Saturday, September 4, 2010

Good Dream or Best Dream

I had one of those awesome dreams that makes you (me) reach for one of the dozen or more spiral notebooks strewn around my room and try to get it all down before nothing remains but a faint smile and ephemera.

I have this recurring dream about fighting vampires around this tiny old Gothic church in the middle of some city. When I say fighting vampires, I mean there are about 30 of us against what can only be described as the vampire apocalypse. Think: "every zombie movie you've ever seen" except that the zombies are smart, can turn into wolves (or bats), have psychic powers and are so much faster than you or I will ever be. It almost always sucks. Ha ha. No.

The dream (I can't adequately explain why it's not a nightmare - well, tonight I can) usually consists of anticipation. Me and the other survivors trying to scrounge weapons, secure the children, board up windows and prep ourselves for the death we all know we can only postpone a few minutes. Maybe a few hours. I often wake just as the horde of vampires come into view, striding out of the night and filling the streets like only a horde of evil bent on your utter destruction and damnation can.

This time, I was helping the preacher, I think his name was Jon. We were filling water balloons with holy water (he was blessing them as we went) and some chick said, "can I help? I don't want to just stand around."

It was Summer Glau. If you don't know who that is, I'm sorry. Father Jon (that was it for sure) and a bunch of others and I got over being star-struck, trying to figure out why she was in Chicago. I never knew the church was in Chicago before.

I think it gave us all a kind of hope - her being there. Our families weren't there, our friends and neighbors, but here was someone we almost knew. Here was someone alive. "We can do this," I said.

Later, I was trying to show her how to fire a crossbow and she said, "dude, I was a fucking terminator."

I laughed. "Okay."

We went through all the motions we usually go through. I think I've dreamt one variation of this dream or another at least a dozen times. But I felt like a schoolboy. I was arming children with sharpened stakes and locking them in a church basement and smiling at this chick who (at least in my dream) was as smart and strong and - you get the idea. Stupid.

So someone shouts, "they're here!"

We all run up to the giant, Tolkienesque doors (I can't think of any other way to describe the church's doors - like something off a church in Arda). And we're standing there. And I look over at Summer and she gives me this smirk, like she does onscreen. Kind of a cocky, "don't be stupid, we got this all day" thing. And then the horde comes into sight and the fighting starts and I lose track of her and I wake up trying to fight my way through the horde to find where the fuck she went.

Part of me wanted to save the movie star - the idea of her gave us all so much hope, part of me just wanted to be the hero, part of me wanted to be in love (I realized for the briefest moment that I was dreaming when I told myself what a dumb idea that was - falling in love with a made-up construct of my own subconscious), and part of me wanted to get laid - I might've been fully back in the dream by then, but I did fleetingly hope it would happen before I woke up. I didn't get to her.

I woke up.

There's a school of thought among the Lucid Dreamer / Out of Body Experience people that teaches Dreams are real. When you dream, your consciousness slips the bonds of this world and sojourns (however briefly) in another actual physical reality. It seems ephemeral and disconnected only because it isn't your reality. You shouldn't be able to be there. Sometimes you interact with other dreamers, sometimes with total strangers - natives of those other worlds. Often you see these as people you know just because your subconscious (sic) knows to trust them (or not to) and assigns them these appearances in your mind so that you'll associate with them more readily. I don't buy it, but hearing the theory in its entirety lends a gravity to most dreams. There are some fucked-up other realities out there. Even worse if they are really just inner realities.

I felt a distinct sense of loss when I realized I was awake. Like I blew it. Usually when I wake up from this thing, I feel bad because I know they were going to die, but I feel good that I helped give them hope. I stretched their dream-lives a few moments longer than I might have.

But I couldn't save the girl this time; and she was new. Different. Whoever she was, I hope she made it. Anyway. I wrote it all down and decided to share. Now that it's done, I still have no idea why I don't think it was a nightmare.

It had all the elements: danger, fear, sacrifice, dark and scary imagery, that disjointed feeling you get when you know something bad is about to happen. Like I said, 30 some-odd people are about to die.

But even when I wake up with my heart pounding, sweating and - sometimes - wishing I could get back to sleep and back to the fight just to die with those good people still out there fighting, somewhere in the universe, it's not a nightmare. I don't know why.

I wish I knew better how to interpret dreams (other than, "man Dave, you're fucking crazy"). Or maybe I could actually practice Lucid Dreaming so that one night, when I dream it again, I can actually fight. Make a difference. Kill a shit-ton of vampires and save the girl. Save the Day. Save the whole damn world.

Even if it isn't mine.

Maybe it isn't a nightmare because it gives me hope. I can do better. Just let me back in there.

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