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Very bad dream not quite explained

Dear friends and readers,

I had one of these harassing dreams last night where I wake, I realize after a time of great anxiety and shaking myself to throw off sleep that after all I am in my bed, but then falling back and dreaming the same dream again, though this time when I wake it's not so bad.

I dreamed I am at GMU with Yvette. I can't figure out why now. Dreams don't make sense. She is taking some kind of course. We are in a vast parking lot well beyond University drive, over to the other sides of the campus where there are yet more parking lots and buildings all the time.  I cannot find my car. I look and look. I wander and wander.  I say to Yvette, go home by bus or train and she takes money to do that when she's done. But I can't leave as I want to bring my car home with me too. I don't want to leave it behind. I wake in a sweat and have to shake myself to see I'm in my house, and my car on its parking pad, safe, un-misplaced.


But then I feel asleep again and there I was still at GMU, stuck, frantic over my lost car (seas of cars), but I wake and there are the two cats. Ian laying on top almost with his paw across me. Next to my head, between my body and the Admiral's Clary tucked in mewing something. It's morning, light and no more danger of this dream.

I told a friend and she interpreted: "you must know that is absolutely a typical dream after people have graduated?  They dream that they left out a page of their final exam, or didn't pass their gym course, and have not graduated after all!  One of the most common dreams there are."

Well I didn't know and wouldn't have seen the analogy of graduate diploma and parking lot unless it had been put this way.
But I did see it immediately.  "Oh I see. Meaning I am frantic that I have not escaped GMU after all. Still stuck there and cannot find car either." I didn't know it was a common dream. I didn't pay any attention to high school graduation, I was living in the UK for college, and for graduate school I was happy to graduate but pre-occupied terribly (a real nervous breakdown) over my inability to do the interviews and try to get an entry level job. If I dreamed, I don't remember any more but that I was haggard, sleepless and not good to my dog the way I should have been. We were broke too -- he eating potato pancakes every other night, me spaghetti with ketchup. He had had his dissertation rejected and was waiting for this gov't job to come through. Very bad time. So graduation a nice moment.

I did once lose my car: Caroline will recall that I was pregnant with Yvette and we were at Springfield Mall. The thing was I left it downstairs on another level. I didn't know there were two levels. We kept walking round and round and I just couldn't find it. Hansel without his breadcrumbs.

But I feel the dream also includes a large admixture of unassimilated distress. I had a bad night in Vermont and have been thinking about myself over the course of my life. I got my first social security check this week. A reassurance the Admiral told me that it comes so quick.

I am afraid I'll lose my car. I am very fond of my car. Until recently it never broke down. It's just the right size. Though discolored it's blue, it's a Chevy -- just like Nancy Drew I have a blue car, and I can "see the US in my chevrolet" (like Dinah Shore used to sing on TV in the 1950s). I have listened to scores and scores of novels wonderfully read aloud in it It takes me where I am going and gets me back. I practice going places in it too; I take other people places -- including Yvette. The Admiral suggested we go down to one car and that when one goes, we junk it and buy one we can both drive. I cannot drive his jaguar. Out of the question. I see the practicality of the suggestion but maybe I don't want to lose my car.

I'm also musing a bit on the word "enhanced." Most improbably and inappropriately in the extreme, the euphemism for torture has been "enhanced interrrogation". Enhanced is a word I would have thought has all positive connotations. Maybe not. The E in these QEPs I felt I could not in conscience do, would lead to plagiarism, misery, and teach corrupt thinking to start with in scholarship stands for "enhanced."

One has to be careful to make sure the explanations for our dreams do not normalize, neutralize or say they are unimportant, to be dismissed (common).



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jill Spriggs
Aug. 7th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
a possible interpretation
Another way of looking at your reluctance to give up our car is it would be giving up part of your independence, your autonomy. You wouldn't like always having to ask Jim to drive you or Yvette every where. I don't know if this service is available in the D.C. area (it is in most large metropolitan areas) but people who don't want to own a car (and be tied to the related expenses such as insurance and maintenance) can, either for a monthly fee, or an individual time cost, use a car for a short term, say, a couple of hours to go to Ikea (a friend of mine loves Ikea) or to the library. But a vehicle is inextricably tied to independence in much of the U.S.
Aug. 7th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
Re: a possible interpretation
Yes. After my Admiral read it, he said we need not get rid of my car unless we are forced to. It really is in bad shape from the point of view of its age, and would not be worth fixing. Since it lost its tape deck, it is no longer irreplaceable. So what we agreed we could do would be to stay with two cars. I probably do want one of my own :). Without it, many times he would be off in the car and I unable to go where I want just when I want. Here in the Virginia suburbs too public transportation is inadequate to (outside Alexandria city) non-existent.
Aug. 9th, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
Loss and dreams
I read your dream blog. I learned in seminary that change always
brings loss. Even good change entails loss. Good changes could include such things as winning a Pulitizer prize, divorcing an abusive spouse or retiring from a stressful job. (A Pulitzer prize, eg, can mean loss of privacy or loss of friends or loss of freedom from expectation.) Loss always brings grief. As you retire from GMU, you will inevitably experience some sense of loss. That's normal. The problem is that we live in a culture that doesn't tolerate ambiguity well--events must be all good or all bad. Then when our feelings don't match our expectations, we repress our good (or bad) feelings, feelings which are normal and need to be expressed and experienced ... and then we end up feeling there is something wrong with us or that we need a medication. Or we end up trying every more desperately to put a happy face on lives that are inevitably filled with a mixture of pain and joy. (I know you wouldn't do that, but many would.)

Edited at 2012-08-09 04:56 am (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the last comment. Yes I know I am experiencing loss too. I find myself telling anecdotes about my students more than I usually do. I thought I'd be able to tell what would be my last day, but perhaps it's better this way.

When I have a bad dream, it has happened that I somehow wake myself from it and try to shake it off. What can happen then is I discover weeks later I am dreaming a modified form of it. I can't get rid of it altogether, so say where I was at the center doing the action, now I'm watching someone else do it. But I find that is nearly as stressful. This second round usually ends the dream -- or my awareness of it. After that I feel I have stopped the dream I didn't want.

I agree it's better if we can face the ambiguity and loss and pains of our lives. Then I think we are healthier for it, not so blind to ourselves and maybe can help ourselves more.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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