Memory & Dream

The Effexor really does have an odd effect on my dreams.

It’s not, however, that they are “weird” per se–they’re always weird, of course. I don’t know that they could get much weirder in any dimension, and while they seem marginally more coherent now, such things are too subjective to say with any confidence–it’s not like you can lay two dreams side by side and see which one unravels first.

What they are is vivid. Highly detailed. The other night, at one point I tripped on the sidewalk in a dream, and the sidewalk was incredibly detailed–cracked pavement, gravel, lumpy textures, scattered all over with little blue cubes of broken safety glass where a car windshield had shattered at some point in the past. It’s as if I’ve begun dreaming in high resolution.

What I wonder, though, is whether I’m really dreaming in greater detail, or whether I’m remembering the details more clearly. Were the sidewalks in my dreams always elegantly realized, and they’re only now sticking with me as I wake up? Are the drugs affecting my dreams, or my memory of the dreams?

Or, for that matter, since dreams are often constructed of memories, are the dreams calling up more and crisper memories? Last night, I dreamed I was in my grandmother’s house, and it was surprisingly well realized. I’d always remembered the antique bed, but I’d half-forgotten that the bathtub was pink, and that there was a dark wood bookcase against the wall in that room, but there they were. (And, rather interestingly, it was entirely and only my grandmother’s house–there was none of the mish-mash of remembered homes and old apartments that tend to make up the architecture of dreams.) 

Well, we probably don’t know enough about either brain chemistry or dreaming to say either way. Still. It’s peculiar.

Last night, I dreamed that I was in my grandmother’s house, and James was there. He kept saying that he was hearing noises outside, and I was telling him that he was paranoid. Eventually I went and took a bath  and I was sitting in the pink tub, staring idily out the window. (Here the dream took some liberties and apparently moved the tub about two feet over–you couldn’t really see out the bedroom window from the bathtub in reality.) It was dark out, and the sky was deep indigo, with black tree shadows across it. After awhile, I noticed that there was an odd movement–one of the shadows was moving just slightly, blocking out a star now and again. It was rounded at the top, and after staring at it for awhile, I realized it was somebody’s head, peering in the window.

“Holy crap!” I yelled, leaping out of the tub, “there IS somebody out there!” Heedless of my current state of undress, I charged the window. The man outside recoiled, and there was a brief flicker of light off the lenses of his glasses. (Like I said. VERY detailed.)  James took off like a shot, running for the backyard, and I knew I had to distract this guy.

Fortunately, it wasn’t hard. The stalker was, in fact, a cop–in uniform, no less!–and he was laughing at me. I was yelling obscenities and flipping him off–and jiggling, one assumes, my dream was rather ruthless detailed on some points–and this sufficiently distracted the gentleman for James to come round the side of the house and calmly fire a shotgun at him from more or less point blank range.

“Holy crap,” I said, coming outside (Iassume I must have thrown clothes on at some point here) “do you have a permit for that?”

“I have five,” he said, unruffled.

We stood and stared down at the bleeding body. I have learned never to trust that anything is dead in my dreams, and so further measures were called for.

At the point, the dog showed up. It was a small blond Pomeranian. “Aha!” I said, grabbing the dog. “I’ve got it! We’ll put the guy’s consciousness in the dog!”

“Is that a good idea?”

“A Pomeranian is bound to be less trouble than an injured six-foot-tall cop with a gun.” (Which only goes to show that I am no brighter in my dreams.)

Apparently my subconscious is convinced of my astonishing shamanic powers, because it was no sooner said than done, whereupon the flaw in my plan became obvious.  The dog, needless to say, went berserk. Drastic measures were called for, which involved chasing the dog through the carport for twenty minutes and then soaking the possessed Pom with pesticide (Ortho brand, interestingly enough.) which stunned it.

I called 911–got an elaborately detailed hold message–and finally reached an operator, whereupon I explained that we’d shot a cop and then stuffed his soul into a dog, then hosed the dog down with weed-killer. They seemed to take this very calmly and asked my address. I couldn’t remember it, and wound up trying to read the mailboxes, and gave them the wrong numbers twice before I finally got it right.

Eventually the police arrived, and were unfazed by the situation. They asked me to return their wayward colleagues soul–I did–checked the gun permits (he really did have five, and a permit to carry concealed to boot) apologized for the trouble, and left, and the dream dissolved into vagueness.

And I woke up and went “Dude.”

Well, okay, maybe they’re a LITTLE weirder now…

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