Friday, May 26, 2006

architectural dreams

I'm not sure why, but whenever I remember a dream of mine, it's invariably situated within a very interestingly-designed space. Perhaps I've missed my calling as a designer of buildings, but I'd much rather be an architect of film than of corporate headquarters. Unless, of course, it could be the headquarters for a supervillain. Talk about artistic license!

So, anyway, here's what I dreamt last night:

I'd heard word around town that one simply had to visit Magic _____. I'm still not sure what "_____" was—Castle? Mountain? Village? Chalet? Overpriced Theme Park? Point is, it's a tourist destination wherein one is dropped off in these very picturesque hills, finds the sprawling estate of said Magic _____ for themselves, far away from the rest of civilization, and by virtue of discovering the various secret passages honeycombed throughout the vast area, one ends up tumbling back along various slides/pneumatic tubes to the original ticket area, which (conveniently enough) is behind the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood.

Yes, you read that right: tickets to this place were only available at the Hotel Cafe, which looked the same as its real self from the outside, but step inside and HOLY COW it looks exactly like a barely-refurbished 1950's-era mental institution! It was all plaster and linoleum and turquoise doors and robin's-egg-blue walls, but the fluorescent fixtures were replaced with halogen lighting, which clearly communicated "Hey—we're being ironically kitschy, as evidenced by the dated, institutional quality of the place as seen under terrific lighting!"

So, the ticket counter (which is where the Hotel Cafe's counter normally is) is also a concession stand. Since it's typical to be stuck at Magic _____ for a long time until you find a passage which will bring you back, they strongly recommend bringing provisions. I notice that they have a "blubber sandwich" on sale, which actually looks like a delicious Moroccan tomato paste on pumpernickel.

"Hey," I ask the ticket guy after buying my ticket, "that's not really blubber, is it?"

He looks at me like I'm nuts, the whole line erupts into laughter behind me, he tells me that I am an idiot, that OF COURSE it's blubber, gee whiz; I shrug my shoulders and buy it. Silly people laughing at me. ME! Hmph.

So. I step out back to the van which awaits us tourists, and I realize I am no longer in Hollywood. No sirree, I have stepped out into WALES. Saw that coming, didn't you? Anyway, the gorgeously verdant hills are unmistakeable. We wind our way through the countryside, and (as part of the adventure) it's up to each rider to decide when to get off, since the van driver isn't allowed to tell us precisely where Magic _____ even is. I get off first, everyone looks at me like I'm nuts, and I spend a day and a half wandering through the countryside, NEVER FINDING THE MAGIC _____. What a waste! The sandwich lasted me the whole time, which was impressive, but I was still peeved when I landed back at the Hotel Cafe. While I was grumbling at the staff, who are impressed that I made it back without any secret passageway help whatsoever, I recognized my friends Matt and Isa (hi, guys!).

So, Matt, true to form, teases me mercilessly for missing Magic _____ completely ("Wow, whatta dumbass," are his exact words, "but we love you anyway"), and then we agree to investigate Magic _____ together, the Hotel Cafe staff grudgingly letting me try all over again. This time, Matt and Isa (being old pros at this) guide me unerringly to the Magic _____. We meander about, oohing and aahing at the very House-of-Usher-meets-La-Dolce-Vita aspects to the estate, and then do some serious investigating, trying to avoid the many kids running around screaming and galumphing about the courtyards and corridors, ripping down the ivy and so forth. I walk into a sumptuous, decaying bathroom straight out of The Shining, and step into the shower stall, Matt and Isa right behind.

"Hey, guys," I say, "do you think this could be a secret passagewaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" as the bathtub falls away beneath me and WHOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHHHHHH I find myself sliding at an ungodly number of miles per hour down a very zigzaggy tunnel, wide enough for one person, and it's very much like a typical water tunnel at a water-themed amusement park, only there's no water, and it's pitch black, and I'm convinced I'm about to die, when WHAM I spill out into a fountain in a main courtyard, tourists applauding me as I make my splashy appearance, and I see the back of the Hotel Cafe right in front of me.

I later ask people how long it usually takes to find one's way out of Magic _____, and the answer is "about two days," so I didn't feel so bad about making it back within a day and a half, my first time around. It was a lot of fun, and great to hang out with Matt and Isa, but there was a lot to be said, too, for wandering about on my own through the picturesque Welsh hills—just myself, the pretty clouds, the mild sun, a full moon, and a Moroccan tomato paste sandwich on pumpernickel to keep me company.