About that dream I had a couple of days ago....
It was unusual in that most of the very few dreams I remember upon waking are recurring, or at least take place in settings familiar from earlier dreams, but this one partly took place in a location I have never seen before, in dreams or reality. It was also unusual because it featured an appearance by a celebrity. It was the actor Thomas Gibson, probably best know for the male lead in the television sitcom "Dharma and Greg," but whom I remember primarily from his role as the philandering bisexual husband in the mini-series "Tales of the City." He seems an obscure choice for my subconscious to select, but there he was.
As the dream began, I was walking a hillside path alone, proceeding downhill toward a dusty road which was partly screened from my view by stands of eucalyptus trees which rustled in the breeze and scented the warm air. When I reached the road, I began walking along what had become perfectly flat ground, without a hill in sight. I came to a crossroads where I saw two buildings -- one, an old gas station with two pumps of ancient type, and one of those pre-depression southern Californian hot dog stands shaped like a big hot dog bun with the ends of the wiener sticking out the ends. But instead of the open counter on the side which such places invariably featured, there was a doorway into a dark room.
I went inside, and the indoors was much larger than the outside, though still fairly compact, and featured decor of more recent vintage. It was a bar of the 1950's, with lots of red leather, dim lighting, and a vaguely Polynesian atmosphere. It was empty, except for myself and the bartender, a statuesque blonde woman of about thirty who bore some resemblance to Peggy Lee. I sat on one of four chrome and red leather bar stools and ordered beer. When the bartender brought it, she had turned into Thomas Gibson. He said something to me (I know that I have conversations in my dreams sometimes, but I almost never remember even a single word of them) and I replied, and then I glanced around the room, as I suddenly heard a piano playing, and thought the place too small to accommodate one.
The place had grown larger, and seemed to expand even as I watched, with alcoves full of tables and booths opening up on all sides, a pool table in one of them, and a separate bar wrapped around a piano at which a gray haired woman sat playing typical piano bar music. A few patrons had appeared, as well. The bar at which I was sitting had also grown longer, and had developed another section at right angle to it which vanished into another alcove. Suddenly, Thomas Gibson sat on the stool next to me, and the original female bartender reappeared and brought him a drink. I think he asked if I minded if he joined me, and I had the distinct impression that he was flirting, but I didn't know if it was with me or with the bartender.
We talked for a while (no memories of the words) and were getting along very well. I know that I didn't mention that I knew who he was, and he made no remarks that would indicate that he either expected me to know or did not. After a while, I felt the need to take a leak, and looked around to see if I could figure out where the men's room was located. Either he knew what I wanted, or we discussed it, because we were then walking through the room together and I had the understanding that he was showing me the way to the men's room.
We passed through a doorway which was decorated with an ornate gilded grille. In fact, as we walked, the place became ever more complex and ornate, taking on the decor of the lounges found in movie palaces of the 1920's. When we emerged from the short, dimly lit hallway beyond the doorway, we had entered a huge domed room, tiled all around, with high grilled clearstory windows through which shafts of light fell. The circular room and its apse-like alcoves were lined with more grilled doors, but these were dark and faintly gothic, or perhaps Saracen, in appearance. From beyond them came the sound of running water and the high pitched humming of water pipes, the sound echoing from the tile.
My dream-self then experienced a sense of deja-vu. (In fact, this room has appeared in many of my dreams in recent years, but my dream-self in this particular dream did not know that yet.) We crossed the large room, with Thomas Gibson in the lead, and he entered a small room that was not decorated at all, and the doorway to which was plain and square. There were urinals in the room, and he stood in front of one of them and began using it. At this point, my dream-self identified the source of the deja-vu as a dream he had had. (This has happened before in my dreams, and always as they near their end.) Suddenly, my dreaming self (as opposed to my dream-self) became aware that a dream was taking place, but the dream did not become fully lucid. Instead, I found myself standing behind my dream-self, with Thomas Gibson standing at the urinal beyond him. But the urinal had changed. It was now a long tiled wall and floor with drains along the base and spigots set into the wall which constantly sent out slow streams of water which had left the tile streaked with rusty stains. Thomas Gibson had changed, too. He was still standing there urinating, but he was entirely naked. As I (my dreaming self) watched, he leaned his head against the tile wall and began to alter shape, but I never saw what he became.
I recognized the setting as the men's room which once stood in Pasadena's Central Park, and I noticed the view of trees through the screened windows which ran along the top of the wall, and also noticed that the proportions of the room weren't quite right, and knew that I couldn't have gotten there through the room from which I had entered it, and became fully aware that I was dreaming, at which point the dream broke up like the shadows and echoes running along the roof of the great domed room which I now knew did not exist outside my dreams. I opened my eyes, and the window drapes in my room were bright with sunlight, and birds were chirping.
I have no intention of attempting any sort of interpretation of this dream (though anyone who enjoys that sort of thing is welcome to do so.) But I do suspect that I will be having it again sometime. Probably many times, in fact. I have gotten to where I can usually recognize a new dream which is likely to recur and evolve over a period of years. I also know that I might be leaving behind that great domed room which has been a feature of many of my dreams for the last few years. Oddly, in those dreams it was entered not through a doorway from a bar, but by way of an almost Escher-esque system of stairways leading up from the floor of a modern department store. Heh. I never did figure out what that was about. At any rate, I know that a largely new dream such as this indicates a coming shift in my dream world. It will be interesting to see where it goes.