If everyone hates reading other people’s dream stories as much as I think they do, feel free to skip this post. The hook is that I had a dream so bad the other day that it woke me up.
I very rarely remember my dreams. Actually, almost never. I’m assuming I have them, because I do wake up sometimes with fleeting feelings that I had been dreaming. But they’re very vague, along the lines of, “I think I was back in high school, except all my law school friends were there.” Actually, I’m not sure I could have distinguished the two. But anyway, the point is, I can’t remember the last time I remembered a dream in any kind of detail, so that alone makes this unusual for me. I do tend to have those almost-rememberings more often when I get a lot of sleep, so there’s probably some REM-related/sleep deprivation reason for this. But conditions were ripe the other day, because I was sleeping late and wasn’t rushed when I got up, so I didn’t have much to clutter my mind.
I don’t remember the set-up (which is probably the most interesting part), but I was on the run from someone or something. I was running down a road in a very wooded area at night, with no lights or civilization anywhere in sight. It was just this long road and a bunch of trees for as far as the eye could see. I don’t watch “Prison Break,” but it had the feeling the previews for that show try to evoke: I definitely did not want to get caught by whatever was after me. Okay, two weird aspects of this. First, there was someone else running with me. Either he was somebody famous, or reminded me of somebody famous. I want to say it was Sean Penn, but maybe not. The second odd thing is that we were pushing dollies or handtruck or something similar. There wasn’t anything on them, but it was really important that we hang on to them.
The problem with having these dollies was that whoever was after us was following us via the tracks these things left. (I blame “CSI” for putting that in my brain.) They were lighter than the average handtruck, but not so light that we could carry them and avoid leaving tracks. At some point, we decided to split up, and the Penn-guy ran off into the woods. I stayed on the road. Shortly after this, the road started to get steeper. I was climbing a pretty steep hill, and it took a great deal of effort to get up it with the dolly. It seemed to go on a long time, but I finally reached the top.
At the top of the hill, however, I discovered that the other side of the hill — the way down — was even steeper. It was practically a sheer cliff. (But, strangely, still paved, as if the highway system has random spiky mountains in it.) And, when I looked back the way I came, that side seemed even steeper, too. Logically, if I was able to climb up the hill carrying a handtruck, I should have been able to get back down it, even if I had to slide on my seat or something. But from the top, it looked impossibly high and steep. And, even if I could have made it down that way, I didn’t want to go back the way I came, because of whatever was chasing me. In the dream, the high point of this paved hill was just wide enough for me to barely fit — like laying on the world’s highest speed bump. But I was stuck on top with nowhere to go and no way to get there. The last thing I remember is hoisting the dolly over the side, trying to figure out a way to get myself down, and starting to panic.
Then I woke up. I’ve mentioned here before that I’m scared of heights. And I really think that’s what woke me up — the panic I felt stuck on that precipice. I was worried about my pursuer, but that wasn’t an imminent fear. But I woke up in a sweat, my muscles tense, and the back of my neck on fire, for some reason. I have no idea when I last scared myself awake. And often, it’s the falling dreams that wake people up. For me, I guess it didn’t even get that far.
I’m sure the armchair dreamologists have some ideas about what this all means. Have at it. I’m not terribly concerned about the meaning of all this. For me, it’s mostly like an annoying song stuck in my head, and I need to pass it on to get rid of it.