The Porthole Dream

My late mother-in-law dominated one of my dreams last night.

I was on her ship. To my knowledge, this woman never owned a boat, never mind a large ship.

While I’d been with her, visiting, I was preparing to leave. Outside the ship, I was aware that it was heavily storming. Large waves rocked the ship. Winds howled. Sheets of rain fell from black iron skies.

I needed to go, to catch my flight, to go home. But first, well, there was the matter of my laundry. Done washing, I needed to put them into the dryer. I couldn’t open the dryer, though.

Men came to help. I gathered through conversations that they were my mother-in-law’s brothers. Appreciating the assistance, I managed to get the wet clothing into the dryer. Now I needed to get myself ready. Needed to shower and shave.

I went into the bathroom. A porthole was open. Ocean water came nearly to the porthole, terrifying me. “This should be closed,” I said to myself. I felt that I couldn’t close it without permission.

Leaving the bathroom with a backward look at the porthole, I encountered my mother-in-law in the hallway. “I was thinking, Mike.” (She’d always called Mike, her and her husband, although I went by Michael with my wife and the world.) “There’s no reason for you to go to the airport to catch your flight. You can catch it here.”

Although some part of my brain in the dream protested, I’m sorry, but we’re on a ship, that’s not possible, I said, “Are you sure? Is that possible?”

“Yes.”

“I wouldn’t want to be a bother.”

“No bother at all. It’ll save you time.” She walked off, as was her habit, as she finished her comment.

“Great,” I answered, then went after her. “There’s a porthole open in my bathroom. I think it needs to be closed. The water is about to come in. We could get flooded.”

“Okay, go ahead and close it,” she replied.

Happily, I returned to the bathroom and closed the porthole. I felt much better about that.

“Your flight is almost here,” one of the brothers told me.

I wasn’t ready. “Okay,” I called back. After rushing through my shower and shaving, I dressed while hurrying out to empty my clothes from the dryer. They needed to be packed. I had my suitcase at hand. I was thinking that the flight was early. I was thinking, how can the aircraft land on ship? Was it going to land on the sea? I was thinking, how can it land in this weather? I was thinking, I want to pack my clothes neatly but I need to get them into the suitcase and get going. I was thinking, there’s so much to do, and I feel so rushed. I was thinking, maybe I shouldn’t go now.

Shirt not properly tucked in, wet hair uncombed, suitcase open, clothes half in it, I declared myself ready to go.

Dream end.

The Mall Dream

A dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic world had arrive in the U.S. It wasn’t extreme. Shit had happened. Infrastructure and governments were failing, oil and gas were limited, food and water were scarce, and security was precious.

Somehow, I’d taken over a large mall.

I established myself as its ruler and then set up a society to live within it. I’d managed to make it secure, acquire food and drink, and we were generating power. Details aren’t available.

Friends of different times in my life heard of it. A large horde of them arrived as refugees. Everyone from childhood to the recent past were represented.

After greeting them outside on a sunny day, I took them in, assigning them spaces and familiarizing them with basic concepts: everyone works, no physical violence or abusive behavior, and respect one another. Break one of these, once, and you’re gone.

They quickly settled in. One favorite old friend, Don, became de facto representative of that particular group. He ended up hanging out with me a bit. They had suggestions for improvement. I thought them good and adopted the suggestions.

Meanwhile, I had two Mazda Miatas and gas for both. Both were green but different shades, with the new one being darker, almost forest green. I often drove the older one around. On this day, I decided to take the newer one for a ride. I invited Don along.

But first, I went around pissing on the mall floors. I pissed copiously, everywhere. I was then ready to go, but then regretted pissing everywhere. “I shouldn’t have done that,” I told Don. “I need to clean that up.”

Don, his cheerful, relaxed self, answered, “Don’t worry about it. We got you covered.” He pointed out there, where everyone was already mopping up my mess.

That’s where it ended.

The Paying Dream

What else to call it? I begin in a modern, well-lit grocery store. I’m at the register to pay. The total is $15.87. I have the money to cover it, pay, take my plastic bag of goods, and leave.

I don’t know what I’m buying. Again, I’m there. Paying at the register. The total is twelve something. I debate about using my debit card or paying cash. I pay cash, figuring that I have just enough.

I’m walking into the grocery store to shop. It’s modern, well-lit, and busy. (The store is always modern, well-lit, and busy throughout the dream.) I’m at the register. The total is twelve something. I don’t have cash on me. I decide to pay with my debit card. I do so without a problem.

I’m back in the store again, at the register, paying for my purchase. It’s later in the day but still bright and sunny outside. I decide to use my debit card. I struggle to use the card right. Then I struggle with the PIN. Impatience wells up in the shoppers behind me, rushing out of them as agitated comments. “I don’t understand,” I say. “I just used it this morning and it worked fine.” I finally pay, grab my bag, and go.

