Dream a Little Dream
Has this ever happened to you? You're sitting in your cube/office, morosely stirring creamer into a hot cup of coffee. Some perky bastard peeks his head in and says, "Hey, Bob (let's assume your name's Bob), you don't look so good."
And you mumble, "I didn't get much sleep last night," and as the jackass gives a quizzical look you say, "just had some weird dreams".
And the asshole sits on your desk and says, "Weird dreams? Man, let me tell you about the weird dream I had last night!". And the prick spends the next 25 minutes telling you about this dream where he was in this place, it was like a haunted house, but it WASN'T a haunted house, see, and he was there with this girl who dumped him in college but he didn't care because in his dream he was married to Jennifer Aniston, which made Brad Pitt jealous so he had to pull out his ninja sword and fight Brad to the death..."
And it goes on and on and on and ON. Nothing is so boring as to hear other people talk about their dreams. Whether dreams are a window into the soul or your brain dumping crap to free up some RAM, dreams are best kept to oneself. A woman I used to work with came up to me one day and told me that she had a dream about me, her, and a big tub of hot fudge. Probably a nice dream, though it gave ME nightmares, as she was a way-scary psychopath who made Glenn Close's character in "Fatal Attraction" look like Mary Poppins.
When I feel compelled to tell someone (almost always my wife) about a vivid dream I had I try to keep it simple:
Me: "I had a dream last night we needed milk."
Wife: "I bought a gallon yesterday."
Me: "Whew! That's a load off my mind!"
My wife tends to go on a bit with her dream explanations, and I try to stay attentive. Sometimes its easier said than done.
Wife: "I had a dream last night I conked you on the head with a shovel, buried you in the back yard, and married Pierce Brosnan. What do you think that means?"
Me: "I think that means tonight I'm sleeping in the gameroom with the door locked and the shotgun across my chest."
I love the "what do you think that means" part of any dream explanation. I'm not Freud, for God's sake. The hell would I know? I don't take dreams too literally. If I have a dream where I'm a cybernautic killing machine and I'm slaughtering the population of Houston, I don't wake up thinking that I have unresolved issues with Texans. Or George Bush, for that matter. My subconscious just wanted a little killspree, and that's it.
I do understand that there are dreams that have "symbolic" meaning. The one where you're in a public place and you're naked, that's a big one, though I don't remember what it's symbolic of. When I have that dream, I'm always trying to find clothes to put on, but no one is standing around pointing and laughing at me. Everyone seems to ignore my nakedness. I don't know if that's a good sign or bad.
The other big nightmare I have is that I have one class to go before graduation, it's in a subject like theoretical polymer chemistry, I haven't been to a class all semester, and I don't even know what BUILDING the class is in. Now, this dream hits a little bit close to home, as I was an attendance-challenged undergrad who actually MISSED his very first college exam. Thought the test was the next day, my bad (still ended up with a B+).
Why is it that those nightmares are so vivid, so REAL, while the good dreams are sketchy and blurred? You know, you're having a dream where you're in the kitchen making pudding, you're making chocolate pudding, you're making gallons and gallons of chocolate pudding and you don't know why, and suddenly here come the USC cheerleading squad! And guess what?! They all want to pudding wrestle!
"Wait!!" the blondest of them asks, wrinkling her pert little nose, "is that chocolate pudding!?"
"Um...yes?" you answer nervously.
"Yay, our favorite!!" she cheers and they all jump up and down and you jump up and down with them and they start waving their pompoms and stripping off their sweater-skirts and its right about this time that one of my motherfucking cats knocks my lamp on the floor because he doesn't like the way the food is arranged in their bowl. And it's hard to return to Dreamland after you've been chasing a cat around the house for 15 minutes while brandishing a 9-iron.
Why do I bring all this up? Because last night I had a poker dream. I don't think I'd ever dreamt about poker before, unless it was strip poker with the Girls of the ACC. In the classic book "The Biggest Game in Town" author A. Alvarez mentions a friend who says he dreams about poker more than sex. Poor bastard, I say, especially if his dreams are like mine was.
I was playing in the World Series of Poker, which for some reason wasn't being held in the Horseshoe or the Rio, but in the dingy basement of someone's house (and, yes, I'm sure it wasn't the Horseshoe). There were two folding tables open and that's what we were playing on. Actually, I wasn't playing, I'd just been knocked out and had taken third place. As I walked away I kept asking how much I won, and no one could give me the right answer. I walked up the stairs that led to the upper floor of the house and started calling my friends and family to tell them how I did, and none of them seemed interested in the news.
That's all I remember about the dream, except for who won. Hasan Habib beat Erik Seidel. Now, more than any explanation for what my dream meant, I want to know why the fuck Hasan Habib and Erik Seidel are characters in my dreams? I mean, I shouldn't be dreaming about Erik Seidel. I don't know that ANYBODY should be dreaming about Erik Seidel, including Mrs. Seidel. From everything I've read and heard Erik is a great guy and an outstanding player, but that doesn't mean he should have a speaking role in my subconscious.
I guess I shouldn't be that upset by it--we WERE playing poker, not something...else. And it's not like I have dreams about poker all the time. Like Saturday night, after the Steeler game, my mind gave me a break and I had a dream that I was riding my bike through the park near my house. That's it, just a bike ride. Nice. Then Sunday night, well, I had a dream that I was at a barbacue in my parents backyard and there was this flash and this gigantic red-orange mushroom cloud blooming over Pittsburgh. Uh-huh. So, the last 3 nights, my dreams have gone something like this:
1. Bike ride through park
2. Hometown annihilated in thermonuclear holocaust
3. Lose World Series of Poker held in basement
I guess what I'd like is some CONSISTENCY. It can't be good for my brain, switching from pastoral calm to atomic nightmare to dislocated normalcy on consecutive nights. I say I should lay off the beer and spicy food, but the one night in the last three I did that Pittsburgh got nuked.
I assure you that I will not be writing any more about my dreams (and especially not if they involve Isabelle Mercier, you hounds). I think tonight a glass of warm milk before bed, that may soothe my psyche. And keep Erik Seidel from disturbing my rest.