This oldish post at Acephalous reminded me of some of my more unusual dreams in years past. (And, SEK, if you’re reading this, the dream you reminded me of most was the Malatesta one, later on in this post.)
I really do sometimes wish that I was more capable of remembering dreams, or maybe I just wish I had better sleep schedule so I would wake naturally and remember my dreams more often. When I do recall them, these days, it’s very unusual. But I have a few good ones I remember…
Perhaps the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had were in my little one-room on Rue Hochelaga in Montreal — in the middle of the McGill “ghetto,” where I lived from September 1999-August 2000. That winter, I came down with something horrendous, something so disabling that for a few days, I was just in bed, shivering and sweating and shivering and sweating. (The room was so humid that the mack-tack I used to hold up all my posters detached from the walls and I woke, when the fever broke, to find the posters all on the floor, something that had never happened before or since. The same day, I stumbled, shivering, to the grocery store to get some orange juice. I was so weak I had to take five or six breaks each way during the two-block walk.)
If you’ve never had a fever dream yourself, you’ll have to take it from me: they’re awful. Awful, awful, awful. The three dreams I had were among the scariest, weirdest, or must stupefying I’ve ever had the misfortune of dreaming.
(Disclaimer: I mentioned some of these dreams once before, here, but so briefly, and buried in a list, that they deserve better. And there is a little new material here, too.)
Emily was a new girl in the English department where I was studying who, it seemed to me and a couple of my friends, was on the hunt for a boyfriend. Had she been a little less awkward about it, she might have snagged one sooner — asking, “Explain quantum mechanics to me!” without specifying what about it I ought to explain, or why she was curious, didn’t help much, especially since I was just an English major like her — but she was giving it the old college try, which is more than I was doing in those days, in my antisocial grad school lifeslump.
Anyway, she was a nice person, whatever else could be said about her, but in the dream I had, she somehow slunk into my apartment through the crack beneath the door. Once in, she rose up, of course dressed all in black chiffon — horrors! — and bit me on the neck in my sleep, immobilizing me with some kind of paralytic poison in her fangs. Then she basically flayed me alive, ripped my bones out on by one, chewing off the meat and licking the bone clean, and proceeded to drink all the blood from the mushy husk of my corpse. At once point she flashed me a bloody smile and said, “It’s like a human slurpee!” And for some reason, I survived all this for much longer than a real human would do.
It kinda hurt, but the worst effect was that I never looked at Emily in quite the same way again, poor woman.
Levitating Kitchen Rodents’ Ideological Debate
The second dream was less horrifying, but just as bizarre. It was one of those dreams that I’m pretty sure is a hypnagogic thing: you have a clear sense of the room you’re in, and it’s the same room that you’re actually in. Except the stuff going on in that room is impossible.
Like, for example, the two levitating mice in my “kitchen” — that is, the bit of my one-room where the sink and fridge and stove were located — who were debating economic and political ideology in my kitchen. One mouse had a Texan drawl, wore a tiny little cowboy hat and spurs, and was arguing about how the complete deregulation of everything was the way to go. Ze other mouse, ‘e cam’ from ze Paris (read: Paree) an’ in ‘iz little beret, ‘e was strongly arguing for ze need for a social safety net, of ze benefit of ze tax and government. They raged at one another for a long time, but seemed to make no headway. I, still paralyzed in my bed, was thinking only of one thing, which was, whether I could find my broom fast enough to knock the little bastards out of the air before the flew away to their hiding spots.
In retrospect, I imagine that my frustration with some of the well-worn debates on a mailing list I was subscribed to at the time — the Brin-L mailing list, an SF mailing list that was less about Brin and, even by then, more about constant arguments over American political issues, with an occasional (but at the time, increasingly common) side dish of vitriol — was what birthed this monstrosity. Monstrosity it surely was.
And no, I didn’t really have any mice in my apartment. I mean, not when I wasn’t hallucinating them in the depths of my fever.
Sigismundo Malatesta hates my modernist poet buddies.
The weirdest dream was one in which I “woke” to find a rapier at my throat. I gazed down the blade and found that at the end of it was a strange-looking fellow in Hollywood-set costume Renaissance finery… English renaissance, mind you, Shakespearean garb, for whatever difference it makes.
The guy started shouting at me in mock-Italian. Not real Italian, mind you, but fake Italian so badly faked that it could never, ever be mistaken for the real thing.
“Gwando, gwando, subriatasmanio! Gillgaranzio, subito presto allegro molto sforza!” He hollered at me with well-reheared rage, his eyes burning with hate, and suddenly, English subtitles flashed in the air between him and me, superimposed over the image of the sword:
[Hey you. Are you Gord Sellar? I think I hate you! I will cut out your delicious little internal organs for my little puppy dog to feast upon.] Thus scrolled the subtitle.
“Jesus, what a f*cking tard!” came a voice from the corner of the room. It was an old friend of mine, an A.A. member who would have no compunctions about calling anyone a nut, and recommending people get psychological help no matter who famous they were. This friend didnt live in Montreal, but she was kind enough to pop in for the dream.
“Who are you?”
“Sigismundo Malatesta di Malatestiano gwando sforza gwando zucchini allegro, i zandali obsesso!”
[I am Sigismundo Malatesta. You and your stupid Modernist Poet buddies have been writing about me.]
“Modernist Poet buddies?”
“This craphead needs to take anger management classes!” shouts my friend.
“Si! Si! Ezralo Poundifimacatusto moderniste poetalazafrasto cubriya malanayara zabro questo!”
[Yes, that dipshit Ezra Pound you’re so pally with. What’s his f*cking problem?]
“But… um… look, he died before I was born! I just read his poems, I don’t know him!”
“Bravo! Sforza fatsi soprano moderato distinguira allegro maestoso!”
[That’s bad enough. I should cut you up here!]
“What a tool!” my friend shouts. “Listen, Siggy, if you actually want to every have a healthy relationship in your life, you need to get this crap under control! Calm the hell down. My friend Gord here? He doesn’t know Pound! He’s just a kid in grad school! If you’re so worried about your image, why don’t you focus on the person who screwed it up? You’re such as a**hole!”
“Gwando presto presto feminina salubrica chianti presto sanguinia!”
[God, are women a pain in the ass in every century?]
“Wait,” I said to my friend, as she prepared a retort, for the tip of Sisigmundo’s blade had begun to push against my throat. “Just wait. Sig, look… can I talk to you a minute?”
He lowered the sword, and with a vague plan to convince him that Pound was actually his biggest fan in the 20th century, I opened my mouth to speak, and then, as far as I remember, I woke.
How Am I Gonna Feed Baby Jesus, Now?
More recently, I’ve had some dreams about my parents. In one, my father (who’d passed away a year or so before I had the dream) reprimanded me from the corner of the hotel room I was in because I was not getting along with my traveling companion — a friend from the Old Country — at the time. Also, I had a dream where my mother — who I’d classify much more as a New Ager than as a Catholic, though she started out in the Church — was complaining about how menopause was so unfair because it had made lactation impossible. (I don’t know whether it does, actually; I imagine hormonal injections could probably make it happen, but anyway, that was her claim in the dream.) Her exact words were, “How am I gonna feed Baby Jesus, now? I mean, when I finally meet Him?” But with a Frenc-Quebecker accent, mind you…
I don’t think I even want to explore what that latter dream was about, except to say my father’s passing very forcefully reminded me of the utter mortality of everyone else I know.
What was your weirdest dream ever? And what have you dreamed about lately?