Dreams are a funny thing. In fact, today’s blog post comes to you almost directly from my dreams. (It’s 4:00 AM as I’m writing this. ) Sometime in the night I was dreaming that I should write a post called something like “Live Alive” or “Live This Day” or “Live Today.” It was going to essentially be about making sure you take advantage of today, carpe diem—or perhaps, because dreams are often so jumbled, per diem. Also in this dream, I was watching cartoons on TV in my parents’ old house at 2:00 AM. So there’s that.
Although I haven’t had it in a long time, I used to have this recurring nightmare where scary hooded people in brown robes would be trying to talk to me, but I could only hear their voices as gibberish. I could tell that what they were saying was important, but I just couldn’t make it out. First they’d be far away, speaking loudly, just not loudly enough that I could quite hear. Then, all of a sudden, they’d be right up in my face, whispering, barely audible, but I still couldn’t understand what they were saying, like they were speaking in tongues or something. (Usually I would have this nightmare when I was sick and sleeping with a fever.) Even just recalling it now reminds me of that freaky movie Phantasm, which I watched just once with my good friend Heath. The bad guy, the Tall Man, worked in a funeral parlor, making normal people into tiny dwarves, reconstituting them from their own cremated ashes to become slaves who would mine for him in his own dimension. (It was a romantic comedy, obviously.)
Once when I was in graduate school, I mentioned the voices dream to my friend Christine, and she said “Oh, everybody has that!” Then she told me about her worst kind of freaky dream, which she called “bed spins.” What she described wasn’t like the bed bouncing around in The Exorcist, but more like when you come home from a day at an amusement park, sick and disoriented from riding rides. You probably know what I’m talking about: Even though you don’t feel all spinny, when you lie down and try to sleep, the room keeps rotating around you. (She said a night out drinking also does that; although I joke about that sometimes, I’ve never actually done that.)
One recurring theme I actually enjoy in my dreams is when I can fly. There’s always some “trick” to it, though, like I have to keep kicking to stay airborne. The faster I kick, the higher I can go, lifting myself slowly up over fences and onto rooftops. (That’s pretty high for me.) What it feels like is akin to swimming, only in the air. “I’m Superman! I can fly!”
I hear people talk all the time about a recurring dream where they’re naked or in their underwear. Honestly, I’ve never had that dream. If I started having a dream like that this late in life, I’d probably suspect something was going on like that episode of Northern Exposure where everybody’s dreams got switched around and Maurice was all freaked out because his recurring dream had him wearing women’s underwear, and he was afraid whoever ended up with his dreams would tell everybody and embarrass him.
Strangely, my worst nightmare is one where I learn that my high school was auditing its records and discovered that because I went to vo-tech, I didn’t actually have enough classes to graduate, so they rescinded my diploma. As a result, I was no longer qualified to be admitted to college, so then all of my colleges stripped me of all my degrees. I mentioned this dream once to Roger, one of my professors in graduate school, and I asked him if that kind of dream ever goes away. (Roger was an older guy, in his mid-60’s or so.) He laughed and said, “No, it just changes into different variations.” Then he told me about his recurring dream: He’s late getting to his class to teach (as he often was in real life). He walks into the classroom and starts immediately, all flustered, and everybody’s looking at him all strange, and he begins to realize he doesn’t recognize any of these people, and he’s actually walked into the wrong room, teaching the wrong course to the wrong students. But at least he was wearing pants. And he was nobody’s mining slave dwarf.
In your dreams, whose underwear are you wearing? Did you watch too much TV and too many movies when you were a kid? (I suspect I may have.) Do you have any weird or scary recurring dreams? What’s wrong with you, anyway? Weirdo.