Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Dream journal: Sixteen

This is the sixteenth in a series of posts chronicling dreams I have had. As usual, the date shown is the date the dream was captured. This is always the morning after the night the dream took place. You can’t wait very long before capturing a dream because it soon disappears from memory.

31 December

Dreamt I was negotiating the way from and to a prison. There were train lines and busy roads to cross in a car (on the way out) and on foot (on the way back). Driving on the way out, to where I knew not (but away from the institution), I had to negotiate a road where many cars were moving. I advised the local council on how to make the thoroughfare more suitable for traffic. They would have to, I said, erect barriers on the pavement to prevent people crossing the carriageway on foot. But this idea didn’t win much support, and neither did a suggestion to put up footbridges to let shoppers cross from one side of the street to the other without stopping vehicular traffic.

So I suggested a tunnel for cars. The road I had driven along on my way to my destination – I didn’t know where I was going, just that I had to get there – meant taking a number of right-hand turns across the traffic flow (driving on the let-hand side of the road, as we do in Australia). If someone built a tunnel, I said, then the average trip time for people coming from one part of the city to another would be cut “by 15 minutes”. Cars wouldn’t have to negotiate a congested shopping street where hundreds of pedestrians had to be accommodated as well as hundreds of cars. This idea won praise and I was told that they would show it to the mayor.

Grade separation was a major concern of city planners and commercial developers in the 1960s and 70s due to an increase in the use of private vehicles for transport, and I had written about it when I was doing a series of blogposts on Brutalism (in real life). This idea must have influenced my night-time thinking in order to appear in my dream.

On the way back to the institution, I was walking along a path that cut across several train tracks. Trains kept coming and there were automated signals that told people when to walk and when it was not safe to do so. Sometimes I disobeyed a signal and crossed the tracks anyway and, on one occasion at least, a train had to stop for me. It did this in the way a car stops: just by braking and stopping. Which was, I thought upon waking, unreal as trains are very hard to stop, but this solution of my sleeping mind avoided an outcome where I would be killed.

On one occasion at least, the people I was with told me to stop walking and to wait, before continuing, until a train – some of them were yellow and some, the ones coming from a side-line, were white – passed by. On another occasion, to let me go on my way, a white train had to stop at an intersection where two sets of tracks merged.

There were rivers to cross on bridges. Some of the crossings weren’t on matching grades, so you might need to step over a balustrade to get from a bridge to a path, while the water, which was high because of rain, swirled beneath our feet.

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