Someone once asked if I took hallucinogens before bedtime. I said no, but I’m beginning to think there’s something in the water. Last night I slept well, but I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. And since this blog is all about the Dreamtime, here are some notes that came through last night from that wonderfully bizarre realm.
Act I was a new episode in a continuing series. In this recurring dream I am apparently the host of a British television call-in show, though I am always off-screen. Regular callers send in their photos, which stay on screen during their phone calls, with the legend: “Now speaking: [name], a [occupation] from [location].”
Today’s is a frequent caller, a woman named W.H. Logan who is a prison doctor from Aber-something, a long and vaguely Welsh-sounding name with an overabundance of consonants. (I looked up UK prisons and none begin with “Aber-.” There is a market town in Wales called Abergