Define a Transparent Dream

This is my first post in 2,096 days. That’s 50,304 hours, or 5.7 years without a single post. But as they say, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

What took so long? You could call it laziness, or lack of time. You could call it the easy allure of short-burst thoughts posted to Social Media. Call it whatever you want. Truth is, it’s probably all of those things. And while I’m not particualrly proud that I haven’t worked out this muscle in a long time, consider the leaf turned over. I’m coming to back to longer(ish) posts and freshening up this dusty area. I’m doing this for myself, mostly – I just miss writing.

Simple solution: do it more. So I will.

This morning I was reading The Atlantic’s recent series of articles about dreams. Dreams have always fascinated me. In “How to Change Your Mind,” Michael Pollan’s captivating book about psychedelic drugs, he writes that our dreams are literally as close as we get to “drug trips” without actually ingesting the illegal substances. So whether we remember it or not, we’re all tripping every night. Right on! And somehow, “it’s Freedom Rock, man!” just popped into my head.

Back to The Atlantic. Of the handful of articles posted about dreams, the one that resonated with me the most was the one about recurring dreams, particualrly school-related dreams. The one that seems most common (and is referred to in the article) is about forgetting you signed up for a class, only to be reminded of it just before the final, dooming your planned graduation. I don’t recall ever having that one. But I do have two recurring dreams:

  1. The first one is actually school related: I can’t for the life of me ever remember my class schedule – and I find myself not knowing what class to go to next and subsequently not knowing what to do. Every day .It results in me just missing classes, never knowing my schedule and panicking.
  2. This one is hockey-related. I have somehow “made it” to the NHL and I’m in the locker room before the game, when I realize there’s a skate missing. Or perhaps some other piece of equipment that won’t allow me to play. I desperately look around for it and grow more and more despondent with each passing minute. I miss the warm-up. I hear the National Anthem from the locker room. I hear the roar of the crowd as my sadness in the locker room grows. The game begins. But I never get to experience it.

So the question I’ve always asked myself is “why these dreams?” The Atlantic, as they do, investigated this with Deirdre Barrett, a dream researcher at Harvard University and author of two books tied to sleep and dreams (I guess she has a dream job! Cue dad joke here).

“…these dreams tend to pop up when the dreamer is anxious in waking life, particularly about being evaluated by an authority figure.”

Kelly CONABOY (The atlantic, 9/22/22)

Well there you have it. Even at the age of 51, I’m still thrilled to learn and will definitely try to be more cognizent of what is going on in my life when these dreams appear.

In addition to encouraging us to connect the dots between our dreams and meaningful things in real life, the article also surmises that school-related panic presents in our sub-conscious and dreams so often because it is such a foundational part of our lives and where (arguably) a huge amount of life skills were instilled. This makes sense to me, though at this point school years (let’s call it 17) make up just 33% of my waking life, so I believe it to be more than that.

So what recurring dreams do you have? Leave a comment!

Anyway….happy tripping, er, dreaming.

They Live Inside My Head, They Come To Me In Bed

I mentioned a couple of months ago about my recurring dream where I’m in my last semester of college and I remember that I’m failing a class because I thought I dropped it, but I didn’t, so I have to scramble to figure out what to do. I have that dream once every few months.

Last night, I actually got to take an hour and read the latest issue of Men’s Health magazine, which has been sitting in my mail bin at home for who knows how long. In the “Ask Men’s Health” section, the following question appeared:

Q: I graduated from college years ago, but I have a recurring dream about failing a class. What’s it mean? Stephen, Albany, NY asks

Ask Men’s Health Answers:
An armchair analyst would guess that you’re afraid of failing at something — a new work project, an upcoming athletic endeavor, or possibly even a romantic relationship. And so would a professional analyst. “This is one of the three most common recurring anxiety dreams, next to being naked in public or being chased by something,” says Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard medical school and the author of Trauma and Dreams. As for why the dream has you back on campus, Barrett says that “college was the last time you took tests that were based on your performance.” So take the hint from your subconscious: Step back and try to identify the high-stakes situation in your life that’s prompting the panic, and then start finding concrete ways to improve your odds of success.

Hmmmm. Interesting. I suppose there are plenty of high-stakes situations in my life right now, two of which sleep down the hall from me. But I’ve had these dreams since college, so I can’t say with any degree of authority that the babies are causing it. I suppose another would be my job, where part of my compensation is based on performance. But again, that hasn’t always been the case, either. Maybe I’m just afraid to fail in general. I know I’ve never had a dream about being naked in public or being chased by something, though.

Quick 2 points for anyone who can, without Googling, name the source of today’s subject line.

BTW, this is ROCKIN’ cool! Hat tip to Leo for pointing it out:

One Day At Fenway – Letus Extreme Film – Time Lapse – HDTV from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

Pranksters Curse Their Chickless Plights

Another recurring dream I have: I’m still in high school and for whatever reason, I keep forgetting my class schedule. I never know when I’m supposed to be in which class and I never can figure out where in the building I should. It’s a never-ending stream of running around trying to find my schedule and trying to figure out where I should be. Weird.

