Ever since I made the awful mistake of feeding Dusty canned cat food, I am his food slave at night. His schedule is to awaken me almost exactly three hours after we’ve gone to bed. He either makes that terrible “caw” of his (he’s deaf, so he doesn’t realize how loud or cacophonous it is) or he just sits with his head near mine, touching my cheek with his whiskers. I give in, stumble out of bed, go to the kitchen, put a partial can of “Fancy Feast” on a plate, heat it for exactly ten seconds in the microwave, then stumble back to bed. Then we do it all over again two hours later, and again two hours after that. Three trips in all, each coinciding with a needed trip to the john. I do this every night, without fail. And it’s done odd things to my sleep patterns. I dream all night long. My eyeballs must be spinning in continuous REM sleep. And I’m dreaming these lengthy, complicated things. None of them are even close to being nightmares, just surprisingly complex.
I often dream about having two or three cars, never very good cars, and I always seem to have misparked them and when I look for them they’re gone, stolen. Just a few nights ago I lost a red Mercedes that I’d parked no more than a hundred feet away from where I was helping shove a car that had been stuck in some snow. I turned around and although there were cars where I’d parked mine, mine wasn’t among them. Damn! And a Mercedes at that.
My most frequent dreams involve golf. Most of them are negative in that I’m always losing my ball, or finding a bunch of balls none of which are mine and most of which are lopsided or squishy soft. Often I find my ball in a place that makes it nearly impossible to hit it, like up against a tree or nestled between two large rocks. And often it’s either late in the evening or even at night, and I go out in the dark. And the fairways are dark and heavily treed and crossed by deep gullies. See, not pleasant golf associations. Rarely, I dream that I’m swinging really well and the ball is going straight and true. Much more often I’m hitting into trouble. Golf dreams, or at least dreams with golf mixed in, make up at least a fourth of my nightlife.
Another dream thread involves my college attendance. I dream that I never quite got around to getting a degree, that I had skipped classes too often and never consulted with my major advisor, and I always feel so guilty about it.
I frequently dream about New York City Almost always there’s a section I really like, with bookstores and large department stores where I can buy things I enjoy, mainly books. But there’s also a dark side that I either have to drive through or walk through and its denizens are really bad people. Always, the way home or back to where I’m staying is to the west, either by car or bus or rail, sometimes on foot. Sometimes I dream that I’m in a large store with many rooms and sections I have to make my way through, sometimes a series of apartments or hotel rooms that go on and on.
Then there are all the teaching dreams. I have one of these every two or three weeks. Some of them are pleasant, involving teaching in a classroom of attentive students. But mostly they involve facing a roomful, and I mean a room “full,” of inattentive students who want only for the bell to ring so they can get out of there. Nothing ever violent, just that awful feeling of futility I used to get when I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me or pay any attention to my shouted instructions for quiet. In some of them I was in my last year before retirement and I couldn’t wait to get out. Or sometimes I’ve been rehired for a year or so after my initial retirement and again I couldn’t wait to get out of there. All of them have a feeling of Southwestern High School, where I spent my last twenty-three years in the classroom, of my never feeling quite accepted there.
And sometimes I dream of a girl/woman whom I’ve engaged somehow (by dates or by proposals of marriage) and I’ve neglected to call her or see her and I always feel so guilty about it. That sounds too much loke my real life, leaving friends and acquaintances and girlfriends behind, neglecting to hang on to them.
And I can thank my pal Dusty for that.