Stalked In My Dreams

Posted Monday, August 3, 2009, 11:40 PM


Some people have recurring dreams, or worse, recurring nightmares. Usually it's something like arriving at school, but naked, and not having done the homework that's due in five minutes. I've never had that particular dream.

But I have had recurring themes in my dreams. When I used to act on stage, at a poky little Repertory theatre in the middle of nowhere, I would have a nightmare just before the opening night of each play, where I'd be on stage and not be in the right costume, or would have forgotten my lines. It happened so regularly, and always before a run that went flawlessly, that I thought of it as a sort of good luck charm. In fact, once I didn't have the dream, and on opening night I forgot my first line.

Another recurring theme I have is driving.

I don't drive, I've never learned, and it's now so late in my life, I'm afraid to. Negotiating traffic scares the bejesus out of me, and in any case I'm not very good at paying attention to the hundred and one things I'd need to, to be a reasonably competent driver: signage, pedestrians, traffic, lights, radio, thinking, phone, cyclists, crazy unpredictability, weather, and all within very restrictive road rules. Operating a car doesn't bother me, I'm sure I could learn that very quickly, so if it was just me alone on the freeway, I'd be fine. But the thousands of obstacles constantly demanding my attention would send me into such a spin, I'd put others and myself at risk. Frankly it's best I stay away.

Having said that, unlike most people who dream of flying, instead I dream of driving. Usually it's me in control of a vehicle with passengers, taking them to some location and having an adventure on the way, often on the side of a hilltop climb. I usually have no problems with the driving in the dream, and I am even enjoying it. Usually anything bad that happens is caused by my leaving the vehicle and ending up in a crazy situation getting lost in suburbia.

But the scariest nightmares I have are ones with a very specific theme. I am usually alone, and aware that something is out there looking for someone - not specifically for me, but I am the closest likely victim - and I am trapped in a location, while this beast prowls around, just metres away. He can't see me, or sense me, but he is heading straight for where I am hiding.

Creeps me right out.

And the beast in these dreams is almost always a lioness. A big predatory cat stalking around looking for someone to leap on.

Last night I had the thematic dream again, this time in a different context. Instead of being alone, I was with a crowd of people. We were all forced out of our homes due to a natural disaster, and are in a compound bordered by chain-link fencing. And outside the fence is a pride of lions, prowling around, causing trouble.

Even though we were all safe behind the fence, the dream decided to manipulate my emotions into fear, and the limited options of getting out of the compound, in case of immediate death by lion, was forcing us into desperate acts. One of which was killing each other to reduce the impact on limited available resources.

The point is, the thematic repetition of my nightmares fascinates me, especially since there is a new narrative each time it reoccurs.

Dreams are weird.

By the way, I don't have a fear of lions, in a phobic or even genuine sense. But I wouldn't like to wander around anywhere where they're roaming.

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