For the last five to seven years, my recurring dreams (when not about math or Starbucks) have involved one or some combination of the following themes:
- being back in London or India (although the dream versions are usually fairly unrecognizable)
- riding public transportation somewhere and missing the connexion and either having to get on another conveyance than the intended one, being stuck where I didn't want to be, or having to walk
- hanging out with a big group of people, only one of whom I ever actually know (and that only in the dream, usually), at some sort of potentially sketchy meeting or event, and wanting desperately to leave early.
This, roughly, is what happened in it:
I was back in London, with a friend of mine, and we were going to go out with a big group of other people for some other friend's birthday. I didn't know the Other Friend very well, but this Friend of Mine said I was more than welcome to come along, and it would be fun . . . and I'm pretty sure she was wanting to try to set me up with somebody. (I don't think I ever found out who, though.)
So we got on the Tube and went to this bar where everyone was meeting first to have a drink. And then we were apparently going to get on the Tube again to go to some other restaurant in a completely different part of the city for dinner, but we missed the train. Turns out, in this particular dream, there were these independent train drivers who could somehow just drive trains whenever and wherever, kind of like taxis, so we found this guy and paid him and got on his train. Just as we were approaching our destination, I happened to notice a severed human head--maybe two--on the railroad tracks. I kind of thought I must have imagined it, or maybe it was some kind of really realistic and creepy Hallowe'en decoration . . . so I didn't say anything.
We went to the restaurant and then got back on the train and started heading back. But as we were going, I began seeing more and more severed heads. It was frightening--even moreso when somehow one of us divined that it was our train driver who had severed them, and he was waiting to cut off our heads, too. In fact, there he was--coming at us with an enormous hatchet. (Can hatchets be enormous? Are they by definition small? I don't know. Hatchet sounds better to me right now.)
Somehow we managed to get off the train and get to the rest of the birthday party which had now converged on someone's house, but those of us who had been on that particular train knew according to the unspoken rules of the dream that our demon train-driver was going to hunt us down for our heads, so we spent the rest of the evening . . . and the dream . . . looking for weapons with which to pummel him to death. Someone told me to go find a baseball bat, and someone else would lure him and lull him into a false sense of security at which point it would be my job to bludgeon him. "I don't know," I said. "I don't think I can bludgeon anybody. Can I lull him instead?" At that point, or some other point shortly thereafter, I woke up. You can imagine both my amusement and consternation at having discovered such disturbing contents of my subconscious.
This week, I had a frightening dream of a totally different kind, although I have very little idea what it was about. I was driving home from work (that really should be all I need to say, but I'll keep going) and I was really really sleepy. I really didn't want to pull over, and the roads were busy so I wasn't really sure where I could have pulled over, and so I just concentrated on keeping my eyelids open and persevered. (Don't yell at me.) I was almost home, and suddenly I said to Oscar, "Well, I'm glad I ended up with the doggie."
At that moment, I mentally snapped to attention. I had had my eyes open the whole time. I had been very aware that I was driving and should not allow myself to drift off. It wasn't one of those scenarios where you drive the whole commute without really paying attention to it and you wonder how you got from point A to point B, really. I was very aware of where I was the entire time. However, some part of my brain had evidently sneaked off to have a dream anyway, and there was some sort of bargain at the end, during which I ended up with "the doggie."
So I'm asking you. Which of those two dreams was more scary? Hmmmm?