Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Ask Arthur 2020, Part 4: A dreamy end to this series

This is the final post in this year’s shortened “Ask Arthur” series. It’s been varied, as the full seasons, so to speak, of previous years have been—just less of it.

Today’s question is from Roger Green:

Dreams: I've had a few. Are you having dreams in 2020, ones more vivid than in previous years? Please share a couple.

I must dream—scientists say we all do—but I seldom remember any of them, and this year has been no different. However, I do remember having some that were very cinematic—big, sweeping, and/or dramatic stories that were very movie-like. I didn’t remember them for long, but I do remember one involved fighting terrorists, like in an action movie. I can’t remember, though, if I was the fighter or just watching the movie.

The thing about the dreams that I did remember, however briefly, is that I’m very often not in them or even part of them: I’m just an observer. I also very seldom dream about people I actually know, and that includes Nigel. When he was alive, I almost never had a dream about him or with him in it, but I know that he had dreams with me in them because he’d wake up and hit me because he was angry about something “I” did in his dream (and when I say “hit”, that’s dramatic license, because when it happened I was asleep and he and wasn’t actually awake, so it seemed like a bigger thing than it actually was).

Still, I did have some dreams that I remembered, mostly because I wrote notes about them, and all of them were after the Covid nightmare began, apart from one.

A dream I had fairly soon after I moved in to my new house, and before lockdown, included Nigel. I’m not sure he was dead in my dream, but he seemed to have been away. I remember saying to him, “I love you,” and he replied, “I know. I love you, too.” Then I said something about missing him, and the dream ended. That’s not a particularly interesting dream (well, fragment of a dream…), except for one thing: I’ve known plenty of people who’ve had dreams about Nigel that they interpreted as visitations, and this was, and still is, the closest I’ve come to having a dream like that. I wish I remembered more of it.

Months later, in August, I had a particularly bizarre dream with Nigel in it. I knew he’d died and he’d returned. At first, it was him—appearance, voice, everything. But later, maybe after I realised that it was impossible for it to be him, the person was someone else in appearance, voice, etc.—but I knew it was actually him. After that, the dream became about how I was going to convince others that it was really him when he didn’t look or sound like Nigel. “This is so hard,” he said to me. “I know,” I replied. Then I woke up.

The only reason I remember that dream at all is because I wrote down some notes about it, only because I instantly saw how after some tweaking and expansion it could be a good fictional story. That happened to me one other time, but then it was Nigel who’d had a bizarre dream, and when he told me about it I knew that would make a good story, too—and I even started writing it. But it all fell apart because I know nothing about American police procedure, and that was an important part of the story. But the possibility that my own dream might be a story is the only reason I wrote down anything about it—and even that wasn’t very detailed.

A month or so later, I had another dream with Nigel in it, but only kind of peripherally, because what stuck out for me was a song. I blogged about that at the time in a post called "The dream about my ‘only you'", and there, too, details about the dream itself are mostly missing.

I may or may not have had dreams about Nigel after that (or at any other point this year), but if I did I either don’t remember them at all. I also don't remember any other dreams in any detail, if I remember anything at all.

That is, until December 23.

I was thinking about dreams because Roger had posted his question only some 10 days earlier, and I was in the midst of planning my posts in this series. When one popped up, I immediately wrote it down in some detail. Sadly, Nigel wasn’t part of it.

The dream began when someone rang my doorbell (which I installed not long after I moved in, by the way…), so I opened the door and a realtor for a major chain was putting up a “For Rent” sign on my front lawn. I just looked at him, and he said something like, “As you know, these houses were built by a Christian group to provide rental housing…” and then some other bits I didn’t quite catch. I was pretty incredulous, especially because he was implying I didn’t own my house which was absurd because, as a realtor, he would know I did. I pushed back: “So, originally all these houses were supposed to be built by a religious group?” I was thinking that as far as I knew the builder for my house wasn’t religious, and I knew a secular house-building company owned the lot to one side of my house, and the house on the other side was being built by another secular house-building company specifically for a couple. I thought about how other houses on the street didn’t seem to be rentals, and I was about to push him on what the hell he was on about.

Then I remembered that at one time or another I thought about maybe moving back to Auckland and renting out this house. It’s never been a serious thought, more like a daydream along the lines of, if I did that, how would it go? Where would I put stuff? That kind of thing. So, even though the thoughts were little more than idle speculation, they nevertheless seem to have inspired a dream. I was just about to point out that I owned my house, and it wasn’t for rent, but he should keep my details on hand, just in case I changed my mind. I was about to tell him all that, when suddenly the realtor was a woman who sells houses, not rents them, and I was going to tell her to keep my details on file, but instead I woke up.

I don’t think that dream “means” anything, apart from the fact it’s really “about” how unsettled I am in life, which should surprise no one (and it certainly doesn’t surprise me). I thought it was interesting how clear-headed I was in the dream—I knew reality and was going to push it, but I didn’t get the chance. That’s interesting to me because of how often dreams are bizarre and surreal (like Nigel morphing into a different person that I knew was still him, but no one else could/would recognise or accept him, or an epic battle against terrorists. The list is endless.

The only reason I remember that dream at all, really, is because I wanted to write it down specifically for this post. I thought—correctly, it turns out—that I might not/probably wouldn’t have another dream to include between the realtor one and when I wrote this post. I guess the real lesson there is that if for any reason I wake up remembering a dream—even if only “What the hell was that about?!” I should write it all down. Knowing me, though, I’m unlikely to heed my own advice, even if Nigel is in or part of the dream.

I have one other dream story, going back to when I was a kid. I had an involved, epic dream that was only “part one”, something I realised when I woke up. I told my friends about it, and mentioned it several times over what seemed like years, but that was probably actually only weeks at most (weeks and months seem very similar to a kid). I wanted to know the how the story turned out. One night I dreamed the “conclusion” of the dream, and woke up knowing it was. Unlike so many movie sequels, the dream conclusion was satisfying. And then I promptly forgot both parts. So, me not remembering dreams in any detail, or at all, has always been part of me, and not even 2020 could change that.

That’s it for the 2020 series of “Ask Arthur” posts! Maybe I’ll do another series next year, and if I do, I’ll try to give more notice so it can be more like it used to be. Or, not—no promises. I should point out, though, that I welcome questions all year long.

Thanks for this year’s questions Roger and Sherry!

All posts in this series are tagged “AAA-20”. All posts from every “Ask Arthur” series are tagged, appropriately enough, ”Ask Arthur”.


Sure, why not ask again? – The first post in this year’s series.
Ask Arthur 2020, Part 1: An untold story
Ask Arthur 2020, Part 2: Same as it never was
Ask Arthur 2020, Part 3: Important and not

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