Sunday, January 30, 2011

My mind: Open to interpretation.

Most nights this past week have produced vivid dreams, the kind you wake up and remember.
There were two dreams of being sentenced to prison, both of them bore very believable feelings of anxiety and fear, respectively.

In the first one me and James Roday from the show Psych were both sentenced to a county institution like the Suffolk County prison back home.

This is a very big and serious jail, it just doesn't have as many triple-murderers and lifers. I was there for a nearly believable reason: a series of scofflaw infractions that had added up and gone to warrant. Many unpaid parking, driving without insurance card, or expired registration tickets. I was anxious of all the things you can imagine being anxious of as a male going to jail. Getting stabbed, but far worse, getting raped in a shower. There was also a fear of becoming one of those chronically impoverished fuckups. I used to work in a homeless shelter. Going to prison once for something stupid has a tendency to turn you into a serious criminal for good. There was a sense of hope in this dream though, from knowing I wouldn't be in there forever and that there was a chance to plead for earlier release because of the nature of my measly crimes.

The entrance to the jail was a believable-looking marble hallway like in a government building, with a security gate. At some point they let me out on furlough and I became very concerned I would get further charged with trying to escape because I couldn't get back in: To return, I had to climb through a narrow, attic cupola window  (which sort of felt like my bed under my chest as I tried to squirm through) in what now turned out to be a house. A brown, Cape-Cod-style house in a tree-shaded neighborhood. Somewhere in the dream narrative me and James Roday had sort of became the same person, as happens in my dreams, but now we were distinct people again. While I tried to get through the window he was down in the yard of the house talking casually to the lady who owned the house. He walked as casually into the entrance of the "jail" and I was afraid that him getting back first would make me look bad to the authorities. I woke up.

The next night I had a dream where the leader of a criminal gang, or crew, who looked like Henry Fonda, picked me to be his chief enforcer and second-in-command. If you asked me in waking hours to be your main thug, I'd like to think I'd come off like a total badass. I would slap people around and let them fear for their lives but it would be mostly psychological. In the dream I felt unsure of my position. I knew my tentativeness would show, and would lessen the respect of the crew, maybe ten other guys who drove trucks, cars and motorcycles in a desert that was also the floor of a living room in a house I don't recognize. I never really "saw" them, there was just the impression of their vehicles. I think this part is a memory of playing Matchbox cars. Henry Fonda had asked me to kill somebody by hitting them with a mallet and I had, in action that appeared off-screen, and now there were sirens because the FBI and cops were coming for him. "You will take the fall" he said. I accepted this as my duty. The last part of the dream was the feeling of fear about what would happen to me in Federal prison.

(Merry just walked into the room where I'm writing holding a mallet, by the way. She's using it to fix Ee-yore's tail).

There was another dream this week I don't remember which also had a persecution theme. Going to trial or getting executed or fired, or something. This morning, I had a dream I was trapped in the belly of a giant fish.

The fish was actually a fossil, and I'm not sure how I got in there. It was the body of a prehistoric deep ocean species with a long, needle-like nose. When it was alive it would drive its nose forcefully into the sea floor to stir up sand containing the plankton-like micro-organisms it lived on. But this particular fossilized fish I was trapped inside of with another, unnamed person had accidentally driven its nose into a vein of oil that wound deep into the center of the Earth, releasing a gushing plume of thick, tarry stuff forming a cataclysm that destroyed much of the world. The oil had preserved the fish's body nearly perfectly and in the present time me and this other person had somehow gotten stuck inside it. All I remember is looking up and seeing its white ribs and spine, black tar between them.

Where is all this coming from?

James Roday comes from the fact that Psych is my favorite comfort-food. I watch it a lot. I watched an episode with Ezra and his friend last night. Prison might come from the fact that I have a couple parking tickets hanging over me and, two days before Christmas, my car got towed by the Town of Richfield with its draconian snowstorm parking rules. The feeling behind the prison dreams, of getting in trouble, I'm not sure about that one. Not to be dramatic, but it's true I've had nearly constant doom hanging over my head for two and a half years. It's a financial thing I haven't resolved. I wake up thinking about it most days, specifically the fear of running out of money and losing a house. But the feeling here was different---it was more about getting in trouble. As for the fish, I took the kids to the Natural History museum in November, and Lucas has been watching this mockumentary about dinosaur fish, and Friday Ezra and I played a guessing game to pass the time waiting for the ear doctor and he picked "Plankton," and yesterday I read an article in the New Yorker about a baby mammoth that fell into a puddle of chemicals 40,000 years ago and just emerged from some melted snow in Russia perfectly preserved. But I like to be dramatic.

So I woke up telling Elizabeth my spiritual life was at some significant turning point on a deep, mythic level, but I didn't know what it was.

I'm taking a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Psychology class right now, and we just covered the explanation of various thematic dreams found in the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic. Dreams about flying mean there's an imbalance between the upper and lower parts of the body. Dreams about anger and fighting indicated liver issues. Anxiety dreams implicate the spleen and stomach. It's possible my dreams are just a collage of thoughts, feelings and images or are somehow related to my liver. But like I said, I like to be dramatic and lean towards Jungian explanations.

Any ideas?


dufmanno said...

I used to watch the HBO series OZ about the brutal life in a maximum security prison.
All I can say is that if jail is as terrifying as that show I would like to avoid it at all costs.
Even if one of those costs is moving to a beach in Mexico, changing my name and working on a boat. Wait, that sounds too Shawshank Redemption.
Still, jail bad. Freedom good.

Eric said...

That show is terrifying. I'm going to write a post about my actual visit to a prison. Stay tuned.