One of the questionable benefits of a sleepless night is the discovery that you, in fact, do have several dreams a night. What appears, at first blush, to be an uninterrupted night of tossing and turning does include interludes of fitful sleep, sometimes accompanied by sequences of dreams. The constant sleeping and waking allows you to remember, at least for a moment, the makeup of these dreams.
I’m not sure what causes the sleeplessness, much less the particular dreams. When Scrooge encountered the ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol he attributed him to “…an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.”
Dreams, as stated by Sigmund Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams , are all forms of “wish fulfillment” — attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past.
According to several sources, we dream six to eight dreams a night but many of these dreams go unnoticed. There are several standard sets of dreams, six to ten in all.
One source lists the top ten as: car troubles; faulty machinery (Car troubles and faulty machinery? Really? Do any of you spend your nights changing engine oil or adjusting the thermostat?); lost or trapped; missed a boat or plane; failing a test; ill or dying; being chased; bad or missing teeth (presumably less of this one in Appalachia); dream nudity (more of this in Beverly Hills?); falling or sinking.
Mine fall into none of the above. My major dream seems to be what I call Endless Convoluted Maze Accompanied by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, elevates two minor characters from Hamlet to leading roles. My dreams elevate similar inconspicuous and inconsequential players to major roles. Hamlet and Ophelia sit on the sidelines. [Uh oh, I see a psychiatrist type encouraging me to sit down on the couch and explain all of this thoroughly. Fat chance, buddy.]
Endless convoluted maze is the main theme. I find myself visiting a town only to find colleagues (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) there from work. For reasons I can’t explain, we are assembled in a set of rooms that combine a doctor’s waiting room with a storefront and an old-fashioned diner but we are there due to some unexplained legal matter. As time passes, colleagues are replaced by doctor’s patients. I go searching for the colleagues who, having finished their meal at the diner portion, go off to some undisclosed location. In my attempt to follow them, I move through the town and outsides and insides become interchangeable.
In some part of my dream, I go into a building next to a parking lot, go through the whole building to upper floors, get to the end of a corridor and am faced with a small exit next to a small office that is the size of a crane operator’s cab. The occupant of the room explains to me that the only out is to take an exit which is a combination of fire escape ladder and climbing rope. Why I don’t just retrace my steps is beyond me. When I complete the exit, I am outside once again in the middle of the parking lot even though the building would clearly be at the edge of the parking lot.
No wonder that I’m still tired in the morning. I’m overworked trying to figure the dream out.
Please tell me that you dream about car troubles and faulty machinery.
I think I’ve actually been in your dream! I have a similar one but it’s usually a school ‘maze’ (I taught College for almost 30 years) and I can’t find the classroom I’m supposed to be teaching in (or, occasionally, taking a class myself in). Sometimes I get to the ‘right’ floor but I can’t remember the room number, or I get to the room and it turns out it’s the wrong one, or I’m late, or there aren’t any students there. I’ve never tried to analyze my dreams – they’re too crazy for me to want to know what they really mean!
I think that I have taken that class.
O sleep! O gentle sleep!
Sounds like your dream gives you plenty of exercise so that could save you time at the gym. We do have the recurring old fashioned diner in common – and my best advice to you is avoid the stuffed cabbage.
Every night before sleep I say to my son “happy thoughts and “happy dreams” and he tells me his happy thoughts are “trains and tracks and fire trucks” and in the morning he tells me these are what his dreams were. no mechanical problems reported – I wish it was so simple.
I agree. Trains and fire trucks running down straight tracks and roads. No convoluted curves or mazes.
Oh, how I miss my changing the oil dreams!
I used to fly quite a bit, by my own volition, and take tests that I haven’t studied for– Lately, I wake up clueless as to what I might have dreamt about. I think the projector in my head is having some technical difficulties. Maybe the bulb is burned out?
Replacing the bulb may qualify as faulty machinery.
I’m in a crowded room with everyone in a panic about something stupid and asinine. They are all looking at me for the answer to the problem while I look at them thinking why I should even give a flying fuck about this problem other than everyone yelling at me…then I wake up in a cold sweat.
This sounds remarkably like many business meetings I attended.
You wouldn’t be able to retrace your steps, Cur as no doubt the route would have been altered just after you went past … tricky blighters, dreams. You obviously know that on some level.
I have the same sort of dream. I often return to a childhood home only instead of our old 2 up 2 down cottage I walk from room to room … it has become a vast mansion which frustratingly I am not allowed to keep. I think I’m looking for something but I never find it … probably because I never know what it is I looking for
That explains why you can’t find it.
If I am troubled, I see myself driving 😉
I wonder if that counts as car troubles?
it does..moving trouble
I never dream about cars or machinery, probably because I don’t have a car. Gee I now feel very lucky to not dream about the subway that I ride practically every day here in New York. If I did dream about it, the MTA would probably find a way to charge me for that.
TheMTA would charge based upon peak or non-peak dream time; the length of the dream; dreaming in color or black-and-white…
The MTA would love the way you think.
I wonder why our minds replay certain dreams over and over again. Mine has to do with the simple act of making a telephone call and I can’t get the sequence of numbers right. Failure to make the call will result in the end of the world, the end of me, or no Thai take-out for dinner…
No Thai take-out IS the end of the world!
Mine is needing to call 911 and being unable to dial the rotary phone correctly ….I hate rotary phones…but I also hate phones in general.
More recent is being in school and not remembering where my classes are located, if I’ve done my homework or where my locker is….
I only have weird maze dreams if I’m really sick and then I’m typically an ‘orange’ spy…whatever that means.
For many years (decades, actually) after college, I dreamed that I had failed to attend one class that would allow me to graduate. I had to search for my diploma in the morning to convince myself that I really had graduated.
Dreams are CRAZY – and interesting. I have some really wacky ones.
So – show me the diploma…
I have never dreamed of car trouble or faulty machinery. Like you, I often have the “maze” dream, but the worst one for me is a recurring one. It’s stupid and banal and utterly infuriating. I’m trying to accomplish some pointless task, and things keep going wrong, so I do it over and over… and over. Then I wake up, think ‘Oh, good, I’m finally done with it’, fall asleep… and dream the same damn thing again. And again. All. Night. Long.
Then I get up in the morning, sit down at my desk, and work for 12 or 15 hours… hmmm… wait a minute…
If only you could do work while sleeping…
That does sound exhausting! I’m either having nightmares (someone chasing me or harm coming to my children) or dreaming that I’m seeing patients, but I can’t get too them all. There are so many, and the more I see, the more that come. So yeah, guess I’m a little exhausted after these reveries, too. 🙂
My only true nightmare occurred when my arm fell asleep and, turning on my other side, it fell across my body and I thought it was a huge snake. When I awoke yelling, I attempted to throw the “snake” off my body and my arm promptly walloped my in the head.
Haha. Sounds restful.