I finally had a new kind of dream last night! And what a relief! You see, my whole life I've had the same sort of dream--always running away from something dangerous or through a stressful scenario on my way to pursue an impossible job or goal. For example in my weeks before becoming a teacher, I had all sorts of dreams where I had to park a mile away from the school on the first day and run through a very crowded Countyfair that had been set up next to the school only to find out that my photocopies were not ready so I had nothing to teach. In one case, I had to fight huge crowds going up and down a series of unlabeled escalators to find my new classroom since it had been moved into the nearby shopping mall. And in another, I had to take people with me to a party supply store across town to bring back supplies for my first day's lesson because I had shown up late and unprepared.
I had dreams like this as the kid too, and they all had that similar feeling of needing to escape or break through something. In my earliest one, and I think it was about 7 years old, I looked out my window one night to see that my front yard was swarming with animals and one especially huge lion. I needed to go outside for something but when I tried, the fear was overwhelming and the lion came right at me. In another one from around age 9, I was taking a shortcut home from school (a shortcut I was not supposed to be taking through a neighbor's yard) and two "bad guys" started chasing me. I tried running but the faster I ran, the heavier my legs felt and the more slowly I moved, so I walked as quickly as I could. When they caught me, I told them I would scream (something I was kind of infamous for in my younger, louder days) but all that I could do was whisper because anything louder made my voice shut off. I'm guessing that all these dreams had something to do with feeling stressed or trapped in someway but I've never really sought out an official psychological interpretation because quite frankly, it seems a little crazy to admit that this is all I have ever been able to dream--or at least able to remember. But last night I had a whole new sort of dream!
Last night's dream had a few stressful elements but a whole new interesting element was present: chaos! Random, curious, hilarious chaos. Aaron and I were moving to a city that felt like a mixture of Portland and L.A. and he had signed the lease for our apartment before I traveled down there to meet him. The new apartment had some pretty great things--like a jacuzzi tub AND a hot tub (although the hot tub was in the living room...) and it had the great big bay windows which I love! It was also in the same building as a local dance studio! However there were some unusual, amusing things about the apartment too. Like the fact that all the curtain rods were broken or missing and we weren't allowed to put up window coverings, and there was a commode across from the hot tub in the living room, and the carpet was literally thrown down on the floor or held together with caulk to hide damaged floor below it. And there were two refrigerators in the hallway, but one was full of milk and cat food because we had to share our kitchen with the adjacent humane society and about thirty cats. I'll give the landlord a little credit for his creative use of holiday spirit though: since curtains weren't allowed, he had placed a Christmas tree between the hot tub and the toilet to give a touch of privacy. Even in my dream, I was struck by the balance between appreciating that my husband had worked so hard to find an apartment that he thought I would like and laughing at how unbelievable the apartment turned out to be an real life.
In the next stage of last night's dream, I told the landlord I wanted to have a walk-through of the apartment so I could discuss my concerns. He nervously agreed but scheduled it for a time when I was supposed to be helping my younger sister take her seven-year-olds to their first dance competition. Now, in real life I'm pretty positive that neither of my sisters have ever considered owning a dance studio, but in this dream, Megan not only owned a dance studio, she had flown her students all the way to where we were for a prestigious competition so that I could help her with them that day. Several scenes of my dream included me trying to wrangle a bunch of hyper seven-year-olds (who I had never met before) down to meet my landlord and keep them entertained while we discussed the goals of our upcoming meeting. Then I corralled them back upstairs to the competition area where I said goodbye to them and good luck to my sister. But I didn't go to my meeting yet; I went to teach dance camp for my high schoolers. And since I'd arrived during the lunch break, I had a momentary lapse in judgment when I thought it would be okay for me to ride with my mother to the nearby shopping complex for lunch. Halfway there, I realized this would make me late for dance camp and I jumped out of the car because my mother wouldn't take me back. Then, reminiscent of my childhood dream where I couldn't run any faster, I tried forcing my legs to carry me back to the school as quickly as they could go. As I was running, I couldn't stop picturing the random craziness of my new apartment which had probably been taken over by cats and seven year olds by this time.
Finally, the trajectory of the dream started to feel somewhat familiar, and I managed to wake myself up. This might have been the first time that I ever woke up from a dream where I was actually laughing and not clenching my teeth or my fists with anxiety. If only I had better drawing or painting skills, I would love to recreate the apartment from my dream because it was about the funniest thing I have ever seen. Anyone want to try interpreting my new dream now?!?