Thursday, March 15, 2007

This Is America..Dreams And An Update

No This Ain’t A Part Of Bombed Out Iraq.. This Is America

When I take the train on my commute in to Baltimore what you see in the picture above is what I see. Everyday this serves as a reminder to me about our mistaken priorities as a nation. While we squander lives and money in a war against a nation that never attacked us, we have entire neighborhoods like the ones you see in this picture being overrun by drugs, guns and other vices and just abandoned.

Credit for the picture goes to Scott on whose blog I found this and other pictures. His post deals with slightly different issues (the poor state of our infrastructure, especially railroads). Any of you interested should visit his blog to see how truly devastating what we see everyday is. I am not numb to this, but a lot of us live in neighborhoods where you can live a lifetime without being aware that there is another America out there.
How in the world do we justify this while we call ourselves the greatest nation on earth?

Falling Down..

Some evenings when I am tired I get in to what I call a pre sleep sleep. It usually know that this will happen because the patterns are so darn similar every time. Here is what happens. I fall in to this light sleep and I start to dream. I am usually on a sidewalk about to step on to a street, or am going down a flight of stairs, or on a bridge, or in a high place like a mountain overlooking a steep valley.

And you can probably guess what happens next. I step off and fall. I then wake up with a start as if someone just hit me with a jolt of electricity. *A* noticed it once too.

I normally don’t think about this at all, but it happened on the train yesterday when I left work. I almost always power nap on the train for about 20 -30 mins. This time I had a dream that I stepped off a sidewalk and fell and like always woke up with a slight start. I wondered if the lady sitting next to me realized what had happened? Oh, I did sleep again, but this time someone else woke me up.

I have no clue what all this means, if any of you want to take a shot at interpreting this, go ahead.
Just for the record I don’t have any particular reason to worry about falling down nor do I have a fear of heights.

Update: Some of you take part in the Friday word. As per Mona the word this week is "Dance".


Mr. J said...

Yo!! That pic.. hmm, mistaken priorities. Right on.

About the pre sleep sleep. I get them too. I assume it happens when you exert yourself too much, Physically or mentally.

But that apart, gotta admit it's one cool feeling ;)

Shitrint said...

oh the dream thingie...falling off a cliff or a mountain. it happens to me too. and i know of a frend who has gone thru the same thing. dont worry its quite normal. there's even a term for it, tho i cant quite remember wat it is...
take care!

Aditi said...

have u read "there are no children here" ? its based on the chicago projects and of course my univ was quite close to the projects so i saw this part of life quite often..ppl often say that u will never encounter beggars or ppl living on the streets in america.. i used to tell them to go near hyde park in chicago (one of my first jobs) Atleast u showed houses sanjay, there are so many homeless ppl out there and in winter not enough shelters to give them shelter for the night, not enough places giving out food. There is a whole another america underneath the glossy finish however, like always ppl dont really choose to see it.

I have heard falling dreams are quite common but for some wierd reason never actually had one myself.. plane crash yea but no fall.. (go figures not only do i fall i take a plane full of ppl with me) But I have heard it said that a falling dream occurs in early sleep always so that explains that pattern..but dunno y

Mona Buonanotte said...

That photo could have been taken in Detroit, or any number of cities in Michigan where the poverty is 'hidden', except from where you see it on the train. Our priorities are screwed up. Yep.

I don't have the falling-off-a-curb dreams so much as I have the naked-in-public dreams. But usually when I'm naked, I'm the only one who cares. What does that mean?

Sanjay said...

Hey Mr.J. Long time no see? Maybe it has to do with being tired as you say.

@Shitrint. Me not worried, just that it had never happened during the day time so far so wondered.

@Aditi. No I have not, but I hear what you are saying regarding the homeless. Out of sight out of mind?
As for the dream it does appear to be common.

@Mona. I agree not sure when ppl will wake up to this?
And I won't even try to interpret your dreams. I can't even understand mine. :)

Lucia said...

I can't believe I forgot. Many years ago, I taught in Chicago...what used to be called "the inner city." The school was in this kind of neighborhood. Gangs. Drugs. Parents not around. And then I moved away, and I just realized, I forgot. I forgot about what things are like there. I can't believe I forgot. Thanks for reminding me.

MONA said...

Sanjay...I can interpret dreams to some extent...& yours represent the insecurity about the ups and downs of life.Climbing or going down stairs means going through ups and downs of Life...falling off is the insecurity about something, financial, even emotional.

Diana said...

Wouldn't it be amazing to have an army of people sweep in and save all those amazing decrepit old buildings and use them to provide decent low-income housing? I'm struck by the complete absense of any visible humanity and the bright play ground equipment and the backyards with the abandoned toys. This could be such a nice, family-filled neighborhood. Bet it's only take a week's worth of what we are spending in Iraq to save the whole area. Maybe less.

Call me a soft-headed libbie.

Lotus Reads said...

hi, Sanjay

Perhaps it's ignorance, or perhaps it's because I grew up in another part of the world, but until Katrina and all those vivid pictures of the neighborhoods and people, I didn't even realize that the US had this side to it - it was such an eye-opener.

I used to have this falling down dream a lot, but haven't had one for many years now. Another dream I used to have a lot, and which a lot of other people share, too, is one in which I am being chased by an unknown person and I run and run and just as he or she catches up with me, I wake up! :)

Sanjay said...

