An Active Sleep Life

My dream world screams at me to come to grips with reality.  I assume that’s what it is screaming.  It is trying to tell me something, but it’s damn hard to interpret, inasmuch as it’s using a language of symbolism with which I am thoroughly unfamiliar.

Last night, or I should say just an hour or two ago, I awoke from a dream in which I was sitting with several co-workers (only a few of whom I recognized as real-world co-workers from the past).  We were about to leave the “office,” if that’s what it was, when one of them groused that I had not eaten the sausage kolaches she had brought especially for me.  I said I had not seen them but would be happy to take them with me, as I had another appointment.

Next scene, I was on a Chicago street, walking with the same woman and a guy who obviously was her boyfriend, but who was from another part of my life, in a job in another city (as was she; she worked for me in Dallas).  He kept stopping to look in store windows, then would rush to catch up with us; she kept pestering me to slow down for him.  We arrived at the building where my appointment was to be; they continued on their way.

I went inside the old skyscraper to find the place under total renovation; a construction mess.  I wandered around and finally came across some people who were dressed in business suits. I did not recognize them, but somehow knew that one of them, a young guy in his thirties or early forties, was the guy I was to meet and that he was a lawyer.  I also knew, without being told, that he was an investor who rehabbed old commercial buildings into residential units.

Next scene, I was alone, in the same building, lost and trying to find my way out.  Finally, after wandering around, I made my way to the exit and knew I was supposed to go meet this lawyer’s representative to confirm the terms of my employment with him (which employment was not part of the conversation I had with the guy!).  I exited the building, having no idea where I was supposed to go or who I was supposed to see.  I saw a mesh metal park bench on the sidewalk, very smooth and shiny, and I sat down.

A moment later, a red-haired woman named Karen, who was publisher of an amusement industry tabloid while I had another job years ago, appeared in front of me.  She smiled what I can only describe as a suggestive smile and sat on my lap. The only words I remember, very distinctly, from the dream were hers: “So, you met my husband.  Do you think you’ll enjoy working with him?  I know I’ll enjoy having you around.”  I mumbled something like “Yes, I know this was almost meant to be;” I could feel my face flush, as I knew this woman sitting in my lap was not meant to be. Now, to my knowledge, the woman was not married when I knew her.  (As an aside to the dream, this woman would be in her late fifties or early sixties now; I guess it’s not outside the realm of possibility that she would be married to a much younger lawyer.)

Next, she got up and said something to the effect that her husband wanted her to review with me the terms of my employment. Holding a clipboard, she began writing, in heavy block letters using what looked like a Sharpie pen; I could see clearly what she wrote, which looked like it was in a bold arial typeface from a computer:

Employee: John Swinburn
Position: Property Acquisitions & Rehabilitation
Location: Hot Springs Village, AR
Salary: $92,000

I remember thinking That’s more than I expected to make in retirement. And then it occurred to me that this must be my imagination at work. And I started trying to make sense of the people in the dream who had no connections with one another, and what Chicago and Hot Springs Village had to do with one another. And that’s about the time I woke up.

My newly acquired book, Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, sits on my desk, unread. This most recent dream gives added impetus to pick it up.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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