Stairway to Snow Cones
The dream realm, which I sometimes refer to as The Marches, has produced some interesting storylines lately. Last night, I returned (Yes, returned.... do you ever go back to particular worlds, scenarios or lands in your nightly travels? 'Cause I do.) to some kind of a building with a staircase that went up probably nine or ten floors. The interesting thing about the staircase though, was that it had branches that went in different directions, dead ends, and switchbacks of a sort, so you never really knew, even if you traipsed up and down, exactly where you would end up.
Unlike most stairways - lonely, drafty, and used only as a last resort when the elevator's broken or calories grudgingly need to be burned - this stairway was packed with people. If you took a random sampling of hundreds of people at some kind of huge celebratory event, like a St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston, or Mardi Gras, and put them on this stairway, that's what it would be: mostly young hipster types, but a mix of older people, adventurers, travelers, costumed folk, musicians, and lots of others.
The thing was, this stairway was more or less a hangout, like a nightclub in a way. The point was to go up and down and around and up and down, sometimes getting caught in a corner and having to turn around and go down against the flow, and seeing who you'd be able to meet or talk to or poke fun at or brush against as you went. I was there alone, but for some reason wearing a jaunty $6.00 cowboy hat that I bought at K-Mart on a recent trip to the beach - somewhat like this, only brown and with colorful beads on the front:
So up and down I trudged, elegantly hatted, seeing all sorts of different people, getting trapped, and wandering up and down. Of course you got tired, but that was sort of the point - keep trudging through the protest of your aching quads, because there was something more to see and a new flight that you hadn't gone up or down yet.
When I went to this place before, I discovered that if you wandered long enough, and lucked into taking the right turns, you discovered an oasis in the form of a tiny snack bar, run by two bearded guys who appeared to be post-college but pre-thirty, which sold only cherry flavored snow cones in styrofoam cups. They weren't alcoholic, and there didn't seem to be any other flavor available.
On this trudge, I reached the stand, and went to pay for my much-needed cone. Digging in my wallet hurriedly, I accidentally gave the guy two $1.00 bills and two $5.00 bills to pay the $3.71 charge for four ounces of snowy cherry goodness (expensive! I know!) He laughed, flirted with me, and then did some sleight of hand to return the bills, but when he did, he gave back two $1.00 bills and two $20.00 bills, just to mess with me. Of course I laughed, returned them, paid, and went on my way back to the madness, and that was the end of the dream. I woke up with that feeling of enjoyment at interacting with people like that, and of being chosen as the person to be messed with out of all the hundreds of people.
Pleasant dreams like that are rare, but stick in your mind. If you opened a building like that and touted it as a nightclub, maybe making stop-off rooms so it wasn't just only a stairway, would it get off the ground? I wonder. And I copyright this nutty idea, so if you use it, I get a cut. And free snow cones.