Friday, May 27, 2011

Redefining nightmares.

Nightmares are not what they used to be. When I was a kid, nightmares were about fear. Wake up with a scream, go in to mom and dad's room and ask if you can sleep with them.

You know the drill.

As I got older, nightmares were not so much about fear as anxiety, especially the inability to solve a problem. When I was in college, I would sometimes have dreams that there was a bureaucratic screw-up and there was no paperwork proving that I had passed fifth grade. So I'd be pulled out of a class on topolgy to go into a room with little individual desks, learning about the Louisiana Purchase and long division.

Worse yet, no milk and graham crackers.


I had a couple very vivid dreams this week. In one, I was in the middle of your standard zombie apocalypse.

You know the drill. Lots of zombies, very slow, unrelenting, usually ineffective against flamethrowers or even a sturdy baseball bat.

And I have this feeling like, okay, this isn't good, but I can handle it. Somehow I got this far and sure, life sucks, but this is a manageable level of suckitude.

You might think this is a metaphor for being a part-time teacher in this economy.

You might very well think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Okay, I'm out fighting zombies, trying to find a safe place, when the military comes in, surrounds us non brain-eating civilians, beats the hell out of any zombies stupid enough not to run away and takes us to safety.

This is often when the credits roll in a zombie movie, but in my dream, not so much.

I notice that the officers look more or less normal, but the grunts are kind of grey and steroidal, and they actually grunt a lot. Sometimes they start fighting each other viciously, and the cure for all problems with these huge, armed galoots is to feed them something called "moorehead". It's a grey glop, kind of the shape of meat loaf, sometimes cooked, sometimes served cold in sandwiches. Civilians are advised not to eat it.

Clever me, I understand the plot devices in my own dreams. These guys are some kind of zombie hybrids and they still eat brains. I don't know if it's cow brains and cat brains or people brains, but I'm thinking I might not be as safe as I'm supposed to be, so I start looking for ways to escape.

I find my way to the edge of camp and look for some way exit. There is an attack on the camp by people who are clearly not zombies. They kind of look like the better looking people in a Mad Max movie (here exemplified by Virginia Hey, as in "Hey, who's the new girl?") and their leader is going on about "pure blood" and re-building the human race". I understand that he's talking about the zombie hybrids, but these people are also kind of steroidal with some Nazi-like undertones that don't make me particularly comfortable.

And then I wake up. I'm not screaming, my heart isn't racing. I'm thinking about this like a teacher reviewing a student's first draft of a story. Plenty of plot points, but who is our likable character? While we have obstacles, is there a chance for redemption? Are there people pulling strings behind the scenes?

In other words, is this a two hour movie, a mini-series or the start for a role playing game?

But then there's what passes for a nightmare in my boring, middle aged brain. I'm someplace far from home, maybe in Santa Cruz down south or Sonoma up north. Obviously, I drove here, but when I come out to look for my truck, it's gone.

I search the parking lot. Nothing. Maybe I got turned around, so I check another parking lot.


Shit. My truck was stolen.

And then I wake up. Pissed.

Shit! My truck was stolen! What am I gonna do now? Will insurance cover it? How am I going to get around?

Then I think, wait... where am I?

I'm in my room in Oakland.

How did I get back to Oakland without a truck?

I don't own a truck.

Did I borrow my dad's truck?

No, I'm in Oakland. I just dreamt I was far away and my truck (or whoever's truck) was stolen.

So instead of waking up scared, I wake up pissed, that kind of pissed you get when something is stolen and you have no one to blame but the world in general. Even after I knew it wasn't real, I was still feeling pissed for about ten minutes.

It was very odd to have this emotion lingering on when I knew nothing real caused it. Maybe I should talk to my sister Karlacita! about this. Emotions are her thang nowadays.

Still, if I ever get a hold of the guy who stole that truck...


No zombies. No zombie soldiers. No steroidal pure bloods. No truck. No trip to Sonoma or wherever.


Okay, now I feel better.


Anne said...

I can relate to this. And my poor late mother used to wake up and berate my father for something he'd done in her dream. He'd protest that it was just a dream, and she'd say: "Yes, but it's typical of you!"

Matty Boy said...

I once had a woman in whom I was interested back in college tell me I was a vampire one of her dreams. This was well before the idea of sexy vampires became standard.

I figured that one was a non-starter.

dguzman said...

Besides, there's no reason to take that trip to Sonoma; I'm not there anymore!

Miss you, Matty Boy.

Matty Boy said...

Hi, dg. I miss you, too. But I still might travel up to wine country 'cos I gots fambly there.