Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dream A Little Dream...

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream."--Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

In the last week, I've

  • spent three days and two nights in Australia with a friend;
  • suddenly grown fifteen inches and found myself in the seventh game of an NBA playoff series;
  • found myself on a beach somewhere, being stung to death by dozens of jellyfish;
  • decided I wanted to become a tax accountant, got myself accredited, found a job and got myself immediately fired for showing up to work naked. Well, I was wearing a tie. It wasn't knotted in an appropriate place (I was told), but the knot was impeccable.
Dreams are weird.

Ever had a scorchingly hot quadruple-x-rated dream starring somebody you're actually repulsed by in real life? That's one of the world's little nonplussing experiences. If you're a guy, you wake up in a puddle of gelatinous horror, trying mightily to square residual sexual tinglies with acute shame and revulsion, (Those feelings don't square very well, not when the shame and revulsion are circular, like a vortex coming to swallow you whole, and never you mind how she did just  that in the dream. Wow. I mean, ugh.)

Except in cases of serious psychological disorder, all of us dream. But we tend to forget around ninety percent of our dream life: we're more likely to recall an individual dream if we wake in the middle of it.

Science is less sure about the concept of time in dreams. Current theory is that the brain is free to work at its own pace when it is not limited by waking consciousness, and that pace is fast, allowing the mind to create a vivid and rich dream which seems to last hours--or days--in only minutes or even seconds.

That Australian adventure was a real anomaly...I've only ever had one dream I can recall that involved me waking up, and until this week I've never done it twice in the same dream, to my knowledge. As strange as that dream's timeframe was, however, it followed a standard progression. I don't know about you, but the longer my dream goes, the more likely it's going to turn nightmarish. In this case we found ourselves stranded, 448 km from Sydney (a sign very helpfully informed us). Google tells me that could be Leeton or Wagga Wagga, and let me tell you that I'm kind of afraid to go searching images in case I recognize something. In the dream, I was frantically trying to find a way to call home, to let Eva know where I was and try to explain--somehow--that although I was with another woman, I hadn't run away from her and by the way, I'm supposed to work tonight, could you call them and tell them I'm Down Under the weather or something? Except I had no money and just the clothes I was wearing (clothes I don't actually own) and...damnit, that dream was odd.

The NBA dream. I'm not a big basketball fan. I watched a little of the Raptors-Nets series because, hey, hometown team making good, maybe. (Or maybe not; they lost by a single point in game seven, because Toronto is cursed like that.) Anyway, evidently my mind was busily storing up footage for me to play back and insert myself into later. And it took some inserting. I knew my suddenly 6'10" self belonged on the team, and most of my team-mates welcomed me, but a few of them were hostile and the refs wouldn't allow me to take my place on the court, at first.  Then I picked up a a foul by drawing the word "FOUL" in Sharpie on the floor...and then I woke up.

Jellyfish: I've had that one before, several times, most memorably the night before my vasectomy. It's one of many, usually fatal, repetitive dreams I've had through my life. God knows how many times I've found myself splattered over several city blocks from an overenthusiastic swan dive, or shot in the face by a home intruder, or in this case mauled by jellyfish. That jellyfish dream always starts off sexual, too. I'm laying on a beach with my eyes closed, deep in fantasyland and sporting a streetlamp between my legs...the longer and harder it gets, the more jellyfish it attracts, except I don't know there are any jellyfish there because my streetlamp is flashing on and off in a very distracting way. The power surge and the stinging start simultaneously. It is very disconcerting to wake up dead, with your streetlamp extinguished forever.

The less said about that accountancy dream the better. Though, again, I must say that Windsor knot was impressive.

The more perceptive of you will notice a common theme: Ken neck-deep  in situations out of his control and often beyond his...ken, you might say. Some people are able to control their dream lives. Not me, not ever. I'm strapped to a missile whose guidance system is malfunctioning. Even my nice, non-nightmare kind of dreams almost always involve situations I'd never find myself in out here in wakeworld, and my actions and reactions are not those I'd imagine myself pulling off. Very rarely does my dream even start from a known where/when in real life...and if it does, it diverges right quick from the life I already lived, sometimes for the better but usually for the worse. I'll find myself in a car driving on the 401--bad enough since I don't drive--and then the car will suddenly turn into a plane and I'm taxiing down the 401, having to leap over the overpasses...I'll be at work and everything's normal except I see I have instructions to individually price all the penny candy/drink all the milk on the milk counter (that one didn't end well)/ hop on till (which I've never worked in a grocery store) and serve all the customers--who turn out to be zombies buying brains.

You probably don't want a starring role in a Ken-dream. Trust me on that.

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