Mao had his little red book. The World Bank has its little green book. Me? I have a little blue book that I keep on my desk beside my computer. It’s a dream dictionary. I dream a lot. I dream in vivid colour and in many languages, most of which I do not understand, but the pictures are great. My little blue book gets a lot of use. It’s part of my daily routine now, to check what I can remember of the previous night’s revelations while my laptop powers up and launches me into yet another workday. Last week is a case in point.
Sunday night, I dreamed I was in Ikea trying to find a photo frame that wasn’t made in China. I have tried not to buy anything made in China for the last three years and have mostly succeeded by buying very little at all. When I think of what might happen if a) China stopped producing for export or b) every person in China began consuming at western rates, I break out in a cold sweat. I wonder if we realise how dependant we have become. When I checked my little blue book on Monday morning, I read that I would reunite with an old friend if I dreamed of photographs. Not ten minutes later, I had a Skype call from a chap I lost touch with years ago. He was calling to invite me to collaborate on a screenplay about a poker game set in Hungary. (Did you know that Hungary is second only to Ireland when it comes to online poker? I didn’t.)
Monday night, I dreamed I was rolling dice on the craps table in Bezenye, in the new Euro Vegas casino. That’s the beauty of dreams – things get built on time and within budget. I consulted my LBB first thing on Tuesday morning and found that I could expect some short-term financial gain. Sometime later, my doorbell rang. It was the postman. He usually never calls, preferring to leave me notes and make me trek to the outer realms of District VIII to collect my parcels. But on Tuesday, he called to give me money – 9375 huf. I think it came from Elmű. [Note to W. Lower: You can get money back in Hungary!]
On Wednesday, I dreamed of a jaguar – the cat, not the car. We were sitting across a table, playing poker. I had a straight, in diamonds. When I checked my book on Thursday I discovered that I could expect to hear some gossip about myself AND that I would be wealthy (I was probably still flush from my win on Elmü the night before). Now, gossip doesn’t particularly bother me. As Oscar Wilde once said, the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. Later that morning, while sitting in my kitchen, tucking into my mid-morning, cigarette-replacing isler, I overheard my neighbours chatting on the balcony, wondering about my recent weight-gain. De huszi vagyok, nem terhes!
Odds on favourite
On Thursday night, I dreamed that I was strolling through a beautifully kept, landscaped park – I think it might have been Károlyi kert. I could practically smell the flowers. On Friday morning, after due consultation, I learned that I could expect a passionate romantic encounter. What a way to start my weekend! I was jazzed. I was going to a talk that evening and would be in the midst of 400 like-minded souls (well, like-minded inasmuch as they, too, had bought a ticket!). My odds were looking good!
All bets off
On Friday, I dreamed that I was listening in to a very public conversation where the Minister for the National Economy appeared to be reading from a 1990s business text book, underscoring the need for Hungary to adopt benchmarks, best practices, and centres of excellence if this country is to become the new Ireland of Central Europe, without, of course, the ensuing financial fall! (Was this a dream or a nightmare?) Astutely dodging the direct question of whether Hungary might consider raising the ante and adopting an indicator other than GDP to measure progress, he continued to hammer home the need for jobs, jobs, and more jobs. It was about quantity, not quality. If people have work, they will have money and ergo they will be happy. (Definitely a nightmare.) Such jobs would also ‘create valuable human beings to be analyzed’. Now, I’ve worked for money, for experience, out of boredom, but never once I have ever though that it would make me a better subject for analysis. I opened my eyes and he was still on stage in front of me. That night, I was too afraid to sleep.
First published in the Budapest Times Thursday, 26th May