I’m driving into a parking space in front of the grocery store. Sunlight flashes off the car’s windshield. It’s a light blue convertible, but I don’t know other details. I enter the store to shop, then I’m in line to pay. The total is fourteen something. I don’t have the cash for it. I debate between using my debit card and my credit card. I use the debit card. It doesn’t work, exasperating me. I go to the credit card. I slide the wrong side through, and then slide the right side, but then realize my card has a chip and the terminal has a chip reader. I pop the card in but can’t remember my PIN for it. I can’t believe I’m having such trouble remembering my PINs.

I’ve not noticed the cashiers before. They’ve never said or done anything as I went through my paying problems. But now, a manager comes over, big, white, middle-aged guy, short-sleeved mustard-yellow shirt, black tie, small mustache. He comes to the terminal and does something to override it and process the card. Then he says, “You know what you need to do?”

“No,” I reply, “what?”

But he’s not talking to me. He’s talking to someone behind me. I turn to see them. The dream ends.

A Dream of Losing Things

Honestly, it disturbed. A resolution that satisfied me never emerged, and I’m uncomfortable with what I seem to be telling myself.

I began by losing my direction. Nominally happy, I was in one place and needed to go to another. A sprawling, multi-leveled place, it was well-populated by like travelers going from one place to another. The site seemed to be a mixed-use center for business, retail, and residences, but it was huge, about the size of my small town (six square miles), and at least five levels, perhaps more, and busy. While going outside to go from one area/level to another was possible, I mostly stayed within.

Leaving one place, I was hurrying along. But where was I going? I thought I knew but then thought, oh, shouldn’t I be going the other way? Retracing my steps didn’t work; apparently I took a wrong time. Now I didn’t know where I was to go. Others were there and talking to them gave me some clues. But, just as I was getting underway, I inexplicably took off one of my shoes. Chocolate brown suede, I dropped one shoe, gasping with disappointment as it went straight down a square cutout and down several levels. Before I could continue on, I’d need to descend to retrieve my shoe.

All kinds of problems entered my mind about this, like, how was I going to go down at least two levels and find the shoe? What if someone took it away before I reached it? I tried shouting down for others’ attention, thinking someone might be able to throw my shoe back up to me. No one responded. With a rueful grin, I accepted that I’d need to find my way down there.

Meanwhile, I removed my other shoe, thinking it’d be more comfortable to be walking in my socks rather than with one shoe. So, carrying my remaining brown suede shoe, I searched for the nearest steps, elevator, whatever, down. As I went, I lost my other shoe. Now panicked, other worries struck. Did I have my laptop? I think I left my laptop behind. Panic exploding, I started checking my cases. I had two over my shoulders, one gray and one black. Both were laptop cases; no laptop in either. I was carrying empty cases.

Rushing back to my origins, I hunted the room where I’d been, hoping that I’d left my laptop there. I was somehow turned around, though, and ended up lost in somewhere entirely new. Finding a map and talking to people, I learned that I was far from where I’d begun and had little idea how to get back to where I was. Retracing my steps would be ideal but I was clueless.

There it was: I’d lost my shoes, my laptop, and my way. I was in a place where I didn’t know with little idea of where to go.

Classic anxiety dream.

Identity Dream

Surprisingly, this dream wasn’t about the military. It’s a surprise because it has the feel of one to me. I was a military brat, who then joined and served twenty years. I moved on to civilian careers after retiring from the military and did okay, but my heyday was in the military.

I was in an office. A report needed to be sent. For some reason, this was an urgent concern for which we in the office weren’t ready. Send a report? What? How? Oh, the computers were out…hmmm, that sure reflected my Sunday computer frustrations.

Improvising in the dream, I procured an old electric typewriter, sat down, and typed up a draft report. While I was typing, I needed to piss. I did it under my desk, shocking my young employee. I did this three times. His shock turned to disgust by the third time. I was also shocked by the third time that I peed under the desk, vowing not to do it again.

Then I submitted the report to my boss. He surprised me by saying, “That’s not necessary.”

“We’re not submitting it?”

“No, we were told we don’t need to.”

“Who told us that?”

“A higher power. They’re submitting it.”

“Okay, if that’s what they want.” That was a task that I didn’t need to do, so I was satisfied. After informing my staff, we called it a day. I changed clothes (right there in the office) and rushed out to meet a friend, Ted.

He was there, waiting for me. “About time,” he told me. I apologized for being late, but he laughed it off. “I’m just bustin’ your ass. I ordered food for you.” He pointed over a railing. Below was a dining room. One table was set. A large sandwich with french fries was on it.

