Weird dreams are made of this
Dreams are weird. There are lots of hypotheses on their purpose or lack of such, but they’re hard to test, and some are so seductive they stay in public consciousness despite being stupid. (Prophetic dreams anyone?) But it’s not just the act of dreaming that’s weird, the contents of dreams are weird as well, and they show first hand some of the mind’s power of rationalization.
Dreams come in various levels of weirdness, but if you try writing some of it down immediately after dreaming, you’ll find a lot more discontinuities than if you recall them the next day. Evidence of the mind’s powerful ability to edit your memories to make sense of them, a power that’s also in play during the dreaming, helped by the “what the fuck!”-part of your brain being dampened. Or maybe everyone else dreams clear and sensible narratives and I’m just generalizing based on the weird stuff I dream. Like the following dream I had last night.
So I have cold (that’s not a part of the dream, I’m just following up the theoretical lead in to the dream recital with a personal lead in) and feeling crappy and sorry for myself I fall asleep on the couch in the evening and I wake up around 10 pm with a dry mouth, a sore neck from the messed up position I’ve slept in, and the memory of the tail end of a dream where I’m trying to scrape some unpleasantly sticky food gunk off my gums. And so I head off to bed and fortunately I fall asleep easily, despite my long nap.
But I wake up at 3:33 from a weird dream.
I’m in some sort of game or Ninja academy or fantasy novel, and the dream has been going on for a while, but that’s how far back I remembered when I woke up. I’m looking at objects on a dark wood bookshelf. And as I realize an invading search party is spreading through the building I pick one of the hardwood stair finials lying on the shelf for a weapon. As one of the people enter the room I hide behind the door and smack him in the head with the finial as he enters.
It’s super inefficient, so I have to run. By running and jumping down stairs I escape past half a dozen people not trying all that hard to catch me. My escape is nearly thwarted though, when my co-conspirator locks the door behind her/him. I think with the motivation «If they catch him/her, that’ll be more time for me to get away», but the pursuit is so slow I escape anyway. Oh, and I’m sure at this point in the dream there’s two of us, and we’re Bart and Lisa Simpson. Although I’m not confident if I’m Lisa or Bart or an external observer.
Whoever is first reaches a fence and pulls the same «lock the gate behind me» stunt, and I curse as the other person with me twists the locking knob right off forcing us to climb the fence instead. Yeah, there’s three of us now, and I think the two others are my brothers, that’s definitely who they are in a later scene.
Climbing the fence is easy just up the embankment next to the gate where the fence is just waist high. And right past the fence we engage in some creative running in loops on an incline to gain speed and distance on our two pursuers, who’re women, but if I had an idea of who they were at the time, that memory is gone now.
We exit stage left (or stage right actually, if it were an actual stage) and approach the brook that ran past my childhood home, now following a path/road that my uncle has made with a harrow straight through his property and onto our neighbour’s. Right by the brook though my youngest brother, and the two women, fall into a sink hole that suddenly opens up in the path.
I tell my other brother to grab a branch or something and pull us out, because despite not having fallen into the hole I’m now in it. Our befuddled female pursuers are left in the hole and then edited out of the narrative completely as my brothers and I, following the harrow path, are now running away from home and I wonder if my instigating brother has really thought this through, and what mom and dad will think.
I’m not worrying about the fact that we’re all our adult selves or that my mom died several years ago or that what was all summery and green a couple scenes ago is now wintery all of a sudden. Or that the next couple of scenes are utterly bizarre.
We pass one neighbour’s fields and approach the cluster of houses belonging to the next farm over and walk past a greenhouse that definitely doesn’t exist out in the real world. As we pass it I’m thinking «so that’s the ‘textiles out of a greenhouse’ store I’ve been hearing about». And I think maybe we should see if there are some blankets in case we don’t figure out a place to spend the night. Only the guy who is outside moving stuff around seems to be packing up rather than opening the «store», even if one of my brothers thinks it’s the other way round.
I hate asking strangers for information but for a moment it seems my brother is going to, but then he doesn’t and I realize there are opening hours posted on the side of the greenhouse and I move around and further away from the building to see them properly, only I slide down a long hill in the snow. In hindsight this hill slants the opposite way of the terrain I’m certain we were just in, but there’s weirder to come so I won’t dwell on that. It’s a long hill and loose snow on slippery snow, and I cause a bit of an avalanche on the way down, but from the bottom it’s easy to read the numbers.
They don’t make sense at first but eventually I figure out what they say, possibly because the numbers changed, and I realize they close at 16 on Saturdays and it’s now just past. So I signal this to my brother using my hands, not wanting to shout or maybe it’s too far to shout, and start climbing back up the hill, which is now full of people and not even a hill for very long.
There are some conversations going on as I climb, about possible places to sleep suggested by the neighbour kids, who’re of course also grown up, but that’s not as interesting as how the snowy hill we’re climbing turns into the seatback of a hill-sized leather recliner without it registering as odd with anyone. As I, and a couple other climbers, reach the last, vertical, part of the leather seatback, our weight causes it to tilt forwards, which of course is backwards for us and lands us just at the edge of the giant glass table that goes with the chair. And that’s when I woke up. At 3:33. And wrote down as much detail as I remember.