29 August 2007

Gemini dream

Long time no see
Short time for you and me
So fine so far so good
We're on the road
Like you knew we would

I go through intense periods where I dream vividly. As a child, I had extreme nightmares every single night, and it's been pointed out to me on more than one occasion that this probably accounts for my insomnia. Who wants to sleep when you're being chased by giants and dinosaurs and moving mountains with faces or falling down bottomless pits? When you have to hide from a parade of...aliens? That clown mouth that's supposed to be the entrance to the fun house? In my nightmare, it was the door to the local Lucky's grocery and everyone who walked in it was eaten. What exactly was at the bottom of that staircase I always dreamed about, the one with the invisible force that pulled me irresistibly forward? I'm sure I still don't want to know.

When I was pregnant with the son, I dreamed frequently of the child I'd lost to a miscarriage the year before. During the period in which the spouse was constantly away on business and I drove a 15-mile round trip twice a day to get the son to school, I dreamed of a road. The same road, always, but in different settings, some happy, some derelict, some terribly frightening.

Fever dreams are always a good time. In high school, I came down with a terrible case of the flu just before Christmas break. I had a trigonometry final that day, and being the utterly anal student I was, firmly believed that there was no way I could miss that test. I dragged my burning body into the school, cheerfully gave everyone I knew flu for Christmas and aced the test. My punishment came later, though, when I got home. I went straight to bed and immediately fell into a dreadful dream where I'd been charged with solving a trigonometric equation for creamed corn and stewed tomatoes.

Recently, the dreams have been pretty odd.

I was in an old hotel serving as a university building, and I was supposed to be attending a writing class taught by the author Neil Gaiman. But he never showed up for class and we ended up making bead crafts or something equally bizarre. I called him on my cell phone to complain bitterly.

A few nights ago, I was troubled by a really nasty nightmare about a snake. Simply Freudian in some regards, but the worst aspect was that I'd wake up, and I mean really wake up, not just think I had, and when I fell back to sleep, the dream picked up where it had left off. Finally, the third time, when things were getting seriously hairy and the bodies were starting to pile up, I woke up and stayed awake for the next two hours.

Last night? Another hotel (notice a theme here?), old and lovely and slated for demolition. I have absolutely no idea how my mother's long dead hairdresser--she must have died 30 years ago--ended up in a cameo role, but there she was talking about her dead husband as she did someone's hair. I wanted something from the building, which was already falling down in large chunks, and large chunks of earth were beginning to fall away from the building's foundation (I had dinner with a geotechnical engineer last night, which actually does go a long way to explaining why I would dream of elaborate soil collapse). Despite the hotel tower falling in my general direction, I leapt onto the remains of the hotel's entryway, and went in the door. Most of the roof was gone and daylight flooded into what used the be reception area. I could hear the crash and bang of walls coming down in the distance, and hastily opened a room door at random. Light flooded into the room from tall windows here, illuminating a room filled with objects, including a bed with a sheet over what looked for all the world like a body. My idea of gleaning something from the wreckage suddenly seemed terrible, and I was overwhelmed with the urge to get out. I ran for a door, and found that the garden it had once led to was gone, and that I was standing on the edge of the world, the nearest ground miles below me.

Of course, given the fact that the geotechnical engineer also regaled us with stories of his naked backpacking adventure, that last dream could have gone in some far more disturbing directions.

Go listen to some good music: "Gemini Dream" from the album Long Distance Voyager by The Moody Blues.