Dream diary: The apartment complex and the unexpected transit system

May 30, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 30, 2020

This morning I dreamed that I lived in an apartment complex. I had a nice place on the fifth floor of one of the buildings.

One morning, in this dream, I felt restless, or perhaps I had an errand to run, so I took the elevator downstairs. I wandered around the lobby for a bit. It was a well-appointed but (I thought) not stuffy place with large rooms and public lounges, all with high ceilings. I found a small group of 20-something people doing something loudly — playing video games, or maybe some kind of physical game. I was a little annoyed but decided not to say anything.

I decided to go back to my apartment, so I made my way to the elevators. There I found a family — say, two adults and two or three kids — who seemed to be coming back from the pool or maybe a beach. I waited for a few minutes, wishing I was back in my place.

When an elevator finally came, the family piled into the car and I trailed them. But I found myself baffled by the control panel. Had I accidentally gotten into an express elevator? I couldn’t figure out how to access a floor lower than 17.

The family seemed familiar with the control system, but I didn’t want to lose face by asking for help. I didn’t get out of the car for the same reason. I figured that I’d wait until they reached their floor and then I’d ride back down to the lobby and get into an appropriate elevator car. I considered pressing a button to pretend I’d meant to get into the express, but I didn’t know which floor the family was going to, which meant I couldn’t select a destination higher than theirs. I decided not to press anything at all.

But when the car began moving, it became obvious that it wasn’t an express elevator after all. For one thing, we were moving horizontally, on the ground. The enclosure had windows, and as I looked out of them, baffled, I realized that I’d boarded part of a transit system linking the different buildings of the apartment complex.

I wasn’t happy, but like before, I figured that I’d be able to ride the system back to my building and then get an elevator to the fifth floor.

But when what I thought had been an elevator car came to a stop, there was no option to stay where I was and ride directly back to my building. Nor could I stay in the car and ride it in a circuit around the complex that would eventually return to the building from which I’d started my accidental journey. I would have to find another way back.

I found myself in a surprisingly large transit hub. I ended up boarding a vehicle, apparently a large bus of some sort.

But once again I was foiled in my desire to return to my apartment building. When the vehicle set out, it didn’t travel around the complex. Instead, we started trekking the length of the city.

It was a large coastal metropolis in a warm climate, reminiscent of Miami and Miami Beach. My apartment complex was at the north end of the city, and we’d be going many miles before there was any chance of turning around.

The route went along the water on a heavily trafficked road. We passed skyscrapers. It was a bright sunny day.

At one point on the return journey, the road became a low bridge crossing some sort of channel. I was looking to the east, out to the ocean. I noticed that the water was incredibly turbulent, with growing swells that threatened to swamp the bridge. Looking out to sea, I saw that a mass of dark clouds appeared to be sweeping in toward the city. I pointed this out to other people on the bus.

When got to the far end of the channel, we saw what initially appeared to be an off-white modernist house on the shore. Waves were washing over it. The people on the bus gasped in dismay and excitement. When we looked again, we saw that the building wasn’t a house on the shore but some kind of industrial structure on a barge that was rocking with the violent waves. That seemed less exciting, for some reason.

And then the road we were on lifted up into the sky, which here was sunny again. The threat had abated — at least to those of us on the bus, at least for the moment.

And that’s where the dream ended, as far as I can remember.

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