Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Hoodoo Guru

Every so often, I’ll use this blog as a means to share a strange dream I’ve had. When I hear most people recount their dreams, it’s usually a painful affair. By virtue of not making sense, dreams make for an unsatisfying story in which the problems presented are not solved but instead are tacked on one after another. The result is the narrative equivalent of a run-on sentence.

I’d like to think that some dreams — if explained correctly — are worth the time it takes to explain them. I’ve related quite a few here before, but I just realized today that I’ve never written about my most memorable dream.

So I will.

Picture a field. Iowa. Kansas. Whatever gets you there. It’s flat and cropless. It’s a plane, in the geometrical sense, stretching out to the horizon.

Somewhere in this area is a small farmhouse, isolated and without any nearby trees or houses. I am standing in the back porch — an enclosed area where you could imagine rocking chairs and old people and the like. However, the only other people on the porch are two girls, pretty and high school-aged. I should probably note that while I’m “there,” I’m not. The girls don’t seem to see me, so I’m some kind of ghost or floating observer to this little scene. In any case, a young man is standing at the door to this enclosed back porch construction and he’s angry.

Instinctively — or magically, if you will, in the way dreams imbue you with knowledge that you never learned but just have — I know that the young man goes to school with these girls. He’s unpopular for whatever reason, and the girls befriended him as a joke. He screams and yells and pounds on the frame of the door, but the girls laugh at him. For whatever reason, the joke is still funny.

Soon, however, the pounding gets louder and louder until I’m not looking at the girls anymore. I am looking at the angry young man. Despite my status as a floating narrator ghost, this rage scares me. And then I note that the girls have stopped laughing. They’re scared too. The banging continues and panic on the back porch escalates.

Suddenly, the entire scene falls silent. It’s as if someone hit a giant mute button and more than earlier it’s as if I’m watching this interaction in the same way I’d watch a movie. Then a hear a noise that I can only describe as the sound of a hundred men humming at the same time. One loud, resonant note, sung in perfect unison. I can hear it in my memory still, this noise I never actually heard. It gives me chills.

In the distance, I can see a figure bounding over the horizon. A speck growing larger with every Superman-style leap it takes as it nears the house. It’s a man, though he’s quite skinny and wrapped in cloth, like a mummy. Only his eyes are visible. My brain tells me this thing is called the “Hoodoo Guru,” and despite the goofiness of the name, the Hoodoo Guru is terrifying.

With tremendous force, the Hoodoo Guru eventually crashes onto the angry young man, and for a moment both are on the ground, below the view that the window in the back door provides. Then the wrapped man stands, and then the young man does too. They look at each other for a moment before the Hoodoo Guru taps him once on the head and his body falls into pieces — specifically six: head, arm, arm, torso, leg, leg. Not bloody pieces, mind you. Neat and tidy, like a human body was meant to disassemble. The Hoodoo Guru gathers the pieces in his arms and bounds away.

That’s the dream.

When I had this dream, I was a sophomore in college and living in an apartment in Isla Vista. I specifically dreamed this story at about five in the morning. Immediately afterwards, I was perfectly awake — not so much from the fact that the dream scared me but more than I had to use the bathroom very badly. I didn’t, however, and this is the truly weird part of the dream: I had the completely irrational fear that if I walked into the bathroom, I’d pass by the mirror and see someone else’s face instead of mine. Not the Hoodoo Guru’s necessarily, though that would have been unsettling, I’m sure. No, anybody’s face. Just not mine.

Despite the insisting of my bladder, I lied in bed and very calmly told myself that I’d just have to wait until the risk of mirror confusion had passed. Near eight-o-clock, I finally realized the illogic of this belief and peed like a normal person. Clearly, though, I was insane at the time. I mean that literally.

I don’t know why the dream affected me so profoundly or so strangely. I had another dream during the summer after my senior year that also had a dramatic effect, but that was different. (For the record, I recorded that dream in a post shortly thereafter.) Also of note: The Hoodoo Gurus are an Australian rock band whose track “What’s My Scene” I had downloaded probably six months before the dream. It’s a good track in the style of The Replacements or The Smithereens. Every time I hear the opening chords, though, I get a little shiver, only because of the associations my subconscious made with it.

All in all, I’ve never been able to make anything from it. I just thought I’d write about it.

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