“That’s for me?” I asked. “That’s too much, but thanks.”

“No worries. But first we need to get inside.”

Get inside? Yeah, apparently there was a process. Ted knew it. “You need to show your ID,” he told me.

I said, “Yeah, I got it. It’s just…it was in my pants, and my pants were caught in a flood. I changed pants but everything in my wallet is soaked.” Pulling out my identification, I showed Ted a limp, soaked piece of rectangular paper.

He laughed at that. I took it to the woman manning the entrance. I was embarrassed but she laughed. “No, it’s alright. I heard your story. I feel your pain. You need to get a new identification.”

Card, I wanted to correct her, but other customers were arriving. Ted hustled us through, thanking the woman as he did. We went down to the table. There was more food and drink than I’d seen before, including a large, cold beer.

Although grateful, I gaped at the food and worried. “I don’t have that much money, Ted.”

Ted waved that off. “Don’t worry about it. It’s taken care of.”

The dream ended as I sat down to eat.

More Stormy Dreams

A series of powerful, uplifting dreams rolled through me last night.

Each one presented an unusual or alarming situation, and all had to do with weather phenomena. I often dream about weather. It’s like a standard element in my dreams. I suspect that’s true for many people.

In the first dream, I was striving to go up a sparsely vegetated steep mountainside. I felt it imperative that I reach the top. Strong winds were slamming me back. Not only did it seem like the winds were slowing me down, but seeing a precipice not far away, I thought, “I’m going to blow off this mountain.” Trying to hang onto something, anything, damn it, everything kept falling away. First a walking stick snapped in half. Shoved back past trees, I lunged for branches. I missed at first, then caught some, which promptly broke. Though I windmilled my arms to grab another branch, the wind took me from the trees.

Dropping to the ground — whether I fell or did this deliberately wasn’t clear — I saw a handle in the earth. Seizing it, I thought, why is there a handle here, and then gathered, its a tree root.

All this is in sharp relief because, bang, I awoke to the sound of the wind beating our bedroom blinds. Which, I thought, with a chortle, closing the window, was probably what prompted that dream. It’s also somewhat of a recurring dream, this against the wind on a mountainside motif.

Back asleep in seconds (so it felt), I found myself alone in a pouring rain. Was it day or night? So deep and thick was the rain, I couldn’t tell. The crashing precipitation veiled the world in heavy gray wool but also battered my face as I tried to see, forcing me to protect it with my hands. Yet, I also needed my hands to hold on.

With that realization, I saw that I was ankle deep in cold water. I needed to get somewhere higher, but looked for escape and couldn’t see any. I thought I saw something yellow but it came and went too fast for me to confirm it. Deciding there must’ve been something, I forced myself that way.

The water was over my knees and its current was increasing. Fighting the current was sapping my strength. I couldn’t see and needed my hands to hold onto something that I’d found — couldn’t tell what, and it was wet and slippery — but then let go to try to wipe rain off my face.

I fell backwards into the water. The current immediately victimized me. My head went under. I gulped water and struggled for air while fighting to stop myself and get the fuck up as the water carried me along like a leaf.

My back came up against something hard in the flood waters. I didn’t know or care what it was but used it to leverage myself up. Right then, I turned my head to get my face out of the rain, and saw a yellow light. Rectangular, it was a door or window, and very clear and yellow against the gloom. I headed for it…

And was again awakened. I don’t know what woke me — cat, wind, my mending arm in pain from being in a contorted position, or general discomfort. The dream haunted me while my mind chased connections between the first dream and the second. Similarities were easily seen. I meditated on them as a cat found me, purring in the dark as I drifted off again.

I wasn’t alone in this dream, but with friends and family. Clear and balmy, the weather didn’t seem to be a factor. I’m not sure if we were on a picnic or at a celebration or what the deal was. Everyone was chatting and laughing, and a gay mood generally prevailed. Food on platters and in bowls crowded tables.

Yet, I found myself growing wary, and while that happened, I distanced myself from the rest in search of what was disturbing me. I hunted clues for it like one of those games presented in a ‘spot the difference’ diversion in a newspaper or magazine. I felt suspicious, like I was leery of something sneaking up on me, which seemed unreasonable. The weather seemed clear and everyone seemed happy. Why shouldn’t I be relaxed and happy?

I awoke and guessed the time: yep, seven twenty-five. My cats have trained my bladder to awaken and pee then. They (the cats, not the bladder) clamored for food and attention but I wasn’t yielding to their demands. I didn’t feel rested; I wanted more sleep. Yet, oddly, reflecting on these three dreams as I lay in bed, I felt fortified, like I’d endured something and came out stronger. And my mood, when I finally acquiesced to the inevitable and got out of bed twenty minutes later, seemed upbeat.

