Monday, September 26, 2011

I read somewhere that adults aren't supposed to have nightmares--only children do. If this is true, I must be in a state of arrested development. That state would be Tennessee...(if you didn't get that, ask Mr. Wendel). Hardly a week goes by that I don't have a nightmare about spiders or snakes or spiders that spit snakes out of their mouths while the snakes make fun of my weight.

Not all of my dreams are nightmares, of course. Usually, things that should be nightmares are actually pretty funny at the time, or vice versa. I occasionally write things based on my dreams because, in addition to being odd, they tend to be quite detailed and often pretty well-structured. But, honestly, my dreams are usually too weird to be readable.

Having a baby has affected my dreams in three ways. 1. My sleep is frequently interupted, which means I wake in the middle of dreams and therefore remember them. 2. Sleep deprivation makes my dreams even more vivid than usual, and 3. My anxieties are even more extensive than usual because now I've got all my concerns about the baby to add to the usual mix. Now, instead of me being the one at school, naked, frantically trying to dress while the teacher calls roll (and my name does start with a B) it's her.

Here's a pretty tame one: the other night, I dreamed that a nuclear apocalypse had come. FINALLY. It was during a break, and most of the students at the school at which I work and live were gone, though a few remained. The administration called a school meeting, and we all gathered in the theater. We had a radio set up to monitor broadcasts, and out the window, we could see mushroom clouds. Everything was bathed in red light. The administration, as usual, rambled on and had nothing worthwhile to say. They asked if there were any questions. I took that opportunity to go up on stage and begin a comedy routine. And I KILLED. I was mostly doing impersonations of faculty pets, but man, did the audience love it. This performance lasted for several hours, and then we went out to gather what supplies we could. Of course, the remaining students all wanted to sleep over in Carroll, OUR DORM, but we had to say no; there was an apocalypse on, after all.

I used to have dreams that came true, pretty frequently, in fact, but they were always completely useless to me and almost never afforded me the opportunity to get rich. I might dream about eating lunch in the cafeteria with a different group of kids--when I was in school--and then, a few days later, I'd be in the cafeteria and feel deja vu and realize: OMG! I totally dreamed this! Or I might dream about walking around a a strange place...or sitting on a bench in a mall I'VE NEVER BEEN TO. Ang then my awesome power would manifest, and I'd totally go to a new mall or walk around a table somewhere.

All of this has led me to the conclusion that my subconscious is an ass. It plays tricks on me. It intentionally creates Jungian and Freudian scenarios just to mess with me when I wake up. When I was in college and started goint to therapy to deal with my mother's illness, I started dreaming that there were people living behind my bathroom mirror, repeating everything I said in German and occasionally throwing pies at each other. In my waking life, I'm no more afraid of Germans than anyone else who doesn't share a border with them. But this was my subconscious mocking my fears over my own emotional stability, but in an absurd, kind of cutesy way. The people in the mirror sounded remarkably like the cast of Hogan's Heroes.

I did used to have very vivid nightmares about demons plaguing my family and me. I used to dream about my mother as a ghost, howling right outside my door and begging to be let in. My wife complains from time to time about my violent thrashing at night, or the fact that I frequently wake her up by launching out of bed. I still, frequently, dream about various groups of people being out to get me/mydaughter/etc. in a Dystopian future kind of way, except the groups are usually dressed in cow costumes. I can easily interpret these as meaningful images. The armed groups of cow-costumed folks might represent cultural influences. They gather together like a herd of cows, no one challenging the authority of the group, regardless of whether the group is behaving justly or not. They are trying to influence my daughter in some negative way, so I'm trying to escape them. The fact that the cow-men shoot at us with spinach guns, well, I'll leave that one up to your interpretation.

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The other day at lunch, some coworkers were talking about their dreams. They turned to me and asked what kind of dreams I had. For the next 5 minutes, they listened as I related a pretty standard dream I used to have. Then they all got up and left. They've been dodging me ever since.

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