Saturday, October 22, 2011

on the night shift

"The dream is always the same. Instead of going home, I go to the neighbors. I ring, but nobody answers. The door is open, so I go inside. I'm looking around for the people, but nobody seems to be there. And then I hear the shower running..."

~~joel goodson, risky business

the act of living is fraught with anxiety. mostly about dying.

which would go a long way toward explaining recurrent anxiety dreams. what it doesn't explain is why those dreams are so bizarre and disconnected from living or dying.

for me, anyway.

i have at least three such nightmares, and while they never end in death, they also never end well. plus, the symbolism in these nacht-shades is odd to say the least.

one is a classic that many report: it's final exam day, and i've not attended class all semester. somehow i just forgot to show up until this very moment; it's far too late to drop the class, and failure is inevitable.

then i get distracted by something more important~~like the plane i'm aboard, which is flying extremely low, between power lines, just above rush hour traffic. how did i end up in a pilot's final exam nightmare?

i've also dreamed about playing tennis with jimmy connors. i find myself across the net from him, racquet in hand, with a very important problem: i don't play tennis. i used to, many years ago, but i can't even figure out how to toss the ball for a proper serve. and, it's jimmy connors.

then i get distracted by something more important, like actually crash-landing in a plane. my friend mike ditzler is usually traveling with me on these flights, and typically we walk away unfazed, as if this kind of thing happened all the time. then we wander off to begin a vacation somewhere.

somewhere like the pebble beach golf club. where it's late in the afternoon, verging on dusk, and we haven't teed off yet. there's no time to go to the driving range for a practice swing~~we have to get to the tee straight away.

inconveniently, i no longer play golf, and haven't swung a club in years. i swing badly (much like when i did play) and the ball heads into the rough in the trees on a hill next to a winding dirt path. or some variation thereof. i go to look for the ball, and darkess is falling. groups behind us are playing through, so i rush back to the fairway and try to play on. but we're now hopelessly behind.

a chance to play at a golfer's dream course (a very expensive opportunity) is frittered away forever.

what kind of anxiety dreams are these? golf at pebble beach? tennis with jimmy connors? flying, unflying, mike ditzler?

maybe these are just the symbols through which the fear of death whispers in my ear. and really, the specter could be much worse, much more perhaps i should be grateful.

but just once...can't i stare across the net and fire a rocket down the line? can't i stand confidently over the ball and send a beautiful drive down the middle of the fairway? can't i show up for the final having attended class and actually done a useful bit of studying?

apparently not. the arc of the dreams is always the same, and i'm chronically unprepared. then i get distracted by something more important.

weirdly like real life.

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