PERMUTATION

Cropped header image is my own photo. (It’s just a phone camera snap from last year, nothing professional.)

I’ve been exhausted as ever lately. I’m busy as I said, but my workload hasn’t let up like I thought it would, and at this point, even typing with perfect grammar and capitalisation is taking a little bit of energy. At the start of last month, I went to a music and gaming festival in the USA, flying from England. I had no rest at all after flying home, of course, but enough about exhaustion.

Ever since then, nearly every single dream I’ve had has been about that festival, and I can count on one hand the dreams I’ve had that haven’t been about, and even then, those all came after a literal one month solid block of nothing but dreams about it and the various aspects of everything about the trip.

At first, it was about the festival itself. One dream I remember vividly is being underwhelmed by the festival’s small size, and talking about it to two men I encountered. We decided to group up and wander around for a little bit before asking an employee about where to get food; the employee told us that our question was a key, and by asking it, we would be given the location of the second part of the festival.

We took a half-hour bus journey to where we were told to go, and after showing our festival passes we were greeted in by the employee standing at the door. The inside was much more what I was expecting; dim blue lights illuminating a wide concourse, waves of people crossing hallways, conversation noise on par with the thumping bass from a sound system playing audio from whoever the main stage performers were at the time and the multicoloured neon lights of the arcade on the other side.

It also smelt fairly strongly of pizza; the bins were full of empty pizza boxes and most of the people gathered in the designated eating area were eating this pizza. We decided to get some for ourselves from what turned out to be the pizzeria next door; it tasted good but not great – good enough.

After around two hours of exploring the supposedly hidden part of this festival, we took the bus back to the initial building. It seemed even more disappointing now; conversations were scattered and the standard yellow lighting made it feel more like late after hours than peak hours of the festival. After a literal 10 minutes, we started to feel our rush wear off, and took a bus back to the lively half of the festival. I fell asleep on the bus and…that’s all I remember of that dream.

Another early dream I had was of touching down at a nearby airport (not the one I touched down at this year, but the one I did touch down at when I went last year.) I was staying at a hostel instead of a hotel for the week; however, the building was extremely spacious (on par with the space of an airport terminal floor), and there were several floors full of the barest essentials such as scattered showers, sinks and beds. I was directed to the very highest floor and given a bed next to the window. I was told that this was one of the best places in the hostel, and showed me the view; at that moment, a sunset view across the river and the city horizon. I no longer remember the festival part of that dream, but what I do remember is sadly looking outside the window at sunrise while packing my bags to fly home. Many of the other people in the hostel were also going to the same festival for the few days, and all across the building was an oppressive, downbeat feeling. They were sad to see me go, and I was sad to see them go. That’s all I remember of that.

The third dream I remember was The Way Home.

My memory is getting worse; I can only remember a few more now. In another, I was set up in a hotel with a beautiful riverside view yet again. I was only on the third floor (or fourth as they’d say over there) and the hotel staff were extremely courteous, not to mention that the food was good. The festival experience itself was close to my actual first day; it was serene as opposed to chaotic, and the clean and well-lit white marble floors helped me feel at ease. It was more like a calm convention day than a festival. Once again, the last thing I remember is packing my bags and gazing out the window across the riverside in the morning. It felt just as sad as the other one.

Eventually, the dreams started becoming about the travel aspect more than the festival aspect. Sometimes I’d have stress dreams about the shuttle arriving at the airport only for me to find I’d forgotten my passport, keys and luggage at the hotel without enough time to go back and get them without missing my flight. I had several dreams of this nature.

My dreams still stem from this festival, but recently they’ve been becoming more and more unrelated to the experience. I don’t have much to remember any more, but the recurring dreams aren’t anything out of the ordinary. I go to a convention, I’ll dream about conventions for a while, and likewise, I fly overseas for a holiday, I’ll dream about it, albeit a little bit longer.

I suppose I’ll just have to wait for life to return to normal.

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