October 25, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on October 24, 2018

On October 25, 1975 I was (temporarily) back in Victoria, and staying at my parents’ apartment on Fort Street. It was 75ºF that day. At the time, I made a note of it, commenting on how insanely summery it was. Today, October 25, 2017, I look out on the first truly wet day we’ve had in a while. It poured and even thundered all night, and the morning is so dark I have my desk lamp on, without which I’d hardly be able to make out the page. It was wondrously Mediterranean (dry, sunny) that 1975 October in Victoria: the kind of dry heat and clear sky you rarely see here, on the East Coast.

I had a long (it seemed long) dream about traveling through a newly built urban neighborhood filled with seemingly identical red brick-faced towers about ninety stories high, but thin, like supertalls. Everywhere, giant cranes were putting in place circular, raw cement stairwells or staircases, attached to each tower on one of its sides. The streets were strangely empty (it was a dream), yet simultaneously choked with construction activity.

The red brick thing is funny. Not “haha” funny, but odd-funny. I once wrote a piece about my childhood house in I., which was made of red brick. It was a dark time.

In the dream I was with W. and both kids. It was a bit like our visit together to Manhattan, when we stayed in the building on Union Square once occupied by Andy Warhol. The circular stairwells, in raw (“brut“) concrete, contrasted nicely with the brick, also appealing in terms of contrast was that they were round while the towers were rectangular. But stairs in 90-story-plus buildings? I don’t recall elevator shafts, but come to think on it, the buildings did have them.

We entered one of the buildings – not sure how that came about – and found an apartment door ajar. It was in an odd state of still being under construction, but also already furnished. Who knows why, we decided to crash there for a night or so, after which I went exploring, climbing up its spiral staircase. Yes, the apartments within the rectangular towers replicated the circular concrete stairwells on the exterior with interior spiral staircases – each apartment had at least two if not three levels. There, on the upper level, I found a youngish man (in his thirties?) sleeping: he was the real occupant. I felt panic rise – what if he wakes and sees us for the home invaders we are?

I crept back down to wake W.; A. and E. were floating in and out of the dream at this point. We agreed that it was too-too odd that this apartment should be occupied, given it was still so clearly under construction. But we began to pack up (absurdly, including also three packages of specialty tea W. had bought). Then the occupant found us, and we had to explain our presence in his flat. It was all pretty amicable, but there was also a typical oneiric sense of menace and uncertainty.

Suddenly at this point, E. reappeared, complaining that she couldn’t get online, connect to WiFi. I felt that her demands heightened the vague sense of threat. I woke up.

The towers were everywhere in my dream; and frankly they were oppressive. I hope it’s not a message that I would take my sad childhood brick house with me, even to a “big city,” or that I need to get connectivity sorted first. The youngish occupant, living in the shambles of his construction dust-covered apartment, tried and succeeded in getting us connected (oh, and he had a dog, I just remembered), but it was still a shambles of an apartment, and the whole area, blocks and identical blocks of it as far as one could see (not much, given the built density), was a construction zone.

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