I have a few ideas swirling around in my head for a couple of stories, all of which would take minutes to write, but for some reason I don’t feel up to it. Chalk it up to laziness, warm weather, or laissez faire politics, but today is not the day for 100 words. Instead, I want to talk about something real. Something so underrated, it never sees the light of day. I want to talk...about dreams.
I had a dream a few nights ago that I still remember rather clearly, which is rare for me. Usually I can remember the situation, or an interesting event, but it fades away after a few minutes. Or, in a lot of situations, I don’t dream at all. Now, I’ve thought about this for a bit (Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this, but that should be obvious, so let me get to my point) and I’ve found that there are three exceptions to my apparent dream amnesia.
1) I know someone in the dream. Whether it’s about them, or they’re just randomly there, it doesn’t matter, having someone you know allows you to cling to the situation surrounding them. The whole dream might not come back, but you’ll say “Oh, so and so was in my dream, they ate a cheese sandwich” and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that they make an impact in your sub-consciousness. I still remember a dream in which a certain someone stabbed me in the chest with a hot iron. Needless to say, I woke up rather quickly. You know who you are!!! Which leads me to my next point.
2) The dream puts me in a life-threatening situation. Nothing says a dream to remember like your mother driving you off a cliff or your father being chased by a serial killer. I can still remember a lot of the details of both dreams, even though they occurred many months or years ago. Dreams in this case behave like memories. People rarely remember what they had for afternoon tea, but they might remember that their butler poisoned their crumpets and in a wild plot twist the maid was their mother and also a secret agent and foiled the butler’s plans to inherit the estate. So...yes.
3) However, this third situation doesn’t really scream “remember me!” In these dreams, I’m put into a very pressure filled situation. However, the pressure is always artificial and in rather mundane situations. I have an essay due in an hour, or I forgot my bike key, or I overslept for a meeting with a friend. No wait, that wasn’t a dream. Anywho, these dreams are defined by immense pressure, the sense that something bad is happening and you have to make certain decisions that are unfavorable. And when you finally wake up, it almost comes as a surprise, as the dream felt so real. But then you realize that you don’t even recognize the teacher, or that you haven’t lived in that house for a few years. At that point a wave of relief rushes over you, and maybe that’s what triggers the great memory. Knowing that your dream elicited an emotion so great as to make you feel relief when you wake up, rather than the usual morning routine of...whatever. The dream in question involved a book report in which I had not prepared for. While I was scrambling to make something up, the teacher started calling names to present, and I panicked. However, he stopped the first student after one sentence. Weird I know, but it gave me sudden hope. I had chosen some book that I had never read, and I doubt even exists, but when he called my name, I just winged it. I went with a book I know very well, Watership Down. I started talking about the courage it takes to change locations and blah blah blah, and then he stops me after a sentence or two. At which point I wake up, relieved. But the feeling of stress remained.
Now, what can I conclude from such dreams? Why would I be put in situations where stress is being applied? Aren’t I sleeping? Shouldn’t I be dreaming about beaches and happy places? Well, my take on it is rather simple. My brain is either preparing me for the situations in which I need to react to high stress and being unprepared, or maybe it’s trying to teach me that being unprepared in the first place is no bueno. Who knows? I’ll have to ask the next time I travel to dream land.