This is a long one, so I hope you have a little time and patience. It’s really a series of dreams.
On the sidewalk in a small rough town, I walked by an open-fronted apartment — like a truncated alley — where a woman watched a big TV on a short couch, sitting alone. I made my way through fences and doors in the cold air to a spot in the back parking lot, under shelves or crates, where I found the thing I was seeking. But it turned out to be a mere financial instruction brochure and, in usual dream-like fashion, I couldn’t quite make out the words.
Nearby, maybe in the same connected set of squat buildings, like a dilapidated California mini-mall, I was staying in three girls’ apartment as a guest of none of them in particular. One girl went to her room, asking if I’d like a drink. Another girl, in the common room, lit a cigar. Eventually they seemed to want to go out for the evening, and I realized they felt obligated to bring me along. I felt like a bit of a burden.
I was at camp. It was probably the first day, and we were on mountain bikes. Others were timid, but I blasted ahead on my bike on the sandy trail and found that it turned along the face of a precipice and quickly became very narrow — so narrow that it would be too scary to walk on it, let alone cycle. And finally there was a corner with a rock wall jutting out such that it was clearly impassible. Just beyond that corner, I saw rodents with big front incisors, happily in their home in the rock ledge. I wondered how I would even turn around on this narrow path on this precipice, and I felt responsible for leading the others into this dangerous spot. But then there was an opening on the left, leading into what may be the structure for later parts of the dream.
I and my fellow travelers descended into a large warehouse-like exercise facility where teams worked out with olympic-like seriousness. I thought “I wonder how they ship pole-vaulting poles?” Then I had grabbed a pole and easily vaulted very high, near the ceiling. As I came down softly, I thought “I wonder if people are scared of this because they don’t realize how softly you land?”.
I was in a vast dormitory-like structure with no real hallways or rooms. It was a labyrinth-like series of openly connected rooms. The further I went towards the edge of the building, the more frequently I found myself in a private room. I was participating in a game — a sort of a scavenger hunt, announced by a girl over the ubiquitous PA system. The object was to find outdoor equipment, like a kayak, a surfboard, or a boat. I wandered, feeling a little sneaky, through dark-hued rooms. Some of them were clearly private, but I disturbed nobody. I came upon a light-colored small space where a girl relaxed. It was her room, and she had a pet — a large rodent, like a groundhog. The groundhog talked, and as I leaned close to try to understand, seeing its big front teeth, I hoped it wouldn’t decide to bite me. But its speech was very hard to understand — it didn’t say its R’s at all. I realized it couldn’t form those round sounds with its mouth. The girl laughed, apparently at what the groundhog was saying, and I realized she must have adapted to his speech patterns. A bit later I could understand him much better, and realized I must have adapted too.
The groundhog took up with me, and we went exploring further, up high in an incompletely built warehouse-like structure, all creaky beams and loose boards. The groundhog jumped from a beam to a ledge next to the wall, and I had to follow. I landed on the shaky boards. The nails holding them — big old copper-colored nails — were loose. It was a long drop down. We found a passageway — old stairs — downward. As we descended, the structure was more complete and stable. Halfway down there was a level with hallways and doors — apparently dwellings, like a rustic apartment building, with floors and doors of roughly hewn and unfinished wood. Proceeding further down the stairs, almost to the bottom, there was a left turn, but there was a gap in the steps. Hanging above was a mobile-like wood and rope structure that you had to grab and swing on to get around the corner and continue down the stairs.
Reaching the bottom floor, I came to a beautiful, notably architected open space, like a tawny old Modern-architecture lodge, with high wooden beams and interesting features. (The groundhog was now absent.) There were rich wooden bookshelves loaded with important books. One of the books was about Concept Two architecture. Maybe this lodge was an example of it. And then someone was asking if we’d heard of the recent news event — a cataclysmic problem like a collapse in a mall, and I asked, Was the problem the fault of the architecture? She replied “Oh no, the opposite. One of the features of Concept Two architecture is short cuts”. (Judging by her emphasis, this was a technical term). And then she immediately demonstrated: In front of us was a free-standing stairway-like structure — a series of platforms with steps connecting them and vertical panels surrounding the whole thing. The planks of the steps extended through the panels, forming little ledges up the outside, like a rock-climbing gym. She jumped up on these and with a few athletic wall-climbing moves had scaled the entire structure and bounded onto the top platform — a short cut, if you were physically able. So, I inferred, these short-cuts had somehow helped out in the teriible collapse.
In this high-ceilinged lodge, I could easily bound very high, floating along semi-weightless, as though the weightlessness was a designed feature of the place. I cavorted in the air over a large modern sofa. A couple was sitting on it. The woman was dark skinned, with Asian features, and maybe of native American descent. She had the sophisticated or comfortably familiar air of a long-time resident or member there. I felt welcome.