All I know is that I have been having the strangest dreams lately, and if they weren’t so entertaining I’d want them to stop.
Mostly they revolve around two subjects: smoking, which I haven’t done in a long time, and work, which I also haven’t done in a long time if some people’s opinions are to be counted.
It works like this: I dream that I am smoking. Simple enough, right? Except that it is the most vivid dream I’ve ever had. When I dream it I can taste the tobacco smoke. I am aware of it going into my lungs. I feel it exiting as I exhale. And as all this is happening I feel incredibly bad about breaking the promise I made when I quit.
Now’s where it gets peculiar.
The whole time it’s happening, I am aware that it’s a dream. It’s like I’m participating in it and observing it at the same time. And so I know it’s not real, that I’m not really smoking, while marveling at how real it all is. Asleep, mind you.
And then I wake up and for a moment I feel terribly guilty about it all.
The meaning of it? Beats me. Except maybe it just illustrates how powerful is the hold that cigarettes can have on you, years – 13 years, in my case – after you quit them. I’ve talked to other former smokers who tell me they have the same sort of dream and the same sort of associated feelings of failure and guilt. How nice that we have something to share.
Now, the other dream, the work dream, isn’t quite so vivid. In fact, it’s a little muddled. Basically, it mashes all the newspapers I worked for – there were six – into one big conglomeration of blown deadlines, missed assignments and yelling editors. In other words, a pretty accurate recreation of what used to be just another day at the office.
I went to the Internet – you know, that place where everything is 100 percent true – and found that I’m not having the most common of workplace dreams ... the ones about being late for work or showing up naked. No, my workplace dreams aren’t that entertaining.
(According to an article I found online, another common workplace dream is about not being able to find the rest room. Supposedly this represents a fundamental need being unmet. Obviously, this article was not written by a man of a certain age. We all have dreams about needing to go to the bathroom, the meaning of which is pretty clear: We have to go to the bathroom. Duh.)
I don’t think the work thing is all that hard to figure out. I spent 30 years of my life working in newspaper offices, which are great depositories of weirdness. I obviously stockpiled a good deal of that weirdness in my subconscious mind, and every once in a while some of it leaks out in the form of a dream.
Oh, well. It’s not like I can stop them, so I might as well enjoy them. It sure beats dreaming about monsters under the bed or going to school in my pajamas. Oops. Just watch. I’ll probably be having those dreams tonight.