Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Road Signs Along the Nighttime Highway

By most standards, I have not yet lived a long life. Yet, I have lived long enough to know there are few constants in this world. And, some of my most constant companions are my dreams.

I know it all started a very early age. Sleep walking, dreaming vividly, talking in my sleep... And, my parents have the hilarious stories to prove it - about both my brother and me. Today, these occurrences still continue. I KNOW they do. Sadly, I just don't have anyone around to witness them or recall them to me.

It is not uncommon for me to wake up in another room different from where I went to sleep. I often wake myself because of laughing, yelling, or crying so strongly. I laugh at the ladies that go to the beauty shop once a week to have their hair set and who attempt to persuade me that all they have to do is cover their hair with a hair net and resolve not to move during the night. (Would you like to see some pictures of what my hair looks like in the morning?!?!) Sometimes, I awake to find strange objects in bed or all of my covers on the floor. Strange, but true.

Now, before anyone gets too concerned, I want to clarify that this does not occur all of the time. In fact, I can go for weeks without an occurrence that anyone would notice. (At least, I believe so. Hard to know for sure.) I can't even find any pattern to it. In some of my most stressed times, I sleep without event. And, in some of my most calm times, my most crazy dreams appear. Then again, sometimes it's the opposite. Either way, my dreams are extremely vivid - like HDTV on steiroids. And, some of my friends love to check in for dream updates. Here are a few that caused some commotion:
  • The one where I lived inside of a juicy green grape.
  • The one where I attended a parade and country horse race which were happening simultaneously on the same road by a huge bridge (long after my Grandad had passed away.) We were waiting for the leaders of the race to ride through so that we could cheer them on, when all of a sudden Grandad appeared as the lead rider with riding pants, hat, crop, black boots, red jacket, and all.
  • The one (which occurred long after I was out of grad school) where my high school P.E. class was having an archery lesson at night in the midst of a war so that I could become prepared to capably shoot arrows out of fighter planes the next day.
  • The one where the church members came over to help me cut down a tree in my back yard, but the tree fell on me. Apparently, the members weren't concerned about helping, because one by one they left my house. My friend, Jeff, who is usually so kind and considerate, was the last to leave - but did so abruptly and rudely - leaving me insulted and trapped in the pouring rain. Thankfully, many woodland creatures came to my rescue during the night to keep me company and keep me warm.
  • The one where I was at a store trying to pick out the best chamois to aid me in drying off in my new (and very important) job as a clown in a dunk booth.

Last night, as some of you know, I went to a Sacred Harp singing. I've been tired lately, haven't received enough sleep, have been trying to help many friends and accomplish a lot at work before going on a trip for a few days. So, I admit this IS a moderately rushed time. After returning home late and tidying up the house a little, I headed to my bedroom with determination not to waste time so that I could get 5 solid hours of sleep (all that was left in the night before needing to arise for work). It seemed like mere seconds passed by when I was right back at the Sacred Harp singing and meeting with the St. Louis Shape Note Singers. In the dream, I decided to buy some song books for a friend, but one of the lead members asked me when I wanted to have my check cashed. I replied, "Anytime. This week is fine". "Well," he explained. "Maybe no one told you, but the name of our group changes each month, so we will not be able to cash the check you gave us because we are no longer known as the Shape Note Singers. And, in case no told you about another feature of our group, we all wear a different style of hat each month. You may not have known because September and October are our "hat-free months", but we wear sombreros in November and berets in December. Please make sure you have one of each." I remember chuckling immediately - only to stop short when that member gave me a stern and serious frown, signaling that he did not think it was the least bit funny. Then panic hit me as I realized I had recently given away my sombrero and Mexican party supplies on freecycle. Not one to miss anything or break any rules, I pulled out my well-worn planner to jot down the various hat styles and group names with their corresponding months, as well as the various tax code reasons about why the name needed to change so frequently. I thought this was all very weird for a group that doesn't even have membership fees or a group roster, but I diligently wrote out those notes so I could share them with the other attendees from church. An hour later, he was still listing, and I was still writing.

Astrid Alauda wrote the following in Dyspeptic Enlightenment: "Dreams are road signs along the nighttime highway of sleep." If they are, I have no idea on what highway I'm driving, where I'm going, or where the off-ramps are located. Is there a speed limit I should be paying attention to? Some of these experiences cause a little fear and an ounce of fright, but so many others are mysterious and wonderful beyond description. Still others, make me (literally) fall over from laughing when thinking about them or retelling them. My constant companions, dreams, have been a delight with which to spend time. They sure make life interesting.

Included here are a few other thoughts about dreams. Based on their quotes, these are definitely some folks to whom I can relate!

"One of the most adventurous things left us is to go to bed. For no one can lay a hand on our dreams." - E. V. Lucas, 365 Days and One More

"We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake." - Erich Fromm, The Forgotten Language

"I don't use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough." - M. C. Escher

"I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake." - Rene Descartes, Meditations of First Philosophy

"Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone." - Tommy Cooper

Sweet dreams, everyone...or at the very least, interesting ones!


Chris said...

Hey Strem - I especially like the dreams, and thanks for reminders of some of the past doozies!

Nardo said...

Wow! I don't think i've ever heard of someone with that vivid of dreams.

Sandy-san said...

Man, oh man! I thought I have some wild dreams, but YOU!!! You are the winner, Ma'am! xD

You do know that, while sleeping, your brain can NOT tell the difference between your sleepful and your wakeful state. That may explain some things!

Thankfully, I normally don't wake up in different rooms, but I know I have some pretty crazy and vivid dreams. Only when I write them down on my steno do I realize just how many dreams I have a night.

At different points of my life, my dreams are so that Steven Spielberg has nothing on me. I could quite possibly be a zillionaire if I were to send my scripts in.

I may have to write up on this sometime soon. Thanks for the great blog!!! =)

Sandy-san said...

Oh, by the way, I joined freecycle! Thanks for this!