Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Incredible Dullness of Dreams

Since this is the time of year I start having nightmares about teaching, last night I *willed* myself to have a teaching dream and then to remember it. Well, as you know well -- perhaps weller than I -- an experiment is a success even if it is a failure, that is, if all the requisite protocols and conditions are observed and nothing happens.

Nada.

Last night I think we did rather better than nada. (Spanish for something) happened, though it certainly did not seem to have much to do with teaching. But when I awoke for either the first or the forty-first time from the light sleep that characterizes the end of the night's sleep state, I did remember that I had pledged to remember.

And guess what? I did ... remember. Here's what I remember dreaming. This is truth, not just truthiness.

* I dreamed that I was looking at Natalie Wood in an old-fashioned automobile of the sort from the early days of that mode of transport driving down a very steep hill and over an embankment. And there was a voiceover that said: "This is the most dangerous movie stunt ever attempted." Natalie Wood was in a rather lavish comedy about the racing in the early days of automobiling, and I saw that movie, but there was no scene like this.

*And then I dreamed that a woman was showing Jason Robards Jr. -- like Wood, long since dead -- a painting on a wall. And Jason Robards Jr. said that he had owned paintings by the same artist, but that he had given them to Mrs. (can't remember name). The woman commented once more on the painting, and once more Jason Robards Jr. said he had owned paintings by the same artist, but that he had given them to etc. And in in the dream I thought, "He is having an affair with Mrs. (I can't remember her name), and this is his way of letting the woman to whom he is talking know that fact. But then Jason Robards Jr. said he was going to visit Mr. and Mrs. (I can't remember the name), and I thought perhaps I had jumped to a conclusion, and that he and Mr. and Mrs. etc. were just friends.

* My wife and I were in a the auditorium of a movie theater, and we decided to leave. No movie was, in fact, on the screen and the lights were on, but I don't recall if that was our reason for leaving. As we walked out through the lobby, there was a barrier made of yellow tape strung between stanchions blocking the front doors, the doors through which we intended to exit. A young man in the lobby, obviously a theater employee, said, "You can't go out that way." And then he added, "I'll have to stamp your hand so you can get back in." And I told him that he was saying the wrong thing, that he should just say that we can go out that way but that if we don't get our hand stamped, we can't come back in. And he said, "I have to say what I'm told to say." About that time some young people walked passed us and out the door. But as the walked through the lobby to exit, another theater employee gave them yellow flyers, which they immediately threw on the ground. My wife and I started to leave also, but first she picked up the yellow flyers from the floor of the lobby and put them in a trash can.

Now, if you have read this far you will probably say, "No. I haven't read this far. I stopped a long time ago because these are not very interesting dreams. But someone who had read this far might well go whole hog and ask, 'Okay. What do these dreams mean to you, sir?'"

To which question that might be expressed but probably won't I can only say that I dunno. I guess such dreams suggest I am a bit of a pedant, who would like people to say what they mean in the first place. But if my subconscious is trying to get at something about how I teach, this is rather roundabout.

Subconscious! Say what you mean!

Be clear as you were with that business about my wife picking up someone else's trash out of the goodness of her heart, which is what my wife has done and will in the future do. But that's not some dream secret, that's documentary.

And what that has to do with the price of melons in Katmandu your guess is as good as mine.

1 comment:

david silver said...

first reaction: speaking as someone whose dreams usually include nothing more than a cloud or a sock or a table, i want some of your dreams.

second reaction: the theater dream is a teaching dream. you note: A young man in the lobby, obviously a theater employee, said, "You can't go out that way." And then he added, "I'll have to stamp your hand so you can get back in." And I told him that he was saying the wrong thing, that he should just say that we can go out that way but that if we don't get our hand stamped, we can't come back in. And he said, "I have to say what I'm told to say." too many of our students have an answer (no, can't) before they even know the question. you taught the young theater usher that words liberate us against no's and can'ts.

third reaction: zero interpretations of the whole robards, jr. thing.