What do you dream about?


What did you dream about last night? Do you remember? Do your dreams include recurring themes?

Dream theories and explanations abound, and while they are interesting, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time studying them. I do start wondering, though, when I keep having the same or similar dreams. Should I be paying more attention? Are they trying to tell me something?

Last night, for example, I dreamed about work — the job I haven’t had since 1998, but where I spent 15 years. Some of the people and much of the situation was straight from reality. And it was all just as contentious and unpleasant. A lot of my dreams — at least the ones I remember — are about people and situations from that job. And never the good times. Always the bad ones.

At some point in the dream, I couldn’t find my car. Another recurring theme. It’s always the car I have now, the one I’ve had for 16 years. Same color and everything. Occasionally I even notice the odometer reading or license plate number — the same as it actually is today. I park the car in one of many lots, like those built in odd places  around a college campus or sprawling shopping mall … and then can’t find it when I’m ready to leave. In reality the car is hard to find in a big parking lot because it sits so much lower than almost all the other vehicles, but it helps to be in the right parking lot; in the dreams I often don’t know for sure which lot I left it in.

Sometimes it turns out I can’t find the car because it’s been stolen. And in the dream I think, “This is the seventh time this car’s been stolen!” — counting previous thefts in previous dreams. I keep a running count from one dream to the next. What’s that about?

Another recurring thing that cropped up last night: being unable to use my cell phone to call my parents for help. I couldn’t remember their number and for some strange reason it wasn’t one of the numbers in my phone’s directory. Often I don’t even know how to place a call on the phone, although that didn’t happen last night. True, I only carry a prepaid cell phone for emergency use, so using it at all is a bit of a challenge. (I know that’s probably hard for most of you to even imagine.) The oddest thing about the dream, though, is that my parents have been dead for eight years.

Maybe some of this means I’m having trouble “letting go” of past events (how do you do that, anyway?) or maybe that I’m “living in the past.” Not so odd for someone my age, maybe, but once in a while it would be nice to dream about the happy past.

As a kid, I had two classic recurring dream themes — falling and snakes. Long, terrifying falls through black voids. Or houses full of writhing snakes, with no way out and no place to hide or get away from them. At least I don’t have those dreams anymore.

Oh, and yes, I always dream in color. It’s total reality for me. I can’t imagine dreaming in black and white, though apparently a lot of people do. (If it’s black and white, wouldn’t you know it’s a dream?) Nor can I imagine the luxury of being able to tell myself “This is a dream; wake up!” I understand people can learn to do that.

So anyway, call me weird. Or not. What do you dream about?

One thought on “What do you dream about?

  1. I usually don’t remember my dreams. They say you don’t unless you are woken up while they’re in progress. These days, it’s rare that I get enough REM sleep to have it interrupted. Usually I am jarred out of the deep sleep by a noisy bird or alarm clock, about five hours after I’ve hit the hay. But when I do remember my dreams, they are usually unpleasant, anyway, so no loss.
    I’m glad to be sleeping well; the world is better off when I do. But the dreams certainly aren’t something I look forward to. Reruns. Of bad moments. What kind of deal is that? Why that instead of a great hike in the mountains, or playing with the grandkids, or maybe getting a great new car! A shrink and I could have many long, interesting, expensive conversations about it, no doubt.

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