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Sunday, Aug. 07, 2005 - 2:51 p.m.

I had a dream that I was rowing to Israel with a group of Jewish tourist-birdwatcher types. The thing is, Israel was south of the United States, sort of on the same continent. There was one long, narrow river running through North, Central, and upper South America, then through parts of the Middle East. I never got to quite figure out the geography, though, because somewhere around Columbia (the country), I realized I'd made a very bad mistake. I was not Jewish. I'd been kicking ass at the rowing part (sort of paddling, actually -- we had these flattened rowboat-canoes). I was the only one tough enough to row my own boat. But I wasn't part of the whole thing -- I'd just sort of accidentally come along because it looked fun. The other people were part of some official Jewish tour group.

So I stopped in Columbia and had a long, difficult conversation with a mustachioed Columbian man who owned a fishery/oil refinery/seaweed collection business on the river. I realized I had no ID, no money -- no way to prove who I was and no way to get back home. The river was too fast for me to row upstream. It would have been illegal, too -- I'd seen no border checkpoints on my way down, but I knew it wouldn't be that easy going back up through all those countries. I thought maybe I could hire someone with a motorboat to get me home, but I had no way to pay someone for the service.

While hanging around trying to figure out what to do, I remembered that I'd seen signs of someone living under a rock overhang a little further back up the river. I went back and found her, and it turned out she had the same problem as me: no ID, no money, stuck in Columbia. We were remarkably similar, except she had big 70s tinted glasses and hair like if Farrah Fawcett had been an anthropologist. We began plotting together how we would get home.

That's when I woke up. As soon as I did, I realized we would have to go to the US Embassy in Bogota. They would be able to establish our identities, help us wire home for some money, and get us on an airplane. I spent at least a full minute smiling to myself at having figured out what to do. Then I realized all I really had to do today was some laundry and bill-paying. I was pretty disappointed.

So, you look up Jewish birdwatchers in your dream interpretation dictionary, and I will find out what meaning Freud assigned to South American riverfront industry. We'll get me figured right out.

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