Tag: dreams

The Grandpa Dream #3

Last night, I had yet another in the series of “Grandpa” dreams. The dream itself was pretty vague, but there was one part that I definitely remember. At one point in the dream, my Grandpa was having trouble communicating with me and clearly wanted to tell me something. He took a pen and paper, and proceeded to write me a note. When I looked at the note, it was gibberish, and I couldn’t make out what he was trying to say.

I am not one who believes in the symbolic significance of dreams. Frankly, I think Freud was full of crap, and I have read very little credible scientific justification for his theories. Instead, I believe that the purpose of dreams is to help to commit short-term memories to long-term memories. When synapsis fire, they trigger random images in our short term memory–which explains why we often dream about recent events. Any other relationship between dreams and reality, in my mind, is pure coincidence.

And yet, if I were to believe in the Freudian theory of dreams, I might be tempted to read into this dream more than was actually there. I might, for instance, wonder to myself if my Grandpa was not trying to tell me something, warn me of something from beyond the grave, remind me of something. Frankly, I don’t believe any of this and I am certain that my Grandpa would think of me as foolish for even considering it.

But let’s suppose he was trying to remind me of something. What would it be? I wracked my brain on the way into work this morning, considering this. When I got into work, I went through my normal routine, glancing at my email, and then updating my outgoing voicemail with the current date. And as I said the date, I instantly realized what it was that my Grandpa may have been trying to remind me:

Nine years ago today, April 21, 1997, my Grandma died at about 11 AM.

This is a bit of an eerie coincidence, and one in which I am sure many people would fill with all sorts of supernatural nonsense. However, there is a rational explanation for it. First of all, I am very good at keeping dates in my head and I am certain that in the last couple of days, I realized that April 21 was soon approaching and what significnce it held. This thought, kept in short-term memory, would need to be committed to long term memory or done away with. This is the very purpose that the dream function serves. When this memory was triggered, a dream was formed around it–one in which my Grandpa was trying to remind me of my Grandma on this day. Add to this the pure coincidence that the dream took place last night, and you have yourself a complete and rational explanation for something which far too much significance is often attributed.

I suppose that many people don’t question these types of experiences because they provide some kind of reasuring comfort, but they provide no such comfort to me. My comfort comes from understanding, as much as possible, the observable and explainable universe that surrounds me. If I were to search for deeper meaning in the ambigious “message” that my dream-Grandpa scribbled out for me in his chicken scratch it would be his approval of my rational approach to understanding this universe.

The flying dream

Last night, for the second time in a week, I had a dream that I could fly. Last night’s dream was much more realistic, however. I found myself jumping up into the air, and nervously wandering about as high as the tops of the telephone poles before trying anything higher. It was all very smooth and completely under my control. It was probably the best flying dream I’ve ever had. And there was no anxiety either. Back when I was flying airplanes, I would occasionally have anxious dreams about the takeoff or landing (forgetting to call air traffic control, etc.). But not last night. It was very pleasant.

So I couldn’t resist it when I got on the train this morning. I listened to the Theme from Superman. It put a smile on my face.

The Asylum Dream

So I had this dream last night that I was committed to an asylum (why anyone should do such a thing is beyond me). As it turned out, the institute into which I was committed was a Walmart.

I spent the entire dream wondering if I was crazy and also scampering on my hands and knees between the asiles, trying to ellude the various attendants.

Finally, I was caught by a rather strikingly beautiful woman–a creation of my dream, for she resembled no one that I actually know–who was very nice about it all, and explained, gently, that I’d gone mad, completely round the bend, really, and they were here to take care of me.

I tried thinking about what she said, in the dream, while she was leading me out in the Walmart parking lot (again, I have no idea why), but it was too much. I couldn’t think about it. For one thing, the woman was rather distracting and also I had lost my shoes and were wondering where they had gone. It was at about that point that I woke up.

I am the only one to have dreams about being committed? This is the first time this has ever happened to me. And why Walmart. I have never even been inside a Walmart in my life! (To be honest, in my dream, it looked a
lot like Target, but I was certain it was Walmart.)

I must say that a harrowing experience such as this will likely prevent me from going into Walmart in the future, no matter how many prices they slash.

