Saturday, June 09, 2007

True Dreams

For some years now, and I can't remember when this started, I've been afflicted by something I've taken to calling true dreams. These are dreams which, on waking, I find impossible to distinguish from reality.

I had such a dream on the night of Thursday June the 7th, at which point I had some kind of flu. I'd been feeling lethargic for some days and, on returning from the daycare center in the evening, I felt the urge to vomit, so crouched down by the grating of a stormwater drain and threw up two or three times.

That night, I had a horribly plausible nightmare in which I installed Linux on one of my computers and completely botched the process, destroying some important data while I was doing this. On waking, I believed that I'd done exactly that, and didn't revise my opinion until the following morning.

After that, I dropped off to sleep again and had a long and involved dream about the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. For some reason I had to gather together all the colors on the Wikipedia site, and eventually succeeded, ending up with a capsule of black, a capsule of white, a capsule of blue, a capsule of red and a capsule of brilliant green.

This dream seemed every bit as real as the first, but, on waking, I did not assent to it, because it lacked plausibility.

I woke at 0630 when my wife woke up and went downstairs. A few seconds later, there was a great cry of shocked horror from my wife. I waited for a repetition, but there was none, so I decided that being ill excused me from the demands of chivalry, and that I would stay snug in bed until my daughter woke up. Which she did about sixty seconds later.

Shortly afterwards, while my wife was dressing daughter Cornucopia, I heard the kettle boiling on the gas stove, so turned it off. I didn't realized, however, that my wife was cooking toast on a toaster sitting on one of the gas burners, our electric toaster having given up the ghost. My wife, whose sense of smell is much better than mine, suddenly realized that the toast, which she had forgotten about, was burning.

We now have, in the kitchen, a fire blanket, and, additionally, a fire extinguisher, a gadget the size of a can of fly spray. No pin to push. You just press it and make it squirt, as you would with fly spray.

I didn't ask my wife why she'd screamed earlier, because I figured she'd probably just stepped on one of daughter Cornucopia's toys, and had almost taken a fall. But later she told me what had happened.

She came downstairs and saw, on the wall, a spider ten centimeters in size. She took a shot at eliminating it, but it scuttled off to safety and vanished.

I've always known that we have spiders in the house but the only ones I've seen are tiny little hunting spiders, which are perfectly acceptable as house guests.

That morning, I took my temperature. I had dropped overnight, but was still at 38.8 degrees Celsius, well into the fever zone. And I had no appetite, and felt lousy. So I phoned in sick.

This is only the second time I've called in sick on account of personal medical needs. I don't see any evidence that my constitution has been wrecked, though I must admit that my stamina levels are still down.

Before my wife left home for the day, she gave me orders. I was to sleep. And I was not to work at my computer. Once home alone, I obeyed, for the simple reason that I was too sick to do otherwise. I blobbed out on the couch until lunchtime, at which point I had a healthy slice of dry bread.

Ideally, given strength, I would have worked, as I have a number of projects that I am trying to progress. One is a book of poems with the title GENGHIS LOTUS POETRY COLLECTION. The text of this is now complete, and all that remains is to format the text into a Word document for publication, and spell check the whole thing, which should be accomplished within the next week or two.

I am also grinding ahead (very slowly) on a new edition of my science fiction novel THE SHIFT. And I am working on a fresh SF novel, SINFUL SURVIVAL, which I hope to have finished by next year.

But ambition must bend to reality, and, when you're sick, it's better to do the smart thing, give up and crash out. At least for the moment.

On Saturday June 9 I woke up after midnight feeling hungry, so went downstairs and cooked two minute noodles. Before I sat down to eat, I turned on all the lights and had a good look around for a ten centimeter spider. Even though my eyesight is trashed, I was reasonably sure I would see a spider of that size if it was out and about. But it was nowhere in evidence.

When I got back to sleep, I had another true dream. I was in a street somewhere and I saw a series of business logos, each incorporating the same graphic element, a horizontal row of five circles, with a dot in the one furthest to the right. In my dream, I understood that this was one of the world's current graphical conventions, and that the dot in the rightmost circle signified that the product identified by the logo would not be on the market until some time way off in the far future.

On waking, I believe that this was real, but that belief did not persist for very long. It vanished of its own accord, because I could not recall the logic of the dream. In the dream, there had been a very persuasive logic which had explained why that dot signified the far future, but that logic did not survive the moment of awakening.

Speaking of dreams, I recall that, when I was a child, if I'd seen something scary on TV and wanted to be really sure that I wouldn't dream about it, I would make a point of thinking about exactly that, really hard, just before I dropped off to sleep. This always worked, though I have no idea.

I didn't do this very often, however, for the simple reason that, when I was growing up, we didn't have TV, so my exposure to scary programs was limited. However, there were occasions when I did see something seriously scary on TV at the neighbor's place. I think the scariest things I saw were sci fi programs, and I remember some scary STAR TREK stuff and some scary stuff from the TV show LOST IN SPACE.

After I went back to bed, I thought about reviving my childhood habit with reference to the scary spider, but didn't bother, and didn't dreams about the spider.

I've always thought my avoiding bad dreams strategy was my own unique quirk, but maybe other people have done the same in their childhood.

What taught me, in childhood, that I was not unique, was the use I made of the cereal spoon. In adolescence, I grew distressed by the fact that I was totally dependent on my right hand, and, to compensate, trained myself to eat my morning cereal with the left hand. In this, I thought I was sui generis, one of a kind. But, later, to my surprise, I listened to a kid of my own age who was at the same high school as mine, and, from his conversation, I learnt that he had gone and done exactly the same thing, and for the same reason.

That's it for dreams, for the moment, I think. It's Saturday morning, my daughter is at the daycare, my wife is out attending to some personal business, and I'm busy eating a banana sandwich. Once I'm done with the sandwich, I'll upload this blog entry, then put in at least an hour of work on my poetry book.

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