I can’t recall specific great dreams or even my worst nightmare (who would want to?) so I thought of some recurring themes.
1. Banshee. My father told me about the banshee when I was a kid. So wailing winds combined with the tree branches scratching my window and an overactive imagination led to some terrible nightmares of ethereal keening figures hovering outside my bedroom. This is why I never read James Joyce or other Irish literature – blame my Dad.
2. Pablo. So Pablo is my guardian angel.I had a dream to that effect my senior year in college when I was in great distress. Pablo is about 6 feet tall with caramel skin, brown wavy hair and green eyes. One time, I thought I saw Pablo in real-time – that’s a long story. But I still remember the first dream where I met him and it was beautiful and sad. Do you believe in guardian angels?
3. Resurrected Pets. Sometimes I dream that now-deceased pets are still alive. Sometimes that have simply not died (even if they are like 27 years old) and sometimes they literally come back to life. None of this is especially comforting because in these dreams, I feel very upset that I didn’t even notice they weren’t dead.
4. Television Shows. Sometimes I dream that I am a character in a tv show like Parenthood or Friends or something. I’ll just be drinking coffee or dropping off the kids at school and suddenly, Sarah Braverman is confiding in me. The thing that is weird in these dreams is that I’m partially aware that I don’t belong in that storyline and partially wanting to change the storyline and fix what I think the writers got wrong. When Charles and Caroline Ingalls started adopting any kid that came down the pike, I was definitely dreaming about life on the prairie.
5. Monsters. When I was a kid watching Ultraman, I developed this terror of monsters – especially Godzilla because there was no escape. He stepped on everything. There was no kryptonite. I used to plan where I would flee if Godzilla came to West Mifflin. I was pretty sure he would be drawn there because of the County Airport and the Bettis Atomic Facility. I also had a recurring bad dream about a half dog/half cat creature that would chase me through the woods. Then it would divide and be two monsters chasing me. Very weird because it was scary but also fascinating.
6. Memory Shifts. Sometimes I dream about things that really happened only they fuse onto something unrelated that also happened. For example, I’ll dream about being at an LSU Football game with my friends and then suddenly those people are transported to Elkton, Kentucky with me and looking for a place to eat. And I’m unsure how to get them to go back to Baton Rouge. Weird collisions of pieces of my life story that don’t seem to fit together.
7. Jackpot/Fantasy. We all have these – hit the lottery, go on The Ellen Show, etc. After someone broke into my car a few years ago and trashed items intended for the Food Bank, I dreamed that Ellen sent me a new car, a tractor-trailer load of food donations and 10,000 tote bags from Cover Girl. Ledcat got to sit with Portia in the audience. I remember dreaming that I won a boat on The Price Is Right and I kept telling Bob Barker that I didn’t want a boat. He poked me in the ribs and told me “we’d discuss it later.”
8. Driving. I’ve been driving since I was 16 and always learned “the back roads” in various places. So my driving dreams can have me head down to Silerville on New England Hollow Road in West Mifflin and come out on Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge, then I make a left and I’m on the GW Parkway in Virginia and looking for the exit to take me to Cranberry Township. And in the dream, this makes sense. Or sometimes I’m trying to get to a certain place, but I’m on the wrong roads.