Wednesday, July 22, 2009

hobo code

Last night I dreamed that my husband and I were at an apartment building* in a small town in Arkansas. I don't know why we were there, but I had gone in by myself to see the inside. It was a relatively small building, with one entrance, and the apartments opened into a common hallway, like a hotel or a dorm. It was, in fact, very dormlike--a lot of the apartment doors were open, and I could see that the layout was really one large room with four or so bunk beds and lots of young and youngish people hanging out. The vibe was extremely redneck, and everyone seemed to know each other. Several people were talking about going swimming, and a few guys with mullets and very 80s clothing came out whooping and hollering and left to go swimming. All this freaked me out a little, so I left before anyone noticed me.

Then we went into another building that was attached to the apartment building. This was also an apartment building, although it had a different feeling. It seemed like a bank or some other soulless corporate building that had been converted into studio apartments. We went into the apartment of a young guy who left just after we got there. We were waiting for something, I'm not sure what, and just hung around looking at all the things in his apartment. I was impressed with the variety of decorations--lots of things from various parts of the world, indicating that he had done a lot of traveling. There were quite a few candid photos of people, and some of them seemed familiar. I was frustrated because I couldn't remember who they were, or even whether I had actually known this guy at some point in the past.

There were people coming in and out of the apartment, and at one point a very small Asian-looking girl came in and started doing something with a black string- or bamboo-like material. She seemed to be knotting it very quickly into something, then she started waving it around quicker and quicker and at the same time slipped it around my husband's neck. After a few seconds of extremely rapid flourishes, she stepped back and we could all see an extremely elaborate knotted lei-type necklace hanging around his neck. Everyone was very impressed, and it was evident that she wanted some reimbursement for this performance art (she removed the necklace, which I thought was too bad, but understandable as it was part of her "act"). She indicated that she wanted $2.47 for the performance, which I thought was less than it merited. People quickly gave her quite a bit more than that, and I was rooting around in my wallet to find $5 or so to contribute. Every time I found a bill that looked right, though, I discovered that it was a foreign bill--there were weird European currencies and a lot of odd-sized bills from Latin American countries. I realized that we had recently been travelling and I berated myself for not getting my wallet organized. In the end I couldn't give her anything, having rejected the idea of giving her some random foreign bills as possibly kind of insulting. She left quickly anyway, with a small family who looked very much like the stereotype of an indigenous Latin American family: a group of very small people with shawls and assorted small children and a humble demeanor.

After that, I think the owner of the apartment showed up briefly with his girlfriend, there was a demonstration of the new Camaro, which turned out to look very much like a spaceship, covered with buttons and gauges inside (you had to enter through a hatch in the roof); and then he and his girfriend left again. At some point a very dirty homeless guy showed up, and we weren't quite sure what to do with him. It was somehow decided that he would spend the night there, although I had some misgivings about it and about what should be done about him. I looked out the window and saw that a "hobo code" had been put on the parking lot outside. It was an x and an arrow scratched into the asphalt and then highlighted with that landscaping spray paint**. Seeing that it had been put there so quickly made me nervous because it meant that other "hobos" were hanging around outside and watching.

After that I looked around and noticed, then pointed out, that the plan was probably not workable. There were only two double beds in the room, and apparently my husband and I had been planning to stay there, which meant that the apartment owner would have to share his bed with the hobo, which he probably wouldn't want to do. I tried to point this out in an inoffensive way.

I don't really remember anything else. The whole dream had a weird feeling of confusion and a slight vague dread.

*The apartment was based on an actual apartment complex where Curly Sue lived for a while and where I visited her. It didn't bear any actual physical resemblance, but it was quite clear in my mind in the dream that it was the place where she had lived. I thought, "ah-ha! Now I can see why she didn't like it here."
**The landscaping spray paint is because I used some the other day to mark some trees we were treating at our house.

1 comment:

Curly Sue said...

I was already laughing when I got to the part about my old apartment complex. Yikes...that place was scary.

At least this one wasn't group trip-themed.