Saturday, December 29, 2012


I’m amazed by the amount of detail we can create for ourselves as we dream. Last night I was making myself a sandwich at a buffet as the person behind me spoke animatedly. Gesturing, she bumped the handle of the knife in a bowl of mayonnaise and it flipped out of the bowl and smeared mayonnaise all over my pants leg. This was especially troublesome because I was traveling and didn’t have any other pants with me. Somehow I remember the mid-air mayonnaise with special clarity and I ask myself why in the world I was lying there creating visions of such a scene. Was I practicing so I’d remain calm in the event of some real-world affront? That’s hard to imagine, since I’ve already had adequate practice at being spilled on.

I prefer to dream that I’m flying (without an airplane.) I flew all the time when I was a kid, but not so often now. In my dreams it’s not very hard. I just stretch my arms out to the sides, lean forward, and make a little jump from my toes. From then on I simply have to keep my thought relaxed and fluid, and imagine where I want to go. Generally, I skim along the ground at about chest height, but if I need to get over a fence or something I can do so by special effort, arching my back a little bit and willing myself upward.

Later last night I traveled by train with Alla. We didn’t have an ordinary compartment but as I write this the details of our tube-like chamber elude me. I “woke up” as we pulled into a station and I thought, “Did the conductor say we were arriving in Minsk?” I couldn’t see much out the window so I got out of the train and peered down the track. It was definitely Minsk. I didn’t know how much longer the train would remain in the station so I banged on the window to wake Alla. Then I got into the train car and roused her: “Get up, get up! We’re in Minsk!” Not fully awake, Alla managed to get off of the train with me before the train started off.

The train ride seems like a pretty standard dream to me. Alla sleeps soundly, and in any event she isn’t always ready when I think it’s time to go out the door. But an unknown person flipping a glob of mayonnaise onto my only pair of pants? That’s really odd.

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