Saturday, January 06, 2007

Nocturnal brushes with death

This is a dream I had last night. I’m dredging it up now because it was very typical of the kind of dreams that I have and I’ve always been curious if others dream similarly or if this is unusual. Also, I don’t normally retain memory of dreams very long but this morning I could recall plenty of it and I’ve purposely replayed it in my head a couple times so as not to lose it.

Here’s the dream (or as much as I recall):

I’m in some kind of commercial outlet that is apparently open for business 24 hours. It’s the middle of the night and I’m alone here. I am a caretaker of some sort. There are no other employees on the nightshift. It’s perhaps a bank and customers have access to the teller machines or perhaps a post office and customers have access to their post office boxes. Something in that realm. It’s not defined.

I’m holding a large handsaw and I need a piece of wood. I have vague knowledge that there is a small child that wants a toy sword and I am to carve one out of wood. A large handsaw is not the best tool for such a job but in the dream that does not occur to me. I seem to sense that the child is a girl though I’m not sure about that. She never appears in the dream and the relationship between the child and I remains unknown.

I walk out the front door of the outlet to go looking for wood. There’s a large parking lot. We’re part of a very large plaza and apparently the only unit open for business overnight. The lot (or as much as I see of it) is vacant of cars.

Fast forward: I’m moving along the walkway past closed up shops back toward the outlet where I work. I haven’t found any wood. It’s still dark. There’s a car in front of our outlet and as I approach within a few units of it another car pulls up. I tip my head down and am conscious of my appearance. I’m a big man in dingy work clothes carrying a handsaw - in the middle of the night. I hear a car start up and pull away. I do not know whether the first customer is now leaving or whether the second customer is frightened of me and has immediately retreated without tending to her business.

Fast forward: The environment has changed. I’m in the outlet alone but it’s daytime and the outlet is clearly not a place of retail business. It’s a crowded warehouse lit only by the daylight coming through the front door. ‘Crowded’ is an understatement. At least 90% of the floorspace is packed with some kind of stock/supplies - I don’t know what - to a height of eight feet or so. It’s all covered in tarps. I’m standing on top of this stuff. In order to do my work I must do so on top of these tightly packed tarp-covered unknown materials. I must tread very carefully as this “floor” is extremely uneven below the tarps. It’s not clear what ‘my work’ actually is. I’m more concerned about the toy sword I must create.

There are a few narrow gaps between sheets and I reach down at one such place and discover there are planks of wood beneath. I pull back the corner of a tarp and pull out a wooden plank and surmise that it will make a good sword. I start to cut it with my saw and discover that my saw cuts through it effortlessly - like butter.

I don’t get finished carving the sword. I’m suddenly troubled by what I see below me where I’d pulled back the tarp. I can’t describe what I saw physically. I only have the knowledge that I’ve looked and seen something troubling. That’s the thing with my dreams. I often experience something conceptually without actually visualizing the particulars. I’ve realized that we’re housing something we shouldn’t. Something unlawful. Something like toxic waste perhaps or illegal arms. I’m aware that my employers are not nice people. Mafia types perhaps. I’ve learned something I’m not supposed to know about and now I am in danger.

There’s a seamless shift and I’m not the caretaker anymore but one of the employers. The ‘danger’ feeling has not changed. I’m some kind of crook and things have gone wrong. The ‘caretaker’ has discovered our crime and I’m in double jeaopardy. When the authorities come down I will take the fall. But worse - my crook superiors will take my life for allowing this fuck-up. I’m screwed.

Fast forward. I’m unloading all the ‘goods’ from the warehouse onto a huge flatbed truck. I must destroy the evidence and silence the caretaker.

Another shift and I am no one. I’m watching the scene from divine view. The crook has got the truck loaded and is backing away from the warehouse which is still part of a plaza but it’s a giant industrial plaza now with warehouses surrounding a great stock yard full of materials and industrial vehicles. But there are no other people around.

The crook’s truck comes to a halt as the load has begun to tumble off the truck. I see a lot of wood planks among the load and the remainder does not materialize for me. It remains ‘fuzzy’ - dark space if you will. The crook is going berserk. He starts using the truck as a bulldozer to plow these materials around the yard. It seems like he is clumsily trying to distribute the contraband to all his neighbors as if to pin the blame on them instead of he. In the process he is running into other property and vehicles and doing massive damage all around.

Another shift and I’m the caretaker again. I’m in a long corridor with orange walls lit by indirect daylight. The commotion in the yard has gone silent. The crook is suddenly in the corridor confronting me. He carries a strange metal mechanical object with various arms and wheels and gears. We’re face to face but he’s walking toward me so I must walk backwords. I realize he’s going to kill me with this object somehow.

I raise my handsaw in defence and discover that it is now a butter knife. I stab the crook in the eye and it slips in easily (like butter) sinking well into his head. Blind in one eye, he seems unaffected and continues toward me. I raise my half-finished wooden sword but it too has become a butterknife which I plunge into his other eye. He still approaches, zombie-like. I’m still walking backward. I put forth my hands to fend him off. He takes hold of my fists and with his long nails he scratches at the skin of my knuckles. I feel the pain of his scratches and I awake. It’s morning.

I immediately checked my knuckles and found them unscathed. It is very unusual for me to sense pain in a dream. Extremely rare.

But the violence, the manner of shifting in and out of the various ‘characters’ and the theme of being pursued are all extremely common. Any thoughts? I don’t subscribe to there being any meaning in dreams but if you do, and have insight I’d love to hear it - unless it's something sexual and embarassing - in which case - keep it to yourself. Thanks!



Anonymous said...

I'd say lay off the tuna and peanut butter sandwiches before bed.

I don't think I ever switch roles in a dream, and mine are rarely violent.

What's this fetish you have with butterknives?

I'm not much help, am I? I could tell you what I think the dream means, but that really wouldn't do you much good. I think you have to look at it symbolically and let it tell you what it needs to.

I'm just going to shut up now.

MoviesInMyMind said...

Long overdue, I know. (You have my apologies.)

I'd guess that you've aged/transitioned to a new role and that you still have something to do, provide, from long ago. It is very dear to you so you'd like to make it happen, but other things get in the way. And sometimes you have to abuse the dream thing you want to provide just to stay alive.

I'm a cheery B* today, aren't I?