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In the Catacomb of Dreams

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 @ 11:03 PM  posted by Mark

After beginning a series of reviews of books concerned with sickness and death, my own rather routine head cold overwhelmed me and I spent more than two weeks lying in bed, sweating, sneezing and puffing like a melancholy penguin trapped in the Memphis Zoo. By the fourth day, I could no longer even think of thinking—it’s amazing, isn’t it, how much energy it takes to string a line of simple ideas into a coherent thought? Now that I feel normal again, I wonder at the seemingly ridiculous fact that, as recently as a week ago, I could not remember how Chester A. Arthur wore his mustache, or calculate the per-pound value of molybdenum, or identify any personal ambitions whatsoever beyond dozing in warm sunshine, just because I had a virus. There’s nothing like a preview of the permanent infirmity of old age (if you should be lucky enough to live that long) to make you want to stop wasting your energy. As a result, I have decided to abandon the increasingly morbid series on illness I had planned and switch instead to something more life-affirming in upcoming posts. For the moment, though, I’d like to share a few fever dreams that I jotted down during my illness, since I can’t make heads or tails of them—if any of you knows anything about dream interpretation, I would appreciate your insights.

Dream # 1: I notice that, in my backyard, an orange-and-white striped circus tent has appeared, and I enter it to find an army of undead fleas marching across the sawdust floor. The zombie fleas are dressed like soldiers from the Mexican Revolution, with bandeleros of ammunition across their chests, serapes and sombreros. The tent is entirely silent, though somehow I know that the fleas are marching to John Philip Sousa’s Transit of Venus, which all of the fleas are hearing simultaneously in their heads. The fleas don’t notice me at all, but still I feel compelled to donate a dollar to their war effort, and I drop four quarters into an old, unmarked coffee can.

Dream # 2: I am on a 70-foot-long three-sailed schooner from the mid-nineteenth century, in the middle of the ocean. In fact, it is the mid-nineteenth century. I am being chased around and around a deckhouse by a donkey laden with sandbags, and the other crew members are wagering on whether or not the donkey will catch me. What the donkey might do if it does catch me is uncertain, though the prospect is worrisome.

Dream # 3: I am dining with film legend Merle Oberon when I receive a telegram informing me that an aunt I had never heard of before has died and left me $7,000 in silver dental fillings and that I must immediately fly to Pierre, South Dakota, to collect my inheritance. I am torn between continuing my date with Merle and cashing in on the fillings but find that my choice is made for me when I can’t leave the table because the fly of my pants has somehow caught on the tablecloth. Merle spends the rest of the evening looking deeply into my eyes, while I pine for the mountain of silver fillings. This dream seems to last forever.

Okay, enough of that. Next: back to the book reviews!

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4 Responses to “In the Catacomb of Dreams”

  1. Raquelle says:

    Those are really odd dreams Mark! It sounds like your brain likes to make your dreams increasingly complex. My brain loves to add obstacles and abhors any sort of resolution. When I get close to a resolution, I wake up! If I go back to sleep and continue the dream, especially if it was a nightmare, my brain will change the plot and take it into a new direction. The second dream is never as interesting as the first.

    My dream last night: I had to prove my love to my beau by acquiring a large amount of cheese. In blocks that were wrapped in goldleaf paper. The more blocks of cheese the better. So during the dream, I was carrying these blocks of cheese everywhere but people thought I was carrying real gold so I kept having blocks of cheese stolen from me. The ones that I managed to hoard, started to rot at an alarming rate. At least my dreams don’t involve my smelling faculties as I imagine that would have been unpleasant.

    I giggled at the Chester A. Arthur mustache bit! LOL. And I’m really glad you are feeling better.

  2. Cecilia H. says:

    Wow, Mark! As Raquelle said, what “complex” dreams you have! The ‘zombie fleas’ dressed as Mexican revolutionaries were the coolest…well, from the standpoint of hearing about your dream…maybe not so much for you, eh.

    Unfortunately, I can not interpret for you. Sorry. I know there are quite a few dream interpretation books out there and it would be interesting to check into them…do your own self-analysis… :>

    My scariest dreams concern levitation. In these dreams, I’m always levitating face up high above my bed. I’ve had these nightmares numerous times over the past several years and they started after I was in a serious car accident. I honestly don’t remember them before that incident. These dreams/nightmares ‘feel’ very real…almost the way gravity affects your body when you soar down in a rollercoaster from the tip-top of the peak. I hate these nightmares the most. Weird, to, because I love rollercoasters…guess I just don’t care for levitating face up! Sometimes during these levitation dreams I feel like someone/something I cannot see is trying to drag me away by my feet into places unknown and I am unable to stop it from happening. Usually, I wake myself because I’m trying to cry out for help. These are the ones that really scare me & seem very real.

    Well, this doesn’t answer your question, Mark, but it was interesting hearing about your and Raquelle’s dreams. Good luck!

    –Cecilia

    p.s. Good to hear you are feeling better…I’ve had some sort of virus lately…upset stomach, headaches and all over blech…and still have to go to work! Phooey!

  3. Mark says:

    Yeah, I’d rather not fly in my dreams, either. It seems like a very literal representation of complete disconnection from the earth, which I personally voted against. Thanks for your comment!