I often dream about trains. It’s odd, since I don’t really think about them at all when I’m not on one. But there they are – often. Dream trains. I can dream quite lucidly, and can fend off bad outcomes pretty adroitly. It’s a thing I nurtured as a child, to stop the terrible nightmares. But when there are trains, it tends to mean I don’t have my hand on the tiller so much. The train is my brain telling me it’s going to dump. Last time I got shot in a dream it was running away from a train. By Germans, of all things. War stories.
I was trying to get to Ladywell last night, and I was avoiding one of my ex girlfriends in the process. She was hunting me. So far, so Freud. London, it seems, has a very busy functioning ghost train network. They run on the same tracks as the normal trains, and normal trains can’t drive through ghost trains so they have to sit there. They are the reason for all the unexpected delays in London. There must be shitloads on Southern Rail tracks. In my dream I could see them all, those darn ghosts, blocking the way with their glowing ghosty steam locomotives, gossiping and ghost-farting while we all backed up behind them in a hurry. “Move along,” I asked one. “So you’re the one who can see us tonight then?” says the laconic guard, interrupting his conversation with a woman in a bonnet. “It won’t make us go any faster though, will it, mate? You’ll just have to wait.”
I ended up on a ghost Oriental Express heading – apparently – to Ladywell by way of Russia.
I don’t know why I’m sharing that with you. Other people’s dreams are almost always incomprehensible and unhelpful, as they are peculiar breakdowns of that individuals bullshit. Sure you can use them to contemplate the way our strange brains work. So the train metaphor for me, where my brain tells itself that it can’t stop the story by bringing in something that’s on tracks. That’s noticeable. As is the sexual draw of “Ladywell” and the fact that I was being actually hunted by my benign and happy ex – my brain telling me to stop running away, perhaps? The fact is, I ended up on that dream train to Russia purely as a diversion to avoid an old flame who was pursuing me. Maybe I’m still running from something?
I don’t use dating apps. At silent speed dating I only stood opposite people I didn’t find attractive. I tell myself it’s because I don’t really give a shit, but then this seeps into my dreams and I end up writing a blog breaking it down because there’s something shifting in this bachelor.
Meanwhile my friends are having their happiness directly affected by their relationship status. People in relationships and all they talk about is how difficult it is being in them. People out of them, hating themselves or blaming themselves or changing themselves in the hope that it will make them more desirable to some nebulous idea of a person they hope to meet. Oh stories, stories. You are so irresponsible. What were we selling that so many of the old stories talk of this true love ideal. We all have armpits. My job is to tell stories – I see the edges and the structure – but I still get sucked into the fantasy.
Well, hello introspection. At this point a bunch of friends came round my flat and we ended up having an impromptu party. That’s a good way to smash a man out of his thoughts. I am returning to this late at night, after everyone has gone or fallen asleep, and I am in my bed. No work tomorrow, which is a blessing and a curse. Just emails and a delivery of a new bed frame from Amazon. I cleared out more boxes of junk today and can see the end of the amazing junk box pile in my flat. But right now I’m going to bed glad of good friends and the fact that I can unwind so comprehensively in their company. Now I’m off to bed, irrespective of the word count, to find out how far into Russia that ghost train has got, and whether I can get the interchange back to Ladywell now I’ve shaken her…
I took no photos. It’s so late. Here is a random picture of a jar thing. Yes. Great. That’ll do. Night night. Or good morning… or whatever. I’m off to sleep.