Popularity Contest

  • I am in a large, old house with a large group of 20-somethings. Turns out to be just like a cheesey 90s horror flick like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer.

  • Lying in my bed, there's a strange shelf built into the wall. The shadows of venetian blinds stripe the wall. A voice says, "the hardest part is remembering." I wake up and a few seconds later a 5.3 earthquake hits my house. I think intently, trying to recall the dream I just woke up from. I succeed and go back to sleep.

  • It's bright daytime and I'm walking through an abandoned ghetto. Train tracks are on my left and an enormous concrete parking garage looms on my right. Across the tracks, an old shack stands, covered with a palimpsest of serpentine graffiti. A train lumbers past, covered the same way. I meet an old man, huddled beneath the parking garage. We trade a toothpick for a piece of candy. He says we should each start a business. I'll be his supplier; he'll be mine. We will swap possessions back and forth in the semblance of some kind of economy. At least it would be more alive than this one.

  • I'm on the roof of a skyscraper, next in line for a freefall ride that drops you from here to the ground floor. I assume the brakes activate before then. The lady ahead of me is strapped in by the attendant then drops through the floor. I don't remember anything else.

  • In the restaurant of an old hotel. There are so many high school kids here. As I'm walking through the parking lot with my girlfriend, a man takes her hand for a moment as he walks towards his car. He then lets go and walks off. I confront him about what he just did. His explanation: "she looks just like my roommate, the perfect woman." Inside I rediscover the disgusting social ethics of teenagers. There is a very clearly defined group of popular kids and the rejects. I seek out to expose the whole mess. I put my pants on upside down and walk around claiming that I'm cool and starting a new style. Of course, I get rejected by the cool crowd.

    Eventually everyone is outside, in-group on one side, out-group on the other. I walk towards the in-group: "who here has ever felt like they didn't fit in? Step across the line." Some kids hesitantly step across. "Who has ever felt like they had to change themselves to be accepted?" More kids cross. This goes on until it's down to four guys, the core instigators of prejudice against the un-cool. I notice they're all dressed almost exactly alike (khaki shorts and tshirts with pictures of green plants). One of them is class president. I ask him, "how did you get to be class president if you make 90% of the school feel inferior?" His answer: "I lie! I pretend to be someone else." "So even the most popular guy in school doesn't think highly enough of himself to be who he really is." Dream ends.