Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Grateful dead

Lost in recurring sad night dreams: Wandering around this flat university town..

It is good to have a context to my horrible recurring night dreams, particularly those re-run dreams that evolve with slight alterations, due to my attempts for Lucid Dream editing.

I spent about 8 years in a flat university town, on and off on two visits, for “continuing education” purposes.

The first trip lasted 2 years and was great in many aspects of novelty, adventure, surprises, experiences, aches, joy, frustration… and youth. The USA was open to foreign students and the universities were facilitated their living and enrollment. The Iranian students were the most engaged and active, demanding the fall of the Shah regime…

Six years later, my second trip extended beyond my expectation for another 6 years of total boredom, helplessness, poverty, closed horizon, and getting much older than my classmates and acquaintances…

In both visits I had a return ticket that I never used. My visa was good for 5 years, but I never could afford to return and visit my folks during the civil war…

During my second extended stay, the USA was closing down its welcoming doors and most research grants were funded by the military: Even permanent residents were turned down on account of top secret research.  Laws relevant to health and safety in the workplace were relaxed, ignored and numbers of inspectors cut down. A period covering Reagan and Bush Sr.

Actually, my decision to leave for another stint had no sense. Except this feeling of closed horizons in Lebanon: The civil war was on, but the year I left witnessed a long reprieve and my family could not comprehend my decision.

A month after I settled in the university town, the civil war broke up again, much violent and haphazard than previously. And my parents lived for 6 months in the basement.

As in the first rip, I didn’t apply or tried to connect and plan anything:  I had to be in the place and take it from there. I could offer the excuse that the postal services and phone connections were not functioning in Lebanon, but I am the type who abhor planning in advance for critical decisions, except the most futile and irrelevant decisions.

I wrote about my experiences in my auto-biography, and this post is about my recurring harassing dreams.

The harassing part of these scenarios is that the various versions insist on blending the worst depressing and melancholic of events in both trips.  My Lucid efforts to mix in a few refreshing stories are frequently overruled.

And the tackiest of all is that each version is shot as if I am back on a third, a fourth trip. And to do what?

Like I didn’t finish my dissertation and I’m trying to get rid of this burden once for all. It is not the kind of dissertations that if you read some more in the literature you can reach a closure. No, you have just a couple of short articles on the topic and the authors have admitted that they don’t know of a solution. And it is a mathematical problem for someone who is no mathematician, about optimizing stochastic demands for production. Don’t expect me to expound on these terms: I am in no mood for these craps.

I admit that I was not pleased with either my master’s thesis or my PhD dissertation and I feel that I didn’t get a closure academically.

Or like I am invited to give a lecture and I overstayed for a few nights, roaming these square blocks on the north side of the campus, and trying to discover anything new that replaced the older images. The post office is no longer for receiving hard copies and the friendly coffee shops were replaced by multinational franchises…

Or I’m biking at night going home and cannot recollect which apartment I’m living in: I moved so many times in all kinds of sleeping arrangements that I’m totally disoriented. And I’m thinking hard of any “friend” to visit in order to get my memory at ease…

Or I’m wandering in this flat town and realizing that I have no cash, no checks and no credit cards. If I had a credit card I cannot remember the password: It has been so long that I lately used any of these financial facilities.  And the only bank in town is not at a walking or even a biking distance. In the next version, I should open a branch of the bank on these stupid blocks.

There used to be “specialized” bars for singers and fans of Grateful Dead or Bob Marley… and I don’t see them in my dreams. Even the nude bar of Walter Mitty never appears in these dreams… And I know that my dream brain is pretty artistic and inventive, and I wish my dream brain would insert a few scenes of these bars and enjoy fully what I didn’t in real life.

One of the versions made me walk a few hills and noticed historical sites, in this totally flat town with no history at all. This flat university town gets a few colors at the start of the Fall season as students flocks from the southern States and the beginning of the football season. The stadium is packed with the university red and white colors and I had to submit to the boring and unimaginative US fiesta-types: All boozing and shouting and screaming and cursing and nothing to show for in tradition and culture.