All these dreams are part of my regular dreamscape, presenting some variation of theme. This time, I thought they were like a weather storm system, moving through and clearing my subconscious as fronts will do in a region. It feels like that, because the day seems hopeful with promise.

Or just maybe, that’s the coffee.

Another Self-Flagellating Dream

No whips of any kind were in this dream, except the brutal emotional ones most of us employ on ourselves. This was a classic mélange of frustration and anxiety.

It began as a military dream. Whether this is true, I remembering being partially awake and telling myself, “Not another military dream.”

Then I wasn’t in a military dream. I was instead outside, with others. We were all all students and were scheduled to give an all-important final presentation. We’d already done one. Using feedback, we were supposed to go back and improve it.

But here I was, not at all fucking ready. It was time to go and I wasn’t dressed. I hadn’t changed my presentation, either.

I told myself, I can do this! Others began leaving for class. One reminded me that I needed to be there on time. The doors would close and lock at eight. If I wasn’t there, I would be failed.

Sure, I wasn’t worried.

Knowing that I needed to change clothes and my presentation, I went in the opposite direction of everyone else. What was I going to wear? How was I going to change the presentation.

I didn’t have answers. Time was running out. I decided, I’d wear what I had on – a red sweater with black pants – even though I’d worn those yesterday. And, by not changing clothes, I could make changes to the presentation.

Time was running out, and I’d wasted so much of it. I rushed toward class.

A bell was ringing.

I wasn’t going to make it.

I partially awoke. Thinking of the dream, I decided, I can change the outcome. Go back, dream again, and change the outcome.

I’m usually not bad at doing this. Today was a failure.

I went back. Time was running out. I would take a short-cut to get to the room. Rushing down a long flight of stairs, I came to another hallway.

It ended.

It was the wrong hallway. I couldn’t reach my class room from there.

A student and a security guard were sitting there, talking about another, but the details reflected my own situation. The student asked, “What if they’re late?”

The guard replied, “It doesn’t matter. I close the doors and lock them.”

“But what if they’re really trying?”

“Doesn’t matter. The doors are locked, and they fail.”

I started back up the hall to head for my class room. I found myself there.

The door wasn’t locked. I opened it and entered.

Everyone looked at me. The teachers (two) looked at me. A classmate said, “You’re in the same clothes. You didn’t change.”

The dream ended.

Mixed Dreams

Weighing dreams on the scales. There was another flying dream, brief but intense. I wore goggles in this one. The wind tore at my face. An insect flew into my mouth.

My sputtering and spitting marked the end to the flying portion. In a dream picosecond, I’m in the military somewhere, temporary duty somewhere, finishing up. A woman, a major is present. She came in for the same conference. I talk to her about sharing a ride to the airport. Plans and agreements are made.

Time skips ahead. It’s later than I thought. I need to rush. I haven’t packed! I need to check out, too. The airport is ninety miles away. No, it’s ninety minutes away.

I need to hurry.

I’m racing, explaining to the front desk, I order a ride and tell them where to meet me. Hurrying to the room, I shower and change clothes. Shoes! Where are they? Oh, I’ve packed them. Where’s my thing, where‘s my toilet kit?

Anxiety ratchets up.

I see a car, a silvery blue sedan, like a Buick. A woman is driving. My ride, I think. I wave at her. She parks and leaves her car. I shout over, “I need more time, I’m almost ready.”

She walks over and starts following me. I’m talking to her, babbling. We’re at once outside and in the room. I finally find my toilet kit — I’ve already packed it. Damn it, where’s my head?

And the woman says, “I’m not your ride. I’m your replacement. How was your visit?”

In morning’s warm light, it all makes sense. The military was a comfortable space. Not very challenging, and straightforward. Structured, with few surprises, and a lot of positive feedback.

Now I’m out on my own, flying on my writing words but so damned dismayed. Is it smart enough, original enough, good enough?

Where is my toilet kit?

I know. Standard writer qualms. Standard human qualms.

Standard life qualms.

See ya.

Depressing Dream

The highlight of this depressing dream…

My wife and I were in a car’s backseat. A man was driving. We were on what seemed like an unpaved road. Hard to say; it was snow covered.

Suddenly, ahead – a fawn.

The driver was talking and slow to react.

Then, “I think I hit it.”

The car is stopped. We’re all looking back. I’m saying to my wife, “I’m not surprised, he wasn’t paying attention.” The car behind us avoid us.

Then, a big tanker truck arrives.

The fawn did not make it.

The tanker truck didn’t even slow.

Yeah, depressing. Definitely an anxiety dream about the present, about people not caring, not paying attention, and being helpless to do jack about it.

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