I dream urban. Maybe now that I've been living in the country for a few years, the real country not the suburbs, I'll start dreaming rural. But I doubt it. Even when my dreams take me to the bucolic Indiana University campus, I'm inside the big tall building where most of my classes were held and I'm dealing with the pesky elevators.
For my urban dreams involve getting lost, either horizontally on public transportation or vertically on elevators. In some of the dreams I take hotel elevators. In others, I'm in a department store.
Were I a novelist I'd find a nice trope here. The cosmos as department store. For indeed, in the dreams there's only the department store and nothing else. And isn't a big department store stocked with everything human life needs? Harrod's of London and Macy's of New York even sell food. But that is the supermarket dream, another genre that involves finding fresh leeks. This is the department store dream. Besides, I'm not a novelist. Just a chronicler of silly dreams.
The dreams spring from a childhood in a city where department stores were, to the child, a marvel. Escalators. Elevators. Doors that opened to different experiences, colors, aromas (in the perfume department), inventions like a screen placed over the one of a black and white TV set that was miraculously supposed to turn it to color (even a child could see that was a pretty shabby miracle), kitchen gadgets that were presented in theatrical demonstrations. And clothes.
In my store dreams I'm not a child anymore but an adult, or at least a college student, looking for the right gear. The intoxicating pleasure of rich textures and hues. But, like most dreams the store dream is an engine of frustration. There's a place, I just know, where I will find that pleasure. But where is it? It's not where I last saw it. Where did it go? Ah, I know. I must traverse some of the labyrinthine aisles and cross a ramp, perhaps climb narrow stairs to find this wondrous fountain of fabrics tailored into items I'd wear. Except all the clothes I find are cheap and tacky; the good stuff must be here somewhere. Or I end up in a store section where what they sell is parakeets.
Like the cosmos, department stores, particularly dream ones, are a joke.