Preface: Yeah, I'm making a blog post about a dream I had last night, and that's a little silly.
I rented some videos (tapes!) at a store near Owen's house, and I needed to take them back, but I couldn't remember how to get back to his house. So I was trying phone numbers at random hoping I'd get either him or the video store, and I kept calling the police by accident and I had to hang up before they traced my location. Finally, I was in this warehouse on a computer looking up the address, and Owen walked into the warehouse heading to a bookstore inside. He was with this dude who was installing a new door here at DF yesterday (no idea why). And I was like, "Hey! I need directions to that video store!" And Owen just rolled his eyes, like he knew I'd been having all this trouble with this simple thing, which would have been easy if I'd just remembered where he lived.
So here's the hopefully-more-interesting part: It took place in a specific location, and I've had other dreams in this same setting.
There are two cities connected by a complex array of highways. The two cities are physically separated by something huge and impassable -- a river, or a giant wall, or something similar. There are lots of one-way on- and off-ramps. The signs are unclear, and there are plenty of roads that radiate outward, away from both cities. Those are the navigation worst-cases, because once you're on one of those outbound roads, you're on it for good. (I don't know why that is; it's dream logic.)
The dreams set in this location are always about navigation and confusion. There are hundreds of potential on- and off-ramps, and there's only one correct sequence. Sometimes I've made the trip before and I'm trying to remember the path; other times I'm going some place I've never been before and I'm trying to navigate on the fly using signs.
The important properties of this setting as you move it into metaphor-space:
*You can't get from one city to the other on foot, on the ground -- you can't brute-force the problem of travel by simply walking the distance. The only way to travel between them is in a car, on the highways.
*You can almost always see your destination. You can see one city from the other; if you could fly, you'd be set. Thus, you get the essential frustration of seeing your goal and being unable to easily reach it.
*Highways are one-way, and there's a minimum speed. This imposes time pressure. You can't stop at signs or off-ramps to evaluate the situation.
*There's a cold indifference to this world; you're part of a system that's running because it must, and the world can't afford to let you hold it up.
All that said, in last night's dream, I actually broke the rules. I found a place to pull off, a small patch of earth along the side of a looping skyway. There was an old man asleep in his car there, and just enough room for me to stop and figure things out. That's when I located the warehouse which would eventually provide the solution to my problem.
That seems to happen often in my dreams -- I'm following a certain set of rules for the bulk of the dream, only to realize near the end that I'd been needlessly constraining myself, and that the rules were intended for someone else, or that they were never intended to be taken as seriously as I'd been taking them.