Why do my dreams betray me?

Some day I’ll do some research on dreams and what they are supposed to be telling us. I cannot say I have ever discovered a personal imperative, or gained a vision of what might be, from any of my dreams.

Instead, my dreams seem so often to betray and undermine me. And that’s only the ones I remember. It gives me reason to be glad that’s ALL I remember.

Once in a dream I was cruel to a cat: now that’s not the person who gives due attention to the neighbour’s beautiful Burman who comes in and out of our windows and regards this house as a day-care centre, and who has a water-dish especially reserved for her. I was glad not to have that cat-dream again. I am not that person at all. Yes, I may talk about having “room to swing a cat” but I don’t test the accuracy of that.

The earliest dream I remember was one I had often. I was probably a pre-schooler. A bulldozer used to come in through my bedroom window, squash me flat and then exit the way it came. I was not permanently squashed in any way whatsoever, but I do wonder if perhaps I’d been terribly impressed watching some road-works (perhaps so, because in true girlie-role my first word was “pretty”, but the second word I ever spoke was “tractor”).

I do remember a dream in which I was drowning, and knew I would die. The way I struggled against that fate convinced me, when I woke, of the innate human desire to survive. If there were a hundred-hour day or a second copy of Me, that’s a line of thought one Me would follow up.

Was I at the time feeling overwhelmed? Perhaps so, but I remember the dream more than whatever might have sparked it off. So perhaps the dream was my subconscious dealing with something, and doing it very successfully — which might be why I only had that dream once.

But it’s when the same theme keeps cropping up that it gets baffling. Until recently I was often in my dreams lost among High School corridors, looking for where I ought to be. The halls were empty by then, and classrooms in action: clearly everybody else was in the right place, and by the right time. Evidence that Life was puzzling? that in practical terms I was inadequate?

The silly thing was, I’m sure those corridors were modelled on the school my children went to. They didn’t resemble mine. You got it wrong, brain!

After that, toilets featured. I often woke in the middle of an expedition over hill and dale, or upstairs and downstairs in a multi-level building, looking for a toilet that worked — only to find some had been removed, others weren’t operational or were utterly bunged-up, and the balance had no partitions or doors.

One of my daughters swears she dreams only in black-and-white. I know I see colour. But after those vivid toilet-tales I can deduce that in my dreams I am not able to smell. It was just as well.

How wonderful it was, just recently when chatting with a group of people in the “seniors” bracket, to discover that most of them had dreamed of looking for toilets, only to find them non-operational or without doors! It was as if a stock-dream had been sent out to all. They suggest it was a bladder message, but I’ve tried out that theory many times, going for a brief visit only to find not much doing, really.

So I’m none-the-wiser. Just a tiny bit relieved.

Then this morning when I woke, I had a bone to pick with my husband. “We were just looking at a building plot where it’s going to be a retirement village. We were told that was to be our place, and were shown drawings. The homes were square boxes, in rows. There were some silly pretentious details drawn in which we would never want. WHO decided that for us?” He didn’t know.

“What’s more,” I said, “The place was looking directly across the road at a line of palm trees!” Even that was enough to make him shiver. Palm trees might be stately but they’re not our idea of a nice aspect.

Hah. Freud might have some ideas, but I doubt there’s any sure-fire way to take control over one’s dreams.

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