A dream in which an alien machine wrecks our historic buildings

Last night I had an odd dream that I actually remember fairly well.

I was in downtown Vancouver, within view of Burrard Inlet. The sky was a bright, clear blue and the way people were dressed suggested it was summer.

To my left was one of the historical buildings that one finds along the harbour–think the Waterfront Station building–though in this case the building more closely resembled the Hudson’s Bay building which is not, in fact, located on the harbour. It was a dream building, then, but close enough to reality to serve its purpose.

Directly ahead of me, in the inlet, was what appeared to be a giant oil derrick, except it had been modified or created with a different purpose. Atop it was a fully articulated arm, the end of which was tipped with a very large spike. For scale, I’d say the spike itself was probably 20 feet long. Not the kind of spike you’d want to be caught under. This spike was almost casually reaching over and chipping away at the historic building reminiscent of the Hudson’s Bay store. From where I stood I couldn’t see the actual damage the spike might be doing, but somehow I knew that it shouldn’t have been doing this, but also couldn’t be stopped, because the platform was an alien construction and we puny humans had no control over it.

After some time passed there was a tremendous heaving sound from the building and I looked over in time to see an impressively large chunk of it–multiple stories–come loose, and topple into the inlet. Moments after, the spike managed to needle its way into a more modern structure and what appeared to be an entire skyscraper suddenly appeared in the sky, somehow pulled loose from its foundation, and which was now making its way directly down toward the people gathered.

I began to run to the east to avoid being squashed, but my mom–who was apparently there the entire time–had a better read on the building’s trajectory and told me to stop. I stopped and the building crashed into the harbour. We then conferred briefly and I suggested we walk to my place to see what the fallout of all this might be. Most people were similarly clearing out of the area, not in a panic, but in a “better safe than sorry” kind of way. The direction we headed suggested I was still living on East 19th Avenue, which would put the timeframe of the dream somewhere between 2001 and 2011, but it felt earlier than that, like I was still in my late 20s or maybe early 30s.

The dream ended there, so I’m not sure what our building-mashing alien overlords had in mind next, but the thing that lingered with me later was how strangely banal the whole thing was. An alien construct appeared or arrived in Burrard Inlet, it started poking away at nearby buildings, and all we could do was shrug and wait to see what happened. So we did.

Which is quite possibly the way something like this might actually unfold, if we were clearly powerless to stop it.

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