And in a Philip K. Dick-ian kind of way, I have the eerie sensation that I am still trapped in that Walmart, but that I have fallen asleep, and this entire day at work in nothing but a demented dream.

What a night!

I turned out the light to go to sleep just after 9 PM. I woke up shortly after 11 PM and some crazy dream that involved the Incredible Hulk, but of which I can recall no other details. When I woke up, I also had a terrible headache. I took a few more Advil and it was nearly an hour before I could fall back asleep again.

I woke up two an a half hours later, having had an ever worse dream, one that I remembered in somewhat more detail. It was a rather involved dream, but the gist of it was that I tried to play a joke that went rather awry and found myself in lots of trouble. It was one of those dream from which I awoke, thankful it was only a dream.

That wasn’t the end of it either, because round three started when I fell back asleep. The third dream was, perhaps, the most bizarre of all and when I woke up from that dream, I decided enough was enough. I turned on the lights in my hotel room to find that it was 5:11 AM. My alarm was set for 7 AM, but after the night I’d just been threw, I decided that 5 AM was close enough.

I spent about half an hour writing nearly 600 words of a new story, “Blind Date”. This is going to be a relatively short story, and its possible I will finish it up in the next day or two, but I like what I have so far.

Now, I need to shower and get ready for work and I’ll probably head in a little earlier than I intended.

One annoyance about this hotel room. The clock-radio in the room does not display in the dark, for some reason. The numbers don’t glow as they do on most clock radios and so when the lights are out, I can’t tell what time it is in the middle of the night. I have to turn a light on, which is a pain in the neck. Maybe it’s just this clock radio. Maybe the glowing mechanism is busted. I’m going to have to ask the front desk about it.

Laughing outloud in the middle of the night

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, to a strange sound–strangely familiar, actually–and for a few seconds, I couldn’t quite place it. I live close to a railroad line and often hear freight trains sounding their horns in the middle of the night. In a half-sleep stupor that noise can sometimes sound eerie–almost like a human voice wailing.

But that wasn’t the noise.

It took only a second or two, but I finally realized what the noise was–because I could still hear it.

It was the sound of my own laughter.

That’s right, I once again woke myself up in the middle of the night because I was having a dream funny enough to make me laugh outloud. This time, unfortunately, I can’t remember what the dream was, not a single detail. But I do remember that by the time I fully recognized that I was laughing, I was nearly sitting up in bed. That, of course, made me laugh even louder and that in turn scared Zeke (who was curled up at the foot of the bed) who woke suddenly, and jumped off the bed.

Zeke went into the kitchen to nibble at his cat food.

I went back to sleep.

The Grandpa Dream #2

I had a dream about my Grandpa last night–the second time I dreamed about him since he passed away over a year ago. Last night, I dreamed he was alive. Frail, but alive. I helped him move about the house. There was some other vague dream stuff going on, but aside from that, it’s all I really remember.

When I woke up this morning, I tried to figure out why I would have this dream. I’m not a believer in Freud’s dream theory, or any other theory that states that dreams are subconscious wishes or expressions. The best explanations for dreams that I’ve read is that they are the result of the brain’s function of committing memories from short-term storage to long-term storage. So why the dream?

I then remembered that Doug called me yesterday and left me a message asking for the date that Grandpa had died, and that I called him back a little while later and gave him the date. That is probably what triggered it.

It got me thinking, however, how the notion of ghosts and afterlife might have arisen in human consciousness. Perhaps the ideas derived from dreams. In primitive people, the fact that one could still dream about a loved one who had died might have been interpretted by them as the person living on in some afterlife. Perhaps they were seeing the person’s “spirit”. Combine that with the innate desire we all have to live forever and bam!–you’ve got a pretty good explanation for how notions of the afterlife might have arisen.

To me, it just affirms my belief that there is no afterlife, that when we die, there is instead nothingness. This might sound dreary, but I tend to think of it a little more abstractly; Socrates described it as an endless, dreamless sleep–and what sleeps are better than those sleeps where we have no dreams.

Of course, every now and then dreams are nice, and if I get to see my Grandpa again, hear his voice and his laugh, even if it is only a dream, well, who am I to complain?