I found this story in the “Odds & Ends” section of the Boston Globe this morning. I only point it out because it sounds very much like the stuff we used to do in high school. During my senior year, we pretty much cleaned out the local supermarket with plastic forks at least once a month. They’re super cheap and I tell you what, no matter how many times you “fork” someone’s lawn, it is always, always funny. Very funny, in fact.

Other pranks we pulled:

  • taking “for sale” signs from houses and putting them on the front lawn of our friends houses. You could also make this more complicated. For example, we once grabbed a bunch of “open house” signs and made it look like one of our friends was having an open house. We even put an open house at the end of his road with the arrow pointing.
  • many people put their garbage out the night before, so we would go and collect as much as we could from around town and pile it ALL on a friends driveway. We made some pretty incredible piles of garbage. I can only imagine what the trash men thought.
  • One of my favorites: the remote controls for cable TV back then were all pretty much identical. We’d go out around the neighborhood and switch people’s channels on occasion.
  • An odd one: we’d go and buy about two pounds of sliced bologne from the supermarket and go out and fling it on whatever we could – cars, street signs, whatever. We’d do this for a couple of reasons: a) it was totally ridiculous, b) it stuck to ANYTHING and c) watching it fly like a frisbee, THEN stick to something was terrific entertainment!
  • What were your favorite pranks?

    Dream Another Dream

    Ever since the babies arrived, I continue to have vivid, fascinating dreams. For instance, last week I had a dream that I had the ability to touch anything made out of rubber and make it larger or smaller with my mind. I don’t even watch Heroes, either. Someone at work told me about the premise of Heroes after I told them my dream. Weird.

    The other dream was horrible and vivid. I had a dream that I was in West Boylston, Massachusetts with some business friends and some personal friends. We were in the parking lot of a strip mall and screwing around in someone’s store. Everyone was drinking and partying and having a good time. As we were all leaving, some of my friends were going one way and I was going another – I felt like I was too drunk to drive so I decided to walk to the house I grew up in out in Lancaster. As I was walking up a small hill, I turned and saw one of my friends get run over by a police car and was killed. Then I ran like hell and on my way home, encountered several very odd gatherings and people: A group of firemen who were testing out a new pain machine to see how much pain they could endure. They tried to get me to do it, but I wouldn’t. I also came across people maintaining sand dunes near the Wachchusett Resivoir who kept following me.

    The next morning, my picture was all over the newspapers as being a mystery witness. Apparently the police caught me on a security camera just before I started running and they were looking for me all night. Other than my friends who gave statements to the police, I was the only other person who witnessed it. I spent the morning trying to figure out if I should stay silent or come forward and give a statement. I don’t know what else happened, but it was one of those dreams where I would wake up kind of freaked out, be glad I woke up, but then fall back asleep and the dream would just pick up right where it left off. Damn.

    I now have to send an email to my friend to make sure she’s ok.

    Now playing: John Lennon – Working Class Hero
    via FoxyTunes

    Electric Jeffreyland

    My air of confidence in regards to changing light fixtures came to a crashing halt this weekend when, feeling cocky, I decided to try to replace/install the light in our new hallway, which is on a three-way switch. A three-way switch is when there’s two switches. Go figure. I should have known not to mess with it. Anyway, it didn’t appear complicated until I found an extra red wire hanging down from the outlet box and I didn’t know what to do with it. So I did what any clueless homeowner would do – I tried all the options. First I connected it to the black wire (hot). I thought I was successful, because the light came on. Any hope was dashed however, when the light wouldn’t turn off. So I took the red wire out and just capped it. No luck. No on or off. The only other option was to connect it to the white wire (neutral). All that did was trip the breaker. So what’s left, you ask: a half-hanging light with one red wire sticking out of it. Time to call the electrician!

    I had an interesting dream this weekend: it was the present (2008) and myself and some high school friends went to see Jimi Hendrix perform live in some weird venue. He was performing in a school-like hallway somewhere that had balcony seating above it. Hendrix looked his age when he died in the early ’70s, but it was 2008. He also came up into the crowd during one song and gave out candy bars to everyone. The only other thing I can remember about the dream was that I was in a diner somewhere before the show and I had a raspberry Slush Puppie that turned my mouth blue. That’s some kind of reference to my youth hockey days, when I used to get Slush Puppie’s after practice or games in Northborough, MA.

    Last night I made a Chicken Parmesan, complete with homemade tomato sauce and all. It came out great and it was quite easy. The crust was 2 slices of wheat bread, crumbled in the blender. You combine that with a little oil and parmesan cheese and toast it in a skillet. Coat one side of the chicken with a very small amount of mayo and dip that side into the crumbs, then put it in the oven for about 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, add some of your sauce and some mozzerella cheese on top of the chicken and cook until the chicken is done. Next, and most importantly, enjoy.

    Now playing: Bobby Bare, Jr. – The Heart Bionic
    via FoxyTunes