@Mona.. Thank you for your interpretation.

@Diana..You are not a soft headed libbie. I mean there is nothing partisan about wanting the not well off in our country have access to the things, that a lot of us take for granted.

Sanjay said...

@Lotus. The US does have an ugly underbelly, as a lot of societies do. But that it should be so in the US (the big kid on the block) is frankly very galling.

I am glad you don't have those dreams anymore. :) I usually cannot even recall mine except for this one, whichever way one interprets it.

Thank you for your comments. :)

Asha said...

This is nothing Sanjay!!We were driving to San Antonio last June and visited New Orleans on the way!It was like a burial ground!!We had been there before 2 yrs before Katrina,loved it even though it still looked like third world with lot of poor ppl.This time it was shocking.A parking lot full of cars one upon other and empty dusty neighborhood!!It was sad and scary,but downtown was like as usual!Pubs,stores with T-shirts saying 'Katrina is a B...." and a "W...."!!!It was weird ppl blaming nature for their predicament!

Your dream is normal I think.We do get those kinds when we are stressed subconsciously.I always get nightmares losing Tushar and wake up with chest pains!

meno said...

My husband came back from NY last week and showed me a picture eerily similar to the one you have posted from there. Sad.

I get that pre-sleep jerk thing too. I don't even think i am falling, just walking or moving somehow.

david santos said...

Hello, Sanjay!
This work is very good, thank you
have nice day

Sanjay said...

@Asha, I know what you mean. A bunch of us over at the political blog I hang out at, pitched in to send a fellow blogger to New Orleans to see for ourselves (thru her eyes) how things were there.

Like you said it was truly shocking.
I remember you mentioning about your dreams re Tushar.

@Meno. Scenes like these can be found in a lot of American cities I think.
Interesting that you get the pre sleep jerk too.

@David.. Thank you.

Carrie said...

We always forget about America. I asked Adam last night why people like Madonna dnd Angelina adopt children from other countries and we have so many children here in homes.

I used to do that when I was a kid and occasionally now. Someone once told me why and if I remember, I'll let you know.

patches said...

Your words about America's priorities mirror my thoughts perfectly. We fail to take care of our own.

I often have the pre-sleep jerk, but without the dream. Unfortunately after the jerk, I have a really difficult time falling asleep

priya said...

America has poor people too and many surprise hearing that. Wonder why?

Falling off hmm when you go back home its natural to doze off and its a relief to close all your work and go to your dreams in those few minutes.

Orchid said...

Vow! is all I can say...although I kind of new this after Katrina.

I kinda know the presleep sleep which is usually U's excuse for not helping around after getting back form work but I dunno if he gets those dreams too and if it is pathological in anyway :)

Intern said...

About the sleep thing, it happens to me too!!!
I think it's a common thing, because I've heard about it on TV as well ... although i dont recall what it means, now you mentioned I wanna find out!

Shionge said...

First, Thank you Sanjay for the lovely birthday greetings :) I truly appreciate that.

About your 'falling down'...I think yu are just tire is good to power nap like I always do, simple pleasures remember? :)

Thank you too for sharing Scott's photo. I do agree that there is alot of gaps in America and having visited different cities in America, I can clearly see the 'gaps'.

Appreciate you for sharing Sanjay...have a nice weekend and have a good rest dear pal :)

Sai said...

Hey Sanjay:
As a grad student I interned with the City of Detroit and those photos reminded me of that. This is the phenomenon of all rust belt cities in the United States. In graduate school we had also done a economic development study of rust belt city Baltimore and compared it with Portland Oregon.

There are a lot of initiaves to "rejuvenate" all the cities. There are a lot of political issues as well.

About abandoned railroads there are initiatives in New Jersey to have recreational trails around it etc etc. STuff is happening here. There are a lot of Brownfield initiaves to restore old industrial sites and redevelopment projects.

For cities like Detroit the incentives are required to attract people to move back in to the City and make it a viable and thriving environment.

Sorry for this long rant.

About the dream, I get the same recurring dream like you. I dream falling off from the roof of a highrise.

Beach Bum said...

Sadly, such a similar site as you haev at the top of your post can also be found in both Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.
Visiting the old houses of Savannah on one trip the tour guide told us that the residents pay heavy money on security since the rich white old money of Savannah are at times be just across the street from the poorer sections of town. Someone in the tour group volunteered that at times renovation projects try to help the poorer sections only to have new rich people come in buy a few house that eventually drive up taxes on those of lesser means forcing them out.

Donviti said...

i have the same view on my way to work in Chester. I pass over a dozen vacant homes.

they just opened a casino in the city too.


deepsat said...

i guess the govt is least hell bothered abt such things!!

take care!!

TommyWonk said...

I've seen this many times on the train running south through Baltimore and north through Chester. It's sad to see how we waste people and land so thoughtlessly.

Anali said...

I've done the pre-sleep fall thing too. I have no idea what it means. Maybe the falling is the point where we're getting ready to go from light sleep to deep sleep and our brains are adjusting??

Nabeel said...

hmmm .. for the heading "Falling Down" have you seen the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down? It's not about sleep deprivation but more about social frustrations