Dream: The Static Cling Water Guitar

Dream 2003082, 6:30 AM:

I have been sent on an assignment with a band. We’re all sitting around on benches, it seems like we’re in back of a building, like we’re waiting to go in for a rehearsal. I’m supposed to play a special electric guitar, but when I pull it out of its case, I find that it looks nothing like a guitar; it’s more like one of the laptop/phone things that the UPS guys have that you sign on. The band leader doesn’t seem impressed; he was promised a guitar player, and he gets non-musician me without a guitar. There is a long piece of black tube-shaped plastic that is separate from the machine, and I attach it where it seems like it should go, into a slot down the side of the case, and plug it in on the bottom. It kind of reminds me of the plastic tubing that comes out of a pressure sprayer. Once it’s plugged in, I bend the tubing experimentally, and the machine makes a guitar note. I figure out that by bending the tubing to different degrees, it makes different notes. It seems like a very inefficient way to play it; it’s kind of like playing a musical sawblade.

I show this to the band leader, a middle-aged man who seems like he’s involved in the business part, not the musical end. I explain that I’ve figured out how to make notes; he seems skeptical. I tell him, “I’m highly talented, but not very skilled.” I feel like I could play this eventually, but it would take a lot of practice.

Then, I’m in a sort of cave-like space, with a bunch of people hanging out. It’s not dark or wild looking; it kind of reminds me of the University Underground where I went to school. I’ve got the guitar thing with me, only now it has changed; it looks like a bag, about newspaper-bag-sized, with another similar bag inside full of water. Now, it makes sound kind of like how you can “play” a balloon by squeaking it against a surface, except that the noises that come out are guitar tones. It makes the sound when the two bags rub against one another, the outer bag rubbing against the inside one full of water. The technique of playing it involves making tapping and stroking motions on the surface with my fingertips; it’s almost like playing a fat round little drum. I adjust it several times, increasing and reducing the amount of water inside, trying to tune it. There is someone here who tells me that he used to play one of those, but when he was doing it, they called it something different – I think a Water Harmonica. We talk for a while. I realize that the reason it doesn’t sound right, is that some water has gotten in between the two bags, and it’s interrupting the static cling that makes the tones. I pull the inner bag out and dry it off, and put it back in and it seems better. I still feel like I’m not ready to play this in a band, although it seems like by this point I have practiced a lot more and can actually pull a tune out of it.

3 replies
  1. admin
    admin says:

    Yes, school comes up a lot. It’s a powerful metaphor for me. I find myself in school situations all the way from elementary to college.

    This dream didn’t have so much of a school feel; it was more like being in a grown-up professional situation that I wasn’t really ready for. But the themes of having to study or practice, and learn a new skill, are reminiscent of school again.

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