Monday, February 09, 2009

In dreams

Last night I dreamed that I was in a vast, frigid plain that stretched border-to-border across the northern part of Illinois (but south of Chicago). It was a wasteland that was essentially walled off from the rest of the state at the north and south ends. I don't remember why I was there, but at one point I got in a car to drive.

The car quickly built up speed and became uncontrollable. (At one point I was driving backwards.) Try as I might, I could not slow it down. In the dream I could feel how depressing the brakes did not make a difference. I tried throwing it into neutral, which also had no effect, and even into park. That car had a mind of its own. Eventually it did stop, but I have no memory of how that happened.

Although Illinois didn't factor in it, this story may sound familiar because part of this dream was reality back at Thanksgiving. The experience alone was distressing enough, but with this latest vision during sleep I realized that the car that resisted slowing down manifested a recurring dream from my childhood and one that perhaps has continued through my adulthood. (I don't know when the last time was that I had it.)

When I was kid, well before I had a driver's license or temporary permit, there was one dream that would pop up time and again. It might start out differently, but inevitably it would end with me in a car, or behind the wheel of a car, with a mind of its own. It was out of control and could not slow down. It would tear around the streets of my small hometown before shrinking (or find some way to fit into a smaller space) and diving into a hole.

The most common thing the car would disappear into was a grate by the post office. I also have a memory of the car going into the ground floor level of the elementary school, although once inside it seemed to be in more of a sewer system. Or maybe that was after going into the grate. As best I can recall, once the car disappeared down the hole, that was usually the end of the dream.

Since I'm armed with a psychology degree, I can do an interpretation that's meaningful to me now. I have no idea when or why I had the dream as a kid, although I can guess. It's been powerful to acknowledge this dream's role in my sleeping life. It's so vivid that in my mind's eye I can still see parts of that childhood vision as clear as day. I just hope I'm not visited by it again any time soon, although I'll take the dream any day over the real thing.

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At 10:55 PM, Anonymous LittleWit said...

Wow. I am not good at interpreting dreams and whenever I do remember my dreams they are exceptionally crazy.


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