or, How I learned to stop dreaming and just get out of bed to pee.
For as long as I can remember, I have had difficulty upon rousing from sleep in recalling my dreams. The images that come to my unconscious mind in the dark stretches of the night are often incongruous meandering adventures that are very fresh in the first few milliseconds of the new day, but while that perception might remain, the details are quickly lost to me upon fully waking. The ones that do stick with me are typically those that repeat themselves in myriad permutations, playing out the various fears and phobias of my sad little melon, reminding me that I am fragile and flawed and very, very mortal. The reasons that these mental voyages tend to recur are all pretty obvious to me, so I often put little stock in them as having any real value in the day to day goings on of my trips about our marble, though sometimes they do influence me. For example, my recurring nightmare about ending up in prison and even being executed by the state keeps me from, quite simply, killing you when you are bothering me. I have spent the night in jail twice, and since I don’t run around pulling thrill-seeker liquor store hold-ups, let’s just assume I am not eager to go back. My adult-onset fear of flying manifests itself in all manner of airplane disaster nightmares, even the simplest of which make the crash sequence from Fight Club and the first episode of Lost look like Pixar children’s shorts.
My other two commonly recurring dreams are based purely on the physical. I would really love to think that my brain is providing my body with all the magical pleasures and unattainable exotic ecstasies of the flesh that it simply can not acquire in the waking world, but I am pretty sure that I only dream about sex so that my pleasantly dreaming mind can give my unconscious body an unconscious erection that will physiologically prevent me from, basically, … wetting the bed. Sadly, sex dreams almost always just mean I need to pee. If I eat salty foods before bed (I used to be a fan of dill pickle slices wrapped in deli ham and placed on a Pringle, seriously,) then I have dreams of wandering the dessert, parched and dying, or of consuming gallons of water, yet never being able to slake the awful thirst. I know this dream even while I am dreaming it, most times, and have actually learned to wake myself and get a glass of water, though it took almost 15 years of mental training to do so. It’s not exactly the Jedi mind trick, you just holler at yourself in the dream “Hey, stupid, there’s a REAL glass of water on the bedside table, wake the fuck up!” I always have water on the bedside for this express purpose, since while I regularly do so while awake, I really hate to lie to myself in my sleep.
However, certain dreams are powerful enough to stick with me once the REM cycles are completed, and because that is so rare, I do what I can to think about them and decide if they have meaning, or even (God forbid) purpose. I still vividly remember the first time I realized that what I wanted most in life was to fall in love with the perfect woman. I dreamt about her one night while sleeping on my father’s couch. I was 12. While I have been head over heels in love a couple of times in my life, it has never been with that woman, who I still remember some 22 years later. She had long wavy deep brunette hair and an exotic accent. She most likely does not exist, and was only a romanticized image in my brain based on all the movies I’d seen and books I’d read and probably my Mom and all sorts of Freudian Oedipal bullshit that I really don’t want to think about. The hope for love like I knew in that one night of sleep has never left me, however, though I am reasonably certain I have never even spoken of this until just this moment.
Lately, a couple of folks have been showing up over and over again in my dreaming, and managing to stick around in the old cabeza even after the alarm kicks me in the face in the A.M. The dreams consist of conversations, most heated in one way or another, and are not at all nonsensical or wild, as most of my forgotten dreams tend to play out. I can only surmise that the reason they have become prevalent actors in my slumbering theater is that these people are on my mind, and I feel I have things I want or need to say to them. My difficulty has become how to cast them in the production of my fully awake and aware daily life, how to organize these scenes, how to properly write and trim the dialogue so that they see that I do care, that I am worried about them, that I admire them, that I do desire them and love them and miss them and enjoy being with them, that I am happy to have them in my life in any way that I might, consciously if I can, or whilst sleeping, perchance to dream of them. I just hope I can find a way to say so, and that when I do, they understand.