There’s a parallel San Francisco that I go to in my dreams. It’s full of unfamiliar streets, buildings, shops, but I know it’s San Francisco. It has the same beauty and mystery that has always attracted me to the city, but it’s unfamiliar, constantly shifting, unknowable.
Mostly unknowable. Because, see, it’s the same city. A ramshackle three-story Victorian that is the setting for one dream may come back days, months, years later, in the background of another dream, as I walk past, lost. There’s one curve of road, with a strange new metro line on it, that I walk over and over as I try to find my way around this city. (I’m pretty much always lost in my dreams.)
I’m slowly mapping it, I think. I’m slowly starting to connect pieces of this city, that looks like a love child of Hitchcock and Fritz Lang, even though the pieces move around of their own volition with alarming frequency.
How do I know it’s San Francisco, if no landmarks are the same? The same way you know anything in dreams – you just KNOW. But more than that, I know it from the way I react to it. I have the same feelings that I have towards the real city.
It awes me, and confuses me. It’s strange, ever-changing, unknowable, and it certainly doesn’t feel like Home, not when you look at it on a macro level – it’s someplace you have to fight your way through in order to find your way Home. And despite of all that, I love it more than I reasonably should.