A flat university town that empties at Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. The whole town is mine and nothing that matter: Nowhere to investigate, climb, get lost in a forest… Except a nasty wind whirling a few leaves in a desolate moonish landscape…

It was my mistake never to find out how this university was established. I conjecture that it might have been a military barrack for further expansion of the US territory down south, or maybe a concentration camp for native Indians…

The native Indians claim that tornadoes never hit this flat town, on account that it is bordered by small rivers? While Dell City, 20 miles north and bordering Oklahoma City, is frequently devastated by tornadoes.

Another recurring dream is being overwhelmed with baggage. I never travel with more than two suitcases: When I move to another apartment or town, I leave everything in place and give away almost everything, even if I have a single dollar… And yet, my dreams want me to be going back and forth gathering all kinds of belonging and getting pretty much nervous, and I have to wake up.

There is another university in the middle of nowhere. This center of education was meant to teach agricultural disciplines: It currently graduate students in all fields except agriculture…

My last week in this flat town was the most boring and melancholic in my life. The students had vacated the premises and I was wandering endlessly around the empty blocks, this desert of dried up soul, blocked spirit, not a penny in my pocket to open up any lousy opportunity in my diminished imagination… Taking stock of my stupid situation: Where from there?

No relatives or close friends to call on, regroup, celebrate, share…

And I had to go on and survive.

You may read “The Tunnel” chapter in my auto-biography category

Something about the period after my PhD in the USA


In the wilderness


After I earned my PhD in 1991, I loitered for another 10 years throughout the USA, not working in my field or in any teaching jobs: I was disheartened and frustrated and refused to think about any plans for the future. 

It must have been a case of acute depression not recognized by me, and no one to count on for friendship. I just survived and I still didn’t tend efficiently to all these scars.

All in all, I lived and studied and worked in the USA for 20 years and returned definitely to Lebanon without even applying to a residence status though I enjoyed continuous work permits for many years.


After my formal graduation in May 1991 with a PhD in industrial engineering (in the field of Human Factors) I was almost totally broke and the university town of Norman in summer-time was completely boring and I suffocated in this “hole” after over six years and barely leaving it.  The University was closed for part of the summer and I had no idea how to spend my time in this town that swallowed the best of my adulthood.

There was just this corner on the north side of campus with a few bars and Walter Mitty, the nude institution; I used occasionally to go there with Boubkeur during happy hours, between 1 to 5 p.m. and order a pitcher of draft beer at the hottest period of the day and when the girls were not asked to get frantic with their boobs and buttocks.  

In one of the few bars, a clone singer of Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia used to play almost every night; this singer and guitarist was a carbon copy of late Garcia in appearance, attire, and style.  There was this coffee shop that served all kinds of Starbucks varieties and we would meet there most of the time and patronize it anywhere it transferred shops around corners. 

I met there Suzanne in Starbucks; she was a tall, beautiful girl with long blonde hair.  Suzanne was the girlfriend in the last two months of a Lebanese PhD graduate in structural engineering from the University of Stillwater.  At my graduation and her graduation in Law, Suzanne invited me to her adoptive parents’ home; her friends took several pictures in my graduation gown.

I had bought my advisor’s old car three months ago; then the cold weather did not help.  The car needed tires and I preferred to give it away to my landlord instead of sinking in dear money on a car that I had no confidence in its proper functioning, even in the near term. Kirby, my landlord, could not believe my giving away a car and made me sign a paper to that effect, maybe for tax purposes.

This landlord was a good man, straight and kind to me; I paid around $100 for the whole ground flat. Kirby refurbished the upper floor to accommodate two apartments that rented $200 per month each.

Kirby married Rebecca; a half blooded American Indian, who was my previous landlord from whom I rented a room in the upper floor. Kirby was in the business of purchasing properties on foreclosures and then repaired them with his own hands.  

I recall a Christmas Eve when my flat got flooded and the electricity went out and Kirby came and repaired what was needed and then brought the vacuum cleaner the next day to suck out the moisture and dry the shaggy carpet. 

I spent a terrible cold night, alone amid the smell of humidity.




April 2023

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