The Dream: I'm in a foreign land. A Chinese woman is in charge: she's the dictator. A group of us sit in an informal semicircle on the ground in front of her. I see that others are expected to show ID cards in the shape of credit cards when she calls on them. They are dispatched according to her wishes. When my turn comes I have my identity card in my hand. I'm ready. I feel proud of myself for this preparedness. When she sees from my card that I'm an American I'm dealt with lightly. She suggests a couple of museums I “should” see.
I have a large bag. I open it and see the two raincoats I had bought earlier for a very good price, this being China. The coats come out, and so does a brown liquid. One of the coats was supposed to be the traditional raincoat tan, and the other, brown. The attempt to dye one brown has not been successful, but neither has it damaged either coat. “What,” I wonder, “am I supposed to do with two identical coats?” I decide to give one to Barbara. It occurs to me that Barbara might not want one of these, she can be very particular at times. Then what? I'm not sure. I go I search of the museums the authority recommended, but there are so many that I don't think I'll be able to locate these particular two. I would like to see them.
Interpretation: Dreams are usually triggered by something from the day or two before the dream, and it's sometimes helpful to figure out what. In this dream, the search for the museums was sparked by a television news segment on Burma that showed very large, deserted public buildings. Getting a pass for being an American echoed a story I'd heard the night before from a Jeopardy contestant who was traveling in a foreign country when he missed the last train of the day and the waiting room closed. He resorted to sleeping in the hallway. A cop came along and said, “Oh, I thought you were a bum; but I see you're an American.”
For its own reasons, the dream generator put these things together. Why? An inner authority figure (the Chinese dictator) who knows who I am (she's seen my ID card) tells me to look at some old stuff (go to some museums). My protective gear (raincoats) is not what I expected, and I find I have more than I need. It protects me from water signaling that it's there to shield me from emotion--tears, grief. My inner artist (Barbara) is likely to spurn this protection, and that makes me uneasy. I haven't yet brought to consciousness the particular old stuff I'm meant to see—unless it my dawning realization of how many people were good to me, and how irretrievably lost to me they are.