, often being unable to approach or even move.)
I asked Ksenia what her superpower was and she replied she had the power to make any guy follow her like a K-9 on a cocaine scent.
"And what about girls?" I teased.
"To turn them into feral cats," she smirked. (Indeed, dressed in such a...colorful outfit, any girl would have those powers methinks!)
In case she could help me, I began telling her about Jessica's predicament. But before I could finish the first sentence, she glanced at her watch and gasped theatrically. "Uh oh, must go save a friend from an evil hair stylist who makes her victims look like they walked through an automatic car wash," she declared and swiftly exited the stairwell before I could say another word.
Uhh, Super Bimbo, the least you could do is help me up the damn stairs, I thought, rolling my eyes. They fell on some keys which I figured were dropped there deliberately. Attached to them was Ksenia's name as a keychain and 5-S engraved on one of the keys.
Six floors back down, huh. Helllll no, Superbitch. I tossed them aside.
It suddenly became apparent that these characters served as obstacles to stall me or throw me off course altogether.
The ticking clock had grown much louder, ringing in my ears, so I immediately snapped into action and raced up the stairs two steps at a time to compensate the delay.
Finally, a narrow spiral of antique-looking wooden stairs led to a dark arched door at the top level. Beyond it was the interior of a massive clock tower -- a cruise ship could easily fit in there.The ticking came from the supersized clock, mystery solved.
A statue laid sideways comparable to a blue whale in size.
Anthony emerged from behind it, waving me over to him.
"There are some curious objects up here. Glad you made it past that slippery mess! Almost went back down for you."
"Wait, what slippery mess?"
"You know, the bunch of steps covered in grease or whatever that clear substance was. I had to balance myself like a downright circus act."
My face twisted into a puzzled expression. There were no such treacherous obstacles from what I could recall.
"See this statue?" Anthony continued, "It belongs to that crooked partner of your friend's. I found a sketch of it nearby with his signature. The dirtbag built it in honor of himself."
Anthony punched its head with surprising force, turning the head up from its side, knocking off particles of grey stone. Instantly, a swollen red mark formed over the entire cheek.
"Look at that!" I cried, pointing in disbelief.
"Nevermind that, look at this!" He gestured at a bunch of papers next to a shredder. We both turned some over and realized we found what we needed.
"Well, well, well. Looks like our rogue has a procrastination problem! Do any of these names look familiar?"
I showed Anthony receipts of wire transfers and checks.
"Yes, that one! He's one of the big shots among the library's board of trustees. And that one's a major shareholder. I met them both in person, the kind of weasels that would sell their kids to save their own asses."
It turned out the parties involved behind putting Jessica's painting up under Kinley's name alone were bribed by him in handsome amounts. Now we had all the proof we needed to convict him.
"I just hope there aren't any dead bodies he procrastinated disposing of as well!" I chuckled, my spirits elevated.
I stuffed the receipts in my pockets and eagerly motioned towards the exit. We approached the door to the stairwell that we entered from.
"Hold it right there," Kinley, who stood in the doorway, said in a menacing voice. He clutched a razor saw with a foot-long blade, moving towards us.
Anthony shouted "Take cover! I got him!" He tried to kick the knife out of the villain's hand and I ran off in panic, hiding behind the statue's head.
I heard a loud scuffle, a symphony of noises, but couldn't get myself to see what was happening, too paralyzed with fear from the sight of a most terrifying weapon.
A few seconds later a dead silence swallowed the noise completely.
Slow footsteps dragged themselves my way it seemed, accompanied by heavy breathing. I figured if it was Anthony, he'd say something, anything. So my instincts kicked in and I ran around the statue through heaps of rubble, tripping a few times. A hand grabbed my arm and I screamed like mad.
"Easy, you! Easy!"
Anthony's arms wrapped lovingly around me as I bawled in relief, quivering uncontrollably.
"Why didn't you say anything?" I asked, wiping hot tears away.
"I did say plenty but couldn't get anything above a whisper for a while. I'm not 19 you know!"
He was perfectly alright with hardly a scratch. Kinley, however, was a bloody mess. The weapon laid a short distance from him, unused and free of blood.
"Anthony! You know martial arts??? Those moves...I could never imagine!!"
"Old habits die hard, what can I say," he laughed. "Years ago, on an expedition through China, I met one of those old masters who could probably kill you with a twitch of their eye. In exchange for helping him find the man responsible for murdering several of his students, he taught me three fatal moves: the black widow, the blue frog, and the red viper. I used the last one on him..." Anthony nodded at the lifeless body. "We got him, kiddo."
And so, my friends, when I wake up from dreams like this almost every night, in the style of Yosemite Bear upon seeing a double rainbow, I keep asking myself what does it mean, what does it mean??? If our minds are capable of bringing cyber beings to life, give them personalities that seem perfectly genuine and consistent with their pictures and text, it makes me wonder what else we can pull out of our hats.
UPDATE: Today, out of curiousity, I did some reading on the New York Public Library because of my dream and was stunned to discover the plan to butcher it with internet cafes, yikes!!! I had absolutely no freakin idea this was happening and only took an interest after this dream. Am I supposed to save it from the villain behind that evil plan?
Anyhoot, tune in later this week for the sequel...yes, I have continuations of previous dreams, I'm a freak I know!! :)