I dream in full Technicolor, surround sound, 3D, sometimes animated, with full sensory input. I don’t know why (although maybe being a narcoleptic has something to do with it,) but over the years I have had some pretty wacky and memorable dreams. I have often wondered what my subconscious was trying to tell me – other times I’m afraid to go there. (The dream guides are vague on what the really large snake means…only because it is covered in polka dots and speaks Italian.) A few of those dreams have stuck with me, and a few of them come back again and again.
I don’t know how many people remember their dreams from the past, but I have a few that are still as vivid as the moment I woke from them. The one I remember from the farthest back, I dreamed when I was 7. (For those of you not close to me, that was 40 years ago – go ahead – do the math… I’m 47.) I remember trying to ride my brother’s bicycle up a staircase. And not just any stairs – these went straight up, made of cement, with a railing in the middle (kinda like the stairs you find in a stadium). The bike had a banana seat and was a rusty sort of blue. The weird thing about the stairs was they were totally isolated from anything else – just blackness and empty space to each side. I remember thinking that this was totally normal. I mean – who hasn’t seen stairs hanging out all by themselves. (Think Zeppelinesk Stairway to Heaven – it was the 70s after all.) And I kept riding up the stairs, the wind pushing at me from one side or the other, the railing cold and smooth when I would reach out to grab it. I would end up going slower and slower, until I finally toppled over the side and fell – waking up on the floor of my bedroom. This particular dream (always exactly the same) continued to haunt me for years – at least until I stopped falling out of bed. Thank goodness my brother Ben always insisted on the top bunk.
But my most memorable reoccurring dream is one that I’m not sure qualifies as a reoccurring one – it is more of a dream that continues to unfold each time it comes back to me. I have this particular dream when I am faced with a life changing decision. I dreamed it for the first time just before my wedding in 1988. And it goes something like this:
I am walking up to a really old house – one that resembles either the Adam’s Family manse or Norman Bates mother’s home. But it doesn’t seem scary. In fact, I think it is beautiful. I have always loved old and decrepit things (insert your own joke here…). In the dream, I understand that we are being given this house as a wedding present and I can hardly believe it. It seems… wait for it… like a dream. (Cue the insane laughter!) I don’t know who is giving it to us, I just know that I have been handed the keys and am allowed to unlock the door. I reach out, insert the key (hmmm, maybe I am starting to understand this dream – only took me 26 years) and… I wake up.
The next time I have this dream is a few years later when I am ready to graduate from college. This time I am allowed to go inside, but only as far as the butler’s pantry. The fact that I know it is a butler’s pantry is weird to me, since I don’t know what one is – but I now have one in my dream house. It is dusty, old, full of cobwebs and the butler (if there ever was one) did a lousy job at keeping the silver polished. Of course, this also describes my style of housekeeping, or lack thereof. I reach out for a plate, sneeze… and wake up.
Over the years, this dream continues to unfold each time I am faced with a major life changing decision. I have seen the drawing room, the billiards room (because I would never be so common as to dream of just a game room), and the weirdest pool I have ever seen. It was in the basement – a brick-lined Olympic sized pool fed from the perfect hot springs. Creepier than sh*t, but fascinating and really cool at the same time. Probably my favorite room in the whole house so far. You could smell the faint sulpher from the hot springs, and the temperature was that of a perfect bath water. I was even allowed to swim in it before I woke. I was on the edge, made a perfect dive into the water – an voila! I am awake.
Where I haven’t been (until last night) was anywhere on the second level. Being recently released from my job, I find myself once again faced with a major life decision – so I have been eagerly waiting for the night this dream would show up. It has been years since I have been back in my house and it hasn’t changed. Each of the rooms that I have been shown are still there – the pool quiet and empty, waiting for someone to jump in (or a creepy monster to jump out), the silver still in need of a good polish (what is wrong with that butler), and the billiard table waiting for the next round.
Finally, after 26 years, I am allowed up to the second floor. The carpeted stairs curve grandly to the balcony overlooking the main hall – the railing polished to a high wood shine by years of hands rubbing over it – the dust puffing up from each tread as I place my foot on it – the silence heavy over the house, so not even the floorboards creak. I move every more slowly up the stairs… until… I wake up. I just wake up. Apparently, I still don’t get to see the 2nd floor. (But at least I didn’t fall out of bed.)
I know that dream interpreters say that houses represent your mind. Okay – that makes sense, this dream shows up when I need to make a new life choice. But what about the style, smells, dust, uniqueness, and slightly creepy place that I dream about. What about the fact that I can smell, feel, and almost taste the atmosphere? Why do I keep falling out of bed? (Never mind that last one.) Whatever, the reason, I have always eagerly awaited the next installment of this dream. It will be interesting to see what opens up when I finally decide on a new job. And what would it mean if that next room I get to explore is the bathroom?
Hmmm. We will just have to wait and see.