Thursday, December 29, 2022

I Dreamed a Dream

The weirdest dream last night...

I was at home in Oakland, Grandmother was still alive, and I think I was in my thirties... I was thin, and had dark brown hair, and felt good, so was somewhere between quitting drinking and getting fat. At any rate, in the dream I discovered that I am naturally incredibly good at baseball, or rather at hitting a baseball far and fast, and I needed to become a good runner to qualify to play baseball, I think for a business league team rather than a pro team, but still I wanted to pursue it. I went to a doctor at Kaiser to discuss what I needed to do to become a good runner, having never run anywhere for very long in my life, and she gave me eight different dietary supplements to take, one of which was a gel substance in clear capsules that hydrated your body so you didn't have to carry water with you. The doctor looked like the psychiatrist I had at Kaiser, but with bigger hair, like Carol Kane, or maybe Blyth Danner.

Anyway, I got home and argued with Grandmother some about I-don't-remember-what, took all my new pills, and went out to go running. And I decided to take our dog Maggie (a lhasa apso who died in 1997) with me, and she ran alongside me through a dream version of my old neighborhood, Crocker Highlands and Piedmont, and even via some space-and-time bending all the way down Tunnel Road past the Claremont to UC Berkeley before turning back. The running felt amazing, just floating along without any effort at all, which is unusual for my dreams, which are usually spent walking or swimming against resistance for incredible distances. 

On my way back up College Avenue, I stopped off to work a shift at a cafe that I apparently worked at, though I'm pretty sure at the beginning of the dream I was working in a corporate-type office that had a baseball team. This happens in my dreams a lot, where I'm in a food counter service job that I don't remember how to do. Anyway, it was sort of an amalgamation of all the cafes I'd worked in before college, and it migrated from College and Ashby where Espresso Elmwood had been to Grand Avenue where the Coffee Mill was (or still is, I don't know). It was a full shift, too, longer than I was asleep for, and had all sorts of dramas and struggles and weirdness to do with patio seating, negotiating power plays between two assistant managers, and something to do with baked goods. 

I took off home after my shift was over and a lot more weird things happened on the way, getting lost a couple of times, finding myself all the way in West Oakland, running on the freeway that looked a lot like the Cypress Superstructure that collapsed in the Loma Prieta quake, and navigating through a terribly complicated dream version of Downtown Oakland to get back home. But still running effortlessly and perhaps even joyfully. What I imagine running feels like to real athletes.

I realized as I was running over the hill on Mandana (which in waking life would have winded me to even drive over) that I'd lost Maggie somewhere along the way, since I hadn't had her on a leash. But I found her by the gas station at Mandana and Lakeshore in a sort of utility enclosure, basically a plywood box built at chest height around a utility pole, where she was hanging out with a small colony of feral cats.  She was happily humping away at a disinterested black and white shorthair, the way she used to do to her littermate and dam and any other small dog she met...I never understood why she did that, some kind of instinctive dominance ploy, I guess. 

I pulled her out of there and started jogging up the hill toward home, Maggie wriggling like crazy to get away from me... oh, and somewhere during the course of the dream, before I lost her even, she'd changed into an entirely different kind of dog, no longer a white and caramel lhasa apso but sort of a cross between a dachshund and an Australian shepherd, with the short legs and pointed nose of the former and the brindle coat of the latter, but she was nevertheless Maggie. 

Anyway, she argued with me the whole way home, wanting to get back to the black-and-white cat she was convinced she'd gotten pregnant, wanting to be there to take care of the babies and be a good father. I had to point out that A) she's a dog, B) she's a female, and C) she was neutered as a puppy, so there was no way in hell she'd impregnated that cat. It did not seem odd in the dream that she talked, any more than that she'd changed shape and color... the sort of thing that makes my dreams really bizarre.

When I got into the house, Grandmother had the kitchen all in a whirl with dishes and Tupperware everywhere, rearranging the cabinets for some reason, and annoyed with me for being gone all day. I wanted to go back out running some more, though, so I looked for my water capsules, but Grandmother had moved them in her mad reorganization and didn't know where they'd gone, so I had to go through all the piles of bowls and utensils and containers, looking for them... and that's when I woke up.

Not the weirdest dream I've ever had, but it was stuck in my head so I had to write it down. Plus I've been thinking a lot about dreams lately, wondering about the phrase I always use when wishing people good-night—"happy dreams!"—and whether or not I've ever had a happy dream, myself, or only anxiety dreams of greater or lesser degree. It has been suggested that perhaps I don't remember the happy dreams because nothing awful or bizarre happens in them to haunt my waking hours, just as you'd never remember a movie or book in which only nice things happened. I kind of like that idea except that it leaves the question of why we talk of ideal situations as "a dream come true" or quests for success "pursuing your dreams" or glibly wishing people "sweet dreams" when they go to bed. 

Anyway, I hope your dreams are perfectly lovely and not at all day-hauntingly weird.

No comments:

Post a Comment