Sure, nightmares can be scary. If you are like me however, when you are experiencing the nightmare you are able to tell yourself that it’s only a dream and will be over shortly. I also have about a dozen or so recurring nightmares and because they are like movie reruns I know how they will end and I know that they are just dreams with no connection to my reality.
It’s another kind of dream that makes my hair stand up on end and the fear doesn’t even begin until long after the dream is over. These are the dreams in which you see something occur and then when you are awake and living your life that same something occurs for real. Or in a similar vein when you are awake, a sensory cue appears out of nowhere that had a direct connection to the dream making you wonder if you are awake or still asleep. These occurrences lend credence to the possibility that life itself is just a dream. I’ve only had this experience three times, once many years ago, but troubling for me, twice in recent weeks.
The first occurrence some twenty four years ago went like this. I was working as a maintenance man for a Catholic Church and school. We had a crew of three plus a supervisor. Twice a week the supervisor would treat us to coffee and bagels. Each of us workers was responsible for treating to the snacks once per week. On the night before I was to treat I was worried that I didn’t even have enough money handy to afford treating the crew. Because my bank opened at 9 a.m. and I began work at 7:30 a.m., I wouldn’t be able to make a withdrawal. I didn’t have a credit card to use an ATM.
That night I had a dream that I was scrounging around my golf bag and found money in it. It is noteworthy that I hadn’t used my golf clubs in at least six or seven five years. When I awoke the next morning I remembered the dream. I rifled through the various pockets in my golf bag and sure enough found five dollars. I pinched myself. I couldn’t be quite sure if I were awake or asleep. I felt joy in having found the money but anxiety over the juxtaposition of my dream world with my real one.
The two recent occurrences have been far more unnerving. In the first one about six weeks ago I had a dream about a high school friend of mine who was an officer for the school marching band much like myself. Now I’ve been out of high school longer than half the world’s population has been alive. Long. I saw my friend clearly in the dream but the following morning I was positively unable to recall who I had dreamed of. Later that morning I was waiting for my wife at the dentist’s office. Rachael Ray was on the television in the waiting area. I do not generally watch television so I was not paying attention to the program. However my subconscious must have been tuning in. I heard Rachael saying that the recipe she was working up required her to mince some garlic. Presto! The friend I had dreamed about was one Larry Mintz. I got goose bumps!
The most recent occurrence happened just a week and a half ago. On the night of April 21, I dreamt about a flock of black ravens flying by me and the oddity of the flock was that the birds had long bushy tails, kind of like those Black Moor Goldfish – the quirky looking fish with bulging eyes. The next morning I was seated peacefully in my back yard. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something big and black pass by. When I turned to look I saw a big old raven eating from the bowl of cat food we put out for the neighborhood strays. That’s not the end of the story though. Later that day, April 22, I was visiting a friend and I helped myself to a copy of that day’s Bergen Record newspaper. On the front page of the local section was a story about my home town of Fair Lawn having to put a big budget repainting job of the township water tower on hold because some resident had spotted you guessed it – a nest of newly hatched ravens on one section of it. This was the story. http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2014/04/ravens_force_20000_delay_in_repainting_fair_lawn_water_tower.html
My friends and family wonder why I’ve been a little jumpy as of late. Maybe this explains it. Insomnia is starting to look like a good thing.