Lost in Hospitality Land

When I have nightmares, they’re not really terrifying nightmares, they are simply passing strange. And always, always, they take place in some kind of hotel. It’s never clear why I’m at the hotel, for what event, but the same thing happens: I need to go down to the lobby for something I need and I put my key in my pocket. But after I obtain whatever it is, I forget what floor my room is on. I forget what number it is. I ride up in the elevator but my key fob has no markings on it. There are various kinds of mayhem taking place on each of the floors where I stop the elevator to look around – hoping that I’ll see something familiar, because there is always a family member of mine back in that room, if I could only figure out what room it is. On one floor, there is what seems to be some kind of fraternity swim party, young guys and women running up and down in bathing suits and yelling to each other. On another floor, there is some sort of convention of very sober people – actuaries or undertakers – all wearing fashionably tailored clothing. Now, Sigmund Freud’s receptionist could tell you that a dream about being lost in a hotel is an anxiety dream: Not only are you already presumably far from home, you can’t even find where you should be in the place you’re staying temporarily. Experts interpret these circumstances to suggest you feel on some elemental level that you don’t fit in or “belong.” In these dreams, I always go back downstairs to the concierge and ask for help locating my reservation – but of course, no one’s ever heard of me. Then I just go into the lobby and sit there, sad and lonely. In the most interesting scenario, a recent one, I watched a chef driving a large herd of pigs and goats down the hallway. I asked the chef if the hotel had its own butcher and she told me that one was not necessary because these creatures were only meant to feed the tigers.

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