I awoke from my ugly nap this afternoon in a mood most foul. I was involved in playing cards (Euchre) with others and the last hand was one I thought I could do well with. Another gentleman declared trump and I felt I had a very good chance at setting him. I then discovered the rules (in this game, not in the real world) required my cards to be taken to another table and played by a woman that had not demonstrated much of an understanding of the game. I was incensed, screaming that there were two ways to play the hand, the right way and one that “might possibly have a chance of winning.” I then awoke without knowing which way the hand went, but furious none the less.
Staring at the ceiling I contemplated what had just occurred (while waiting for my blood pressure to return to normal). In general, I am an even-tempered person, not often riled to the point of violent expression of emotions. Unlike some people I am related to, I don’t scream loudly or throw things when events don’t go the way I think they should. Most of the time I simply express my hope that the horrific drivers around me actually MAKE it to their destination rather than express my gratitude that they’re “number one” in my book by hand signals. I’m pretty calm overall.
Until I fall asleep. From acts of violence against others worthy of at least an “R” rating (and hours of cleanup by stagehands afterward) and property damage requiring incarceration prior to judgement, to leg-buckling events of terror beyond the imagination of King or Hitchcock. I often awake drenched in a cold sweat, heart palpitation violent enough to consider ringing for the attendant (there’s a medical call string in my apartment that notifies the authorities to come and assist…presuming your “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moment occurs within a couple feet of the bed or toilet). Or the need to change pillowcases after they are discovered swamped with tears of sadness. (On second thought, this doesn’t count as I find the crushing waves of despair and loneliness occur during waking moments, too….)
So why the greatly amplified expression of emotions in my dreams? Perhaps this is a way of retaining my sanity against the madness of the greater world in the land of light. By experiencing and expressing these emotions in the privacy of my own head (which I would never do in the real world) I am then able to keep a relatively even keel in public. I don’t have to “go postal” at the incompetency of my clerk or waitstaff because I have already vented enough pressure during the darkness to keep in control.
Also, why do I continue to go to work delivering propane to clients in the night, when this part of my occupation history ended in 1990? Or wander through the same school campus between unknown classes I am inevitably late enough to watch other students depart from as I approach? At least I find most elevator shafts actually contain a car when the doors open (which they rarely did in my younger years… but the sensation of awakening just as you hit the bottom from a great height and floating to the top of your mattress as your eyes opened eventually became a thrill rather than a terror). What perverse need is there in the depths of my psyche to torture me nightly with a “night life” more boring than my real one, so much that the memory of what transpired evaporates within the time it takes to return from the bathroom. And then, just as unexpectedly as opening the door to the Publisher’s Clearing House crew, I am subjected to wild acts of debauchery and decadence requiring the rating board to turn away in horror, hastily slapping a MA rating or worse on my subconscious life.
Were there a pattern, some explainable reason why the cinema of the mind chooses which film to show on any given night I could better deal with the confusion. Part of my daily journal keeping includes recording such dreams as I can remember (by the time I get up and fire up the computer…maybe 1 in 10 overall?). Also included in the journal is a rambling account of the day’s events and food choices for meals, so I have been able to examine at least some of the surrounding events leading up to a significant dream event. I have never found any correlation between eating anchovies on my pizza (Yumm… I know, I’m weird) and driving a truck later that evening. Or enough variance in my drab existence to justify ripping the still-beating heart out of my nearest attacker while war rages around me.
And don’t get me started on the couple of times I was able to experience lucid dreaming. Oh, how I’ve tried to set up the joy of being fully in control of my surroundings while aware it was all a dream. The movie Inception only got it half right when everything aligns during a lucid session. Flying and changing your surroundings with a wave of your hand is AWESOME! And rare enough to awake to extreme frustration that the movie ended a quickly as it did.
What I’m left with is a Wheel-Of-Fortune method of determining what channel appears each night (or afternoon in this case) and my ticket is non-refundable. This is just another example of why I think Rod Serling is present in my apartment. (If I just whip my head around fast enough I think I can get a glimpse of him standing behind me….)
So, what I want to know is this, within the theater of my mind, where presumably I have season tickets to my own private screening of life as I think it woulda/coulda/shoulda be…
Why do I always have to wait in line to buy popcorn?
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