Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dream Log: Knocking Around In Los Angeles

At the beginning of the dream Philip Seymour Hoffman and an actress and I were working on a scene in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. But soon the Paul Thomas Anderson movie had vanished and we were just three people at night somewhere in greater Los Angeles in a place that looked like it might have been a private college. Lots of ivy. I had gone from an actor in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie to being homeless.

Hoffmann had a car, and he said, "-- well. I'm outta here. Unless somebody needs a ride? I'm going downtown." The actress and I both took him up on the offer of a ride. I hid the fact that I was homeless, implying that I lived downtown. I figured it might be easier to hustle up some means of surviving downtown than out here in the boonies. As we drove off Hoffmann asked me where I lived downtown. I don't know LA very well and I couldn't think of a name of a street downtown, so I made one up: I said, "Grand Bridge Street."

"Never heard of it," Hoffmann said.

"Few have," I replied. "It's a short street about 6 blocks from the Bonaventure, just a couple of blocks long."

"Near the Bonaventure. So you live in a high-rise?"

"Actually, no. Grand Bridge Street" -- I almost forgot the street name I had made up -- "is surrounded by high-rises, but it's all very old buildings. The building I live in is condos now, but I think it was a hotel originally. I'm judging by the size of the lobby."

"Was it possibly a townhouse to begin with? Single family?"

"I've wondered that myself. I don't think so. I think a townhouse would've had higher ceilings."

I had been thinking about how Hoffmann's character in The Talented Mr Ripley, convinced -- accurately -- that Ripley was some sort of imposter, had sadistically questioned Ripley, played by Matt Damon, as to just who he was and what he was up to. But now it occurred to me that the real Hoffmann seemed quite nice and not suspicious of me. Also it occurred to me that Ripley was covering up crimes like murder and fraud, while I was covering up homelessness, which at the present time is actually not a crime in every part of the US. In my waking life I have at times -- some times when I was homeless and some not -- pretended I belonged somewhere when I didn't. Not in order to commit what most people would consider crimes, but, for example, in order to use a bathroom when I was homeless because I didn't want to urinate or defecate in the street. Maybe it's a professional area where everyone in the place is supposed to be wearing an ID card at all times and I don't have a card.

I wonder what they thought of me. Maybe some of them noticed, consciously or subconsciously, my lack of an appropriately-displayed ID.

Maybe some of them quite rightly surmised that I was a homeless person who would rather not relieve himself outdoors, and had no problem with that. Maybe some were concerned about my well-being, for no other reason than that I was a human being who might be having problems, and were ready with helpful advice and even more, if the opportunity arose to help. There are such people. Unfortunately, in most places there is not an ID system in place to distinguish them from the ones who would like to have homeless people arrested, for trespassing, or for any other reason or excuse which might present itself.

When I was homeless I spent a good deal of my energy and thought trying not to appear homeless: by washing and brushing my teeth as often as possible; by wearing clothes which were as clean as possible -- and also, in some cases, by not telling the people with whom I socialized that I was homeless. I was very anxious to avoid awkwardness. I honestly don't know, in retrospect, if greater openness about my homeless status would have helped me, hurt me, or had little effect on my well-being.

When I go into a place without an ID where everyone is supposed to have ID's, I act as if I belong there, as if I run the place. The theory here is that people will notice my bearing, and so have little attention left over to notice the lack of an ID, or figure I was a big shot who didn't want to be bothered right now about his ID because he had important things to do.

I also don't do disruptive things like peeing all over the restroom floor or raiding a refrigerator -- things which might cause ID's to be examined more closely.

This seemed to work in the dream when we stopped before we got downtown so that I could go into a place I didn't belong in order to take a pee: Someone saw me. I heard him start to approach me to ask me who I was and what I was doing, and then stop when I ignored him instead of looking up nervously. I heard him stop, and then turn and go away, as if he was thinking, Well, I guess he belongs here.

Repeatedly, I was in the men's room in that place -- seemed to be a station in the electric grid -- and wanted very much to pee, but couldn't. Eventually I figured out that this meant that I needed to wake up and go pee.

After I got back to sleep I was in downtown LA the next day, on a sunny morning, and it seemed I was no longer homeless, but running a very successful one-man business making head shots and resumees for actors. In the course of that one morning my business grew so much that I had to expand, hire more photographers and rent a bigger office. Then someone offered me seven figures to buy the whole business, and I gladly sold out, because, although it was far from the worst work in the world, it was not really what I wanted to do. Homeless to 7 figures net worth in less than 12 hours in LaLa Land.

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