I had a dream the other night that I was back in Japan, visiting my old school, talking to the teachers who were still there, and it was an intense dream, a vivid dream, the kind that you have when you are a kid but not so much later on in life, when dreams become little more than near-empty waystations between sleep and waking, pit-stops for weary minds.
My firm, scientific, educated opinion is that dreams are completely whack. (You can quote me on that.) I'm not sure what the hell they are; I'm not sure if Freud was onto something or not (I think Freud had some issues, personally. I'm sure he got offended when trying to fix people's problems and they'd just look at him and say: "What are you, Freud?" and he'd say, "As a matter of fact, I am.")
I'm starting to believe that dreams are just the minds way of blowing off some steam. We don't really know the mind really works anyways, right? Amazing that we're able to hold ourselves together for the sixteen, seventeen hours we spend each day on our feet, trying to make our way through life without tripping and falling to the carpet and getting rugburn across our chin. (A weird image, a strained metaphor, but I'm going with it.)
Some things I find odd about dreams:
1) We're always the main characters. Usually, anyways. And there's usually a narrative involved. And we're inevitably the main protagonist, active, excited, scared-shitless participants in our own imaginary, nocturnal escapades. Whenever people wonder about why books or novels or comics are so popular, about why we love stories so damn much, I think back to dreams; I think back to what we do every night when we hit the sack. (No, not that -- the other thing.) For some reason, our brains are hardwired to respond to life's stimuli by creating non-sensical narratives for ourselves, that may (or may) give clues as to our true, most secret intentions and wishes.
2) Dreams are freakin' nuts. I used to have dreams where I was riding a giant bagel down a winding, endless waterslide. Or I dreamt (dreamed? dreamt? which one???) that I was streaking alongside a comet through space as the universe hid its own little shuck and jive to my intergalactic beat. Or I dreamt that I watched Star Trek VI before it came out in the theatre, and that was my dream -- me, in the theatre, watching the movie. (And let me tell you, my dream version of the flick was absolutely awesome. Way better than the real version, though I like that too.) And then there's times when I'm dreaming that I'm reading a book, and in the dream I'm actually reading it, and I'm admiring my writing, and then my dreaming self says 'wait a minute, hold on, you can't be admiring this writing because it's actually your writing, and you're not really reading it at all, buddy -- your eyes are closed'. Yes, yes, that's true, but my eyes get tired when I dream of reading, and how is that possible?
4) Dreams are erratic. When I was a kid, I once had a really long, intricate dream that dissolved into thin air when I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but miraculously, when I went to bed, it was back, unedited, commencing in the same place in the story from where I left it. Swear to god. And then there are other dreams that last for a minute, maybe less, as dream-time, sleep-time, is impossible to register, while other dreams merge and seque into another -- modern-day Ontario, welcome to ancient Egypt...
5) Dreams are scary. Fear in dreams is far deeper, broader and with a greater overall reach than whatever spooky stuff goes down in real life. When I was a child, I dreamt that I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and noticed something hanging from the chan-
delier that hung over our front hallway. That 'something' was, in fact, multiple 'somethings', multiple bodies, in fact, and they were dead and rotted, distorted and bloody, and when I ran into my parents room I found nothing but an old chest that slowly opened to reveal a black-gloved hand holding a pistol. The hand pivoted, pointed, and fired. I tried to scream but no sound came out, and then the shot hit my face, and I died, which was when I woke up. Whoa. That was scarrrrry, boys and girls. Another time I dreamed I was shot, and I slowly, slowly died as I lay on the street, and as I felt my life slink away, again, I awoke. (Maybe in my past life I was shot? Maybe I was J.F.K.? Or Franz Ferdinand? Or some anonymous, hopeless kid on the six o'clock news, caught in the crossfire back in early '75? It's possible.)
3) Dreams hold the key. If there's another world, an alternate dimension parallel to our own, I think it's in dreams that we access it. If there's a soul, a spritual plane to our existence, I believe that dreams are somehow connected. If there are ghosts, and an afterlife, dreams provide the gatekeeper and the gate. In dreams we are free and wild and scared and proud and young and old and whatever it is that our sleeping selves want to be.
If only life were like that.