Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dreams Are My Favorite TV Show

I write about dreams, I really enjoy dreaming. They’re easier to remember if you wake up in the middle, and for that reason I love the Muslim call to prayer at 4:37 a.m. That’s a good dream hour, so it’s a good dream wake up call.

I don’t so much enjoy the disorganized rambles, the unscripted jumbles that are made up entirely of who-done-what-and-ran. I do love the rather abstract ones, where the scene is knowable but barely recognizable, where your friends and family show up in totally unexpected ways, where physical reality is turned on its head, the physics of another multiverse.

I remember dreams going back a long, long time. I remember the dream from my early teens where I first learned to dream consciously. It was a chased-by-giant-monsters dream, very common up until then. I had a less than dreamy relationship with adults as a child. This is my fucking dream, I thought, I can do anything I want, so I immediately came across a motorcycle, kicked it to life, and split, leaving the optical-illusion King Kong far behind. I recall my delight, and the feeling of empowerment. I still love and watch Godzilla movies (and I always survive).

My least favorite type of dream is the totally naturalistic, entirely plausible, scolding kind of dream that is based upon your own life, or, more accurately stated, your own failures. The dreams where people you know and love behave just the way they would in real life, except maybe that they are more honest. The events and details could have been drawn from real life, except that in the dream they are more clearly understood. Whereas real life can be very confusing, passing in a blur, these dreams are like being slammed in the head with sudden, disastrous clarity.

I had one a few days ago. I dreamed that I was a lawyer, I was wearing my own clothes, I remember the tie, I was in my office. I got a simple case, easy stuff, not much money in it, and I became very anxious. The client was a female attorney that I know, she’d been served with something. I went to the office of my friend, B.W., we graduated together from Pepperdine, and asked if I could pay him for an hour of his time, maybe he could help me out. I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t be sure that it was the right thing.

That was always my problem. I never had any confidence in anything that I did on my own, and as a lawyer you’re always on your own. You can work for the biggest firm in the country, but whatever you do, you are totally alone both in the doing and in the responsibility.

I lay there thinking about it until the dream-erection went down, I’m over sixty now and my best erections come during REM sleep. When it was convenient, I went to take a leak. By the time I sat down on the toilet I was practically in tears. I still strongly felt the anxiety and confusion from the dream; re-experienced my embarrassment at having to (unnecessarily) ask my friend for help; saw B.W.’s awkward compassion for his lame friend; heard again the cruel comments of the other lawyers at the dream courthouse.

The scary part is that this is only the tip of the dream iceberg. I remember this one, thanks to my Muslim friends, and the fact that their God demands obeisance on a rigid schedule, beginning every day before the sun comes up. For every such dream remembered, I’m sure that there are a thousand that remain unclaimed.

Maybe other people get over things, forget the disappointments and failures of their lives. But in this too I am abnormal. I remember everything.


Anonymous said...

Oh, you're not so abnormal. If we only knew what others dream, I think we'd see a lot of the same stuff lurking in the the subconscious of most of humanity.


fred c said...

Thanks, Ed. We really are all in this thing together.