Three nights in a row now, I've woken up because of dreams.
The night between Tuesday and Wednesday, it was three dreams of fire.
The night between Wednesday and Thursday, it was a jail cell in our house, several pairs of scissors, and Kirstin with a gun.
Last night, it was a minor accident in what must have been a National Park or something followed by utter chaos.
The Wednesday-Thursday Dream
We were at Nicole's house, having a lovely time--the first floor was made up almost entirely of a massive kitchen with a long bar, and we were making sandwiches. Nicole's dad was there, except that in the dream he looked like that guy from Northern Exposure and ran a small prison cell in part of the first floor, somewhere behind the bar.
He looks harmless, but if this guy shows
up in your dream, plan on a long night.
While we were eating and laughing, the police brought a prisoner in. He looked vaguely like Temuera Morrison:
but younger, and almost eerily calm. I mean, I knew, the way you just know certain things in dreams, that he was very upset at being imprisoned, but he was also reasonably sure he would get released. And I knew, the way you know in both dreams and movies, that he would want some sort of revenge. He looked at Nicole on the way into prison and I wished her dad didn't run the prison in the house.
I don't remember exactly what happened next: we were playing a game, I think, and then we went upstairs, but the whole time I was wondering when he was going to try to break out. Time bent somehow, I guess, because by the time we got upstairs I knew it had been at least a full day he'd been in there and was starting to wonder when they were going to transfer him to the county or state prison instead of the house. Maybe that's what Nicole's dad went to check on because he wasn't there by the time I glanced out the window to see a car pull up in the alley next to the house. A girl and three guys from the prisoner's gang got out, looked around, and moved toward the wall of the prison part of downstairs. I motioned to Nicole, her sister Kirstin, and her daughter Kira to be very quiet and move toward the other side of the house so that maybe no one would realize anyone was home.
On the way, I noticed a pair of scissors and had this image of the prisoner picking them up on his way in and using them as a weapon against us. As we progressed toward the doorway into a separate room on the far side of the house, I noticed and collected three more pairs. We snuck into the room and quietly closed the door. Then Kirstin got out a gun and stood against the far wall, facing the door, ready to fire on whoever walked in.
I took the other girls and went to a corner of the room to hide. I remembered hearing once that most people aren't very good shots when they're nervous, and wondering how Kirstin would be able to do if it came to that--her nerves are such that it probably wouldn't make a difference. I'd be far more likely to shoot wildly than her. I also remembered advice, was it from my grandfather's grandfather?, that having a gun as protection against robbery often simply meant that a robbery was more likely to turn violent or fatal. Was the gun a good idea? There were five of them, after all.
We waited, and I imagined the now-free prisoner coming up the stairs, wondering if it was really happening or if they had simply left. I imagined him turning the corner, and assessing the situation before making a move for the door.
I woke up.
My first thought was that we were idiots and should have used our cell phones to quietly call 911. My second thought was that in a town where Nicole's father kept prisoners on the first floor for a little extra income, the police were not likely to want to come and face five criminals of some repute. They would probably simply wait out events and come file a report later. (This is, incidentally, how things worked when my grandfather was a child in his village in India.)
My next thought, as my mind moved further away from the half-dream world of being not quite asleep, was that the constant fear of violence is exactly what people lived through in Joseph Smith's day, and during much of the history of the world. Who are we to judge a past filled with fears we can scarcely comprehend?
Nicole and I were driving in a minivan on a dirt road, something vaguely like this:
It must have been in a National Park or other area of interest, though, because up ahead I noticed there were empty cars pulled a little off to the side of the road on each side. For some reason, I couldn't slow down, or didn't think to slow down, and tried to drive between them without hitting either at regular speed instead. I thought I'd done fine, but Nicole said I'd grazed the one on the right and we'd have to pull over and see if we could find the driver or else leave a note.
I pulled over and we got out. We went to look at the car I'd grazed to see if there was any damage, and on the left side I'd hit, the damage appeared to be very slight. On the right side, however, there was significantly more damage. There was a long scrape and a hole on the side. The front right wheel appeared to be bent. I couldn't have caused that, I reasoned. Or could I have?
We couldn't see the driver anywhere and were about the leave a note, but then he appeared. (The best description I can give is that he looked like a worn-out, second-rate version of Tom Cruise.)
Some would argue that Tom Cruise is already
worn-out and second-rate, and maybe always
He was very upset--he was sure that getting hit was show up on his accident records and raise his insurance premiums, so he wanted us to just give him cash on the spot. I wasn't about to do that, and we started to argue. I realized then that maybe our car had actually pulled and not simply grazed his, and that the damage on the right could be a result of our collision on the left. I wasn't sure I wanted to tell him that, though, but I knew I should.
While I was debating, he decided simply to drive his car and see if it would work. I was the only one who had noticed the bent wheel, and thought I should tell him about it, but hesitated because I didn't want him to blame me (probably correctly) and make me pay for it. While I hesitated, he climbed into the car and pressed the accelerator down all the way.
The car lurched forward, sped up, and then (due, no doubt, to the bent wheel), flipped over in the air and landed upside-down. The driver climbed out and stumbled away just before the car exploded. The sage brush and other parched vegetation started lapping up the flames--we had started a wildfire.
I moved toward the minivan, which, in the hole-ridden logic of dreams, had since moved back perhaps twenty feet. Nicole, thankfully, was closer and would reach it and turn around very soon so that we could escape. The dirt was somehow impeding my progress, though--I wasn't sinking, but I was still moving forward as though in quicksand or chest-deep water.
Other tourists were rushing back toward the road to escape the fire. The driver of the car I'd grazed was back on the road, too. They were shouting towards me, but in an extension of constricted feeling of water, I could barely hear them. I finally realized that they were asking how many seatbelts we had free so they would know how many could be rescued. I held up five fingers as I continued to push against the resistance toward the minivan with all my strength, and tried to figure out how to tell them all to pile in and not worry about seatbelts, as life was on the line.
Then again, what were the odds that we would make it to the car and out of the park before the flames enveloped us? They were already racing ahead of the van on the sides of the road--would we really be safe on the road? Nicole was waiting, we were all pushing forward against the horrible mud-slow feeling, and we were probably doomed.
I woke up.
What's with the fire dreams?
I did a quick search on what dreams of fire may mean, and got everything from transformation to anger to passion to alchemy to God. Friends have suggested fever, marshmallow cravings, fear of anti-itch creams, as alternatives. Adam says all bad dreams can be blamed on too much TV. Gloria said maybe the dreams are signs of the impending Apocalypse, but then again, she also said that about my evil carebear dreams.
The end of the world? Or the ultimate s'more party?
Only reader Robert S., in fact, has thus far ruled anything out. He comments that fire dreams don't seem related in any way to the physical temperature of the room.
Is there an explanation for all this insanity? Is there a way to end the pattern and sleep through the night?
This picture makes me think of
cheese--both metaphorical and
literal--more than passion. Maybe
I'm just craving quesodillas...
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