Wet Mall World Dream
Lolita as a metaphor for the ocean in The Plastic Age
Literary critics say it’s boring to read other people’s dreams, but I don’t feel this way at all. Meaningful work sometimes arises from dreams, and I recommend everyone write down their best dreams and their worst nightmares. Many famous books, songs, movies, and paintings sprouted from dreams. Salvador Dali, David Lynch, and Paul McCartney are all known to have created from dreams.
So, indulge me for a moment in a strange dream; then I invite you to share a dream with me.
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But first, a note on the origin of this dream: RRT.
I recently did an incredible process called Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) with a brilliant RRT MindMechanic in Fort Lauderdale who had studied directly under the inventor of the practice, Jon Connelly, founder of the Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence. I’m usually skeptical of these types of things—trademarked therapies—but this came highly recommended by another doctor I trust and consider very intelligent.
RRT is a combination of transformational language, neuro-linguistic programming therapy, storytelling, hypnosis, sensory inputs, metaphors, and symbols. I did this treatment because I had some lingering trauma, especially from my time living in Cameroon. Though the incidents occurred 10 years ago, I was still testing positive for PTSD when given the industry-standard test for the disorder.
The powerful RRT practitioner helped me defrag my brain. Miraculously, after only three hours of treatment, my PTSD symptoms didn’t just improve, they vanished. The intrusive thoughts, constant rumination, frequent crying, and hypervigilance disappeared. My spirits cleared. I was astounded. It also seems to have cured my insomnia, which I didn’t even realize was related to my PTSD. I’m so grateful to the doctor who told me about this treatment.
I’ll write in more depth about the RRT experience in the future when I’m 100% sure the effects are lasting, but if you’re experiencing PTSD symptoms and need the info sooner, feel free to reach out. The whole treatment was around $500, far cheaper and faster than any traditional talk therapy I’ve done. It was as beneficial and profound as my most healing ayahuasca ceremony, and possibly more effective.
Anyway, after this RRT experience, that night I had a vivid, lucid dream, the kind where you know you’re dreaming and can take mental notes.
I’d like to share it with you because I could see it as a meta novel. I also think Lolita, featured in the dream, could be a metaphor for our relationship with the ocean.
Here we go… take a deep breath… maybe hold your nose…
Wet Mall World
I enter the Wet Mall, a cream and Venetian superstructure with massive skylights, ornate pillars, designer window displays, soft jazz, and cool, turquoise waters, a refuge from America’s oppressive, modern heat. Wearing a black sleeveless fitted wetdress, I submerge to the breastline and float amongst the other shoppers, passing colorful, waterproof stores and staged scenes. Men in water-resistant suits pass me on the steps, maybe on their lunch breaks, and children and their mothers splash by, one whining for ice cream. But these aren’t regular people, because we are on the set of a movie. It’s a new adaptation of Lolita, set in a post-climate change future, a hot capitalistic Waterworld of sorts, but a beautiful one, not the brown frescos of Kevin Costner, but a Las Vegas version with slick materials, chemically treated indoor canals, radiant sapphire wading pools, and talking Jet skis.
We are shooting an early cut for the film’s trailer. Instead of Lolita, the boy’s name is Lucio, an equally evocative, unusual name. The cast is all there, moving through the lazy river of the massive retail mecca. They must dye the waters to get them this blue, I think.
The young man playing Lucio is an unknown; it’s his debut film, but he looks admittedly like a cross between Harry Potter and Timothée Chalamet. His youthful appearance is disturbing given the plot of the film. In this adaptation, the boy and his mother encounter a businessman in the mall’s waters, an aquatic diddler, and thus the classic tale of innocence lost, of betrayal, shame, and pedophilia begins.
The mother, Charlotte Haze, is played by the flute-playing band camp girl from American Pie, Alyson Hannigan, and Matthew Broderick plays the villain, Humbert.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Clare Quilty, the male shadow figure to Humbert, the openly deviant, criminal child pornographer in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel.
In the mall’s crisp swimming pool interior, Hoffman is the character I’m watching the most because I realize he’s already dead, but that doesn’t matter anymore, because these days, Hollywood can easily bring people back. He looks so real in his black designer suit, like a hedge fund manager, clean-shaven. He basically is real. They’ve made him thinner too, taller, more muscular, more handsome, given him a more chiseled jaw—I mean why not? This is the movies. Only the set isn’t fake. This is a real wet mall. We are in the future already and it’s too scorching to be outside. Every building must be designed to cool, otherwise, it might melt.
I move closer behind Hoffman, AKA Clare Quilty. We bob together in this Disney reality of watertight consumerism. He turns to me and says, “Do you think we’re in a slow-motion reverse timelapse of the entire history of evolution? And in hundreds of years, humans will have gills and webbed feet? Raccoons will be saltwater beavers and eventually, we’ll migrate to the darkest, coldest depths of the sea, develop scales, birth snakes, turn to worms, sea sponges, then single-celled things?”
I’ve never thought about it before, but he has a point. “Will the cycle then start all over again?” I ask. “And what about all the plastic? What is its reverse timeline?”
“No, the sun will explode and boil us all to smithereens.” He tilts his blond head back and laughs at full volume, great booms, raucous mirth.
The assistant director yells, “Quiet on the set.”
I gaze up at the giant skylights, towering many stories above us, revealing a spectacular, bright blue, scalding sky, a hue deeper than the color of the chlorinated, temperature-controlled water we stroll through. I imagine all the plastic melting and leaking chemicals and destroying everything. I wonder if he’s right about the sun and evolution, and I wonder why we keep making the movie Lolita, now called Lucio; why do we keep retelling this fucked up 100-year-old novel in all these different ways? What does it mean? Why are we humans like this?
Then I wake up from my dream.
The Plastic Age
I’m sure this dream partly arose because I’ve been thinking more about rising sea levels and climate change and about plastic. Living in South Florida during the hottest year on record, you can’t really avoid these thoughts. Instead of The Bronze Age or the Iron Age, we are in The Plastic Age. Now we become Plastic, destroyer of oceans… Now we become Chemical…
Also, I recently watched Painkillers on Netflix, in which Matthew Broderick plays big daddy Sackler, the villain of the opioid crisis, though I hadn’t watched it at the time of this dream. Highly recommend the series, regardless. It involves us becoming chemicals, too, and much of it takes place very near where I grew up in rural western Virginia. I had to cover my eyes multiple times.
That’s all for now.
What did this story bring up for you? Would you watch this Wet Mall World movie? Not the movie Lucio, but the movie about people in the future making the movie Lucio.
I invite you to share the gist of a recent, cinematic dream.
Are you interested in learning more about RRT? Should I write more about this or interview a practitioner?
Read my essay on The Age of Imagination.