Bad Dreams

May 15, 2007 at 4:28 am (Uncategorized)

When I was young, I used to have great dreams. Flying dreams were my outright favourite. I had one recurring flying dream I particularly enjoyed. It involved stepping off a ledge at the front of my house, and finding that instead of plunging into the garden below, I took flight, passing over the fence, across the road, and up, up, up into the skies over Sydney.

As an adult, my best dreams involve swimming with whales and dolphins. These are phenomenally relaxing, and when I’ve seen dolphins in my sleep, I always awake feeling refreshed and peaceful. Sometimes I have tsunami dreams – they’re not so hot – and sometimes I dream of alternate endings to situations that upset or traumatised me. Obviously I just can’t let some shit go, like a job I didn’t get and in a very real sense didn’t even want. For some reason, I keep dreaming about the person who didn’t give it to me. Often I dream she changes her mind and offers it to me – naturally then I get to do the rejecting, a la “I wouldn’t take this job if it was the last one on earth.” It amuses me to think my mind is that petty even when it’s supposedly switched off. It scares me to think it’s still hanging on to that little fantasy when the whole thing happened so long ago. Why do I still have that dream?

Anyway, most of the time I have desperately disappointing, banal dreams that are almost embarrassing to talk about they’re so bad. Is that the best my imagination can do?!! Where’s the flying?! Where are the whales?! Mostly I dream of actual people, real places, things that have either happened or might happen in day-to-day life. As if once isn’t enough with some of these things. And it’s not even the interesting bits. No, most of the time it’s the subplot. The minor character. The thing that happens offstage. Bizarre. Oh, and there’s that whole ‘choose your own adventure’ thing, too. The alternate ending. The confrontation. The denouement. I apparently don’t like loose ends.

So last night I had a really unpleasant dream set in the nation’s capital. I went to the ANU in Canberra as an undergraduate, and I must say that overall I had a blast. But I only have a few friends left standing from those university years – others have drifted away, or we no longer have a single thing in common, or we’ve fallen out of contact, or we’ve just plain fallen out. But there was a time not so long ago when I was good friends, so I believed, with a couple more people than I’m friends with now. This isn’t just happening with old university buddies. No, lately I seem to have been at the centre of a real spate of offence. I appear to have alienated quite a few people recently, either through this blog, perhaps, or through some other slight, perceived or actual. I can hardly keep up with the number of people who’ve evidently got the shits with me. Not that anyone has bothered to take it up with me directly. No one has actually said a thing to me, not even in cases where I’ve repeatedly asked if there’s something wrong. No, it seems some people prefer to let bad news or conflict filter down through other channels. Or they like to simply drop me like a tonne of bricks. Whatever the preferred method of giving me the cold shoulder, what I can say is boy, is it chilly in here…? Brrrr!

Obviously this rush of silent hostility and rumoured animosity is bugging me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be dreaming about people lining up to heap abuse on me, which is what happened last night. In the dream, I was walking down a street in Canberra, and I kept coming upon people who in real life, for one reason or another, don’t want to be my friend anymore. On each occasion, I stopped and said hello, and on each occasion they turned toward me and started yelling horrible things at me. It was awful. And I think I’m dreaming this kind of dream because I like resolution. I really, really dislike conflict being left unresolved. If people are upset with me, I really prefer they tell me, so I can do something about it. Or at least so I can say there really isn’t anything I can do about it. Otherwise it’s all just conjecture, and conjecture can create a lot of problems where there were none. I don’t like dealing in conjecture, so I try not to buy into it. But this dream lets me know I have unresolved conflicts of my own. It felt like a cast of thousands berating me in my head.

Some of those people I haven’t seen in years. Some of them hurt me and other people a great deal with their choices. Some of them I really don’t owe a goddamn thing, least of all an apology. I don’t know why those people, those ghosts, were in my head last night. All I know for sure is that we never really hesitate to seize hold of other people’s flaws. I can’t tell you the number of times people have kindly enumerated mine. But I wish we were a little faster to grab hold of the good stuff. I’ve been told my failings as a friend and human being more times than I care to remember. I wish we were all a little more generous about listing and appreciating each other’s strengths instead. I for one might rest a little easier at night.

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