December 01, 2004

Don't Pinch Me

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

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My cousin Mike seems to have gotten the short straw. He's a good sport about it. He doesn't sound like he's complaining much when he mentions how he never remembers his dreams. He remembers some but they're pretty mundane. I'm thinking that he's got to be wondering if there's this whole other world whirling around in his subconscious, about which, after having the time of his life each night, he simply forgets.

Me, I got the long straw. Wide screen cinemascope surroundsound dreaming with remote, and everything is recorded without even setting the TIVO. I dream as if my whack-job brain has been waiting for me to fall asleep so it can finally start the party in my head. As if my own subconscious knows I am just visiting for a short while, and there isn't a second to spare. Everything's ready. Some sort of assistant to the Id whips out the clipboard, throws on the bifocals: "Let's Roll".

Now, I probably dream the same amount as everyone else, but the thing is, I remember everything. If I'm roused from sleep, even to throw a kid back into bed or something, grab a cup of water, I often drop right back into the dream as if it were on pause. A hot set, just waiting for the lead to get back from a phone call.

Very often, I realize quite suddenly during my dream that I am in fact dreaming. Hah. That's when it gets weird. I start wielding my new found control over everything. I float or fly or control things with my mind-within-a-mind just to creep out everyone in my dream. Having just realized, of course, that these people are not real.

Well, they're real, in my world, for now. And stunned! "Watch this!", I say, and up I go. What a jerk.

Or I'll make sure to look down at my feet since everyone says you never see your feet in a dream. And I insist on checking the colors since there's a question about whether you dream in color or not. There's a lot you can DO once you realize you're dreaming.

And you know the theory that if you fall in your dream you could die by hitting the ground before you wake up? Not true. I've fallen hundreds of stories in my dreams but decide to hit the ground anyway because I know I'm in a dream.. No problemo.

Granted, it being a dream, even I who knows I am dreaming can't control much, for long. I have my moments but, for instance, the whole "flying" deal is not quite all there. I can hover or float or glide or whatever, but, well, you know how if you close your eyes and there's this floaty thing just out of your direct line of sight? some sort of scar on your cornea perhaps? so you look ever so slowly toward it to focus in, and it moves too? and you know that in your effort to capture it you're driving it away. That's what happens with the flying. I start hovering or something, simply astounding this local crowd of figments of my imagination. But then, say, at tree top level, I lose altitude. I never quite get up and out. I'm thinking up up and away, but I'm drifting in for a landing.

Remember the Dumbo ride at Disneyland? You press that joystick upward, and it rises to some pre-set limit! Damn them. And when the operator knocks the juice out you're getting dragged ever downward to that unsatisfying don't-leave-any-personal-effects-when-you-exit level.

It's like waking up or something.


At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The weirdest thing is when -- like this morning -- I have no sense of having dreamt at all. Like has been said, I don't often remember my dreams, but most of the time I don't even have the impression that I ever was dreaming during the previous night's rest. If I weren't actually dreaming, I'm sure there'd be some pretty serious repurcussions (see: that one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where nobody can reach REM sleep and all hell breaks loose), so that's almost certainly not it, but it is weird that I usually don't even have those fragmentary memories of a dream when I wake up.

--Mike Sheffler
... turning to the 3-D map, we see an unmistakable cone of ignorance


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