Before I even woke up, my brain registered trouble. My dream shifted from a simple mistaken identity drama to something more surreal when the audio gave way to a soundtrack of unfamiliar music. Literally everything in the dream stopped so I could give full attention to these squeaks and beeps and unnatural flourishes. Then the dream ended, but before I could open my eyes and realize where I had been sleeping, I knew I was far from home: Awake but shut-eyed, I could still hear that music. It got into my dream. It was really happening. And it was the noise of birds we don't have in California.
It's been a long time since I've been far enough away from home that the birds sang a different song. I'd forgotten how strange it is to wake up and know that you're in the wrong place even before you figure out exactly where you are. I hadn't even realized that Los Angeles has birds that sing loud enough to overpower the noise of traffic, but they do. I suppose I missed them, just for a second.