Monday, April 06, 2009
Perchance to Scream
I’ve had a series of dreams recently that were so bizarre they could make you long for insomnia.
In the last two weeks, I dreamed I was a gun-toting killer, the victim of a nasty poltergeist, and an extremely reluctant member of a police SWAT team.
I like to describe dreams as the funhouse mirror reflection of your mind and these latest gems could easily serve as Exhibits A, B, and C of that theory.
The SWAT dream was the most recent, occurring two nights ago. It starts off with me as a cop approaching a traffic jam and telling my fellow officers that I’ll take care of the situation.
Only I don’t do such a good job and a female officer asks me sarcastically, “that was your plan?” I’m not sure what that was, but it clearly doesn’t impress anybody. And it did nothing to clear the traffic.
I am about to respond when an armored vehicle roars up and a senior officer shouts, “get in the truck!”
I protest, but he was very insistent, so I climb aboard and off we went. I remember thinking that, I don’t do raids; I’m a theory guy. But then I realize that theory guys aren't much help when the fertilizer strikes the air conditioning unit.
The dream fizzled from there, but I’m certain it originated from a news story I read about the three police officers who were gunned down in Pittsburgh.
You might have trouble recalling this particular massacre, since we’ve had so many in this country in the last few weeks—California, North Carolina, Alabama, and most recently, Binghamton, NY.
But it’s not like we need tougher gun laws or anything else. Just ask the NRA, or as I like to call it, Murder Inc.
In my second dream, I’m arguing with a friend of mine who is giving me a hard time for all the things I didn’t do with my life. It gets very heated and we finally stop talking to each other.
I go to bed and this ghost that looks like a little girl in a long dress who is running around my room raising all kinds of hell.
At one point I look up while she’s going bump in the night and I spot her by the closet covering her eyes like some old Three Stooges bit.
“I can see you!” I shout as she runs from place to place like a shooting gallery duck. “I can see you!”
I think I was angry because I didn’t think any self-respecting ghost would do such a lame job of being invisible.
I somehow know this ghost is a spiritual reflection of my friend and I go to the next room, where my buddy is residing in the back of deep, dark closet and tell her to help me out. But she refuses.
I literally woke up screaming from this little scenario. I mean, I actually heard myself shouting. I guess I don’t appreciate people criticizing my life, especially since I do that so well myself.
The final and most disturbing dream had me as a cold-heart killer.
I was standing in the lobby of an apartment building late at night when two men come out of the building and I promptly take a pistol out of my pocket and start firing.
I don’t recall being threatened by these people. I wasn’t enraged and I don’t know if I even spoke to them before I opened fire. I just shot them.
One of my victims—God, that sounds so creepy-- was older, with a full beard and I referred to him as the Rabbi. The younger one’s features were a blur, possibly obscured by shadows.
As soon as they hit the floor, a young man comes out of the building, looks down at the two corpses and then turns to me.
He has this weird smile as he asks me what happened. I keep saying that I didn’t know, that I hadn’t done anything, but the man just rolls his eyes in disbelief.
The scene shifts to this huge cluttered office and the editor of the publication I work for told me I have to interview the county coroner.
The county’s office is located on the same floor as my publication—this was a dream, after all—and when I walk over to interview him, I’m told he’s too busy.
I notice two bodies covered in sheets outside the coroner’s office and realize they are my victims, which explains why the coroner is so backed up.
Only then do I realize that I am in big trouble and I begin telling myself that I did nothing wrong, over and over again.
While this is disturbing, death and killing in a dream doesn’t always mean death and killing. If you “kill”someone in a dream, yes, you may actually harbor murderous thoughts toward them, but it also could mean you want to end your relationship them.
I’m pretty sure that the bearded man—the Rabbi—is my therapist. We’ve been together for some time now and I had been speaking with him recently about moving on.
I’d like to free up that particular night, save myself the hassle of going uptown, and, of course, save some money. I’m not saying that I’m cured or that, God forbid, I’m “normal.”
I’m just interested in other disciplines—mediation, chi gong, Tai chi, primal therapy, chakras, who the hell knows?
The other man—the one I couldn’t identify—was probably me, or one version of myself that I want to kill off.
By shooting these two figures I was “ending” this particular connection. As far as the leering man in the hallway, I think that was my conscience in full guilt mode, leering and mocking at my own misdeeds.
I told my shrink about this dream and he seemed to take it very well, considering I had assassinated him in my dreams.
I have to confess that it was pretty awkward sitting across from someone and telling him that you dreamed you murdered him. I’m sure shrinks hear this and much worse, but it was still a bit weird.
So what’s causing all this? I think of Ebenezer Scrooge with that “bit of underdone potato” line and wonder if my diet is behind these nocturnal hallucinations.
I’ve heard it said that creative people are subject to nightmares. But then so are lunatics. I’m still thinking about moving on from my shrink, but with all these nutty dreams, maybe I should stick with him just a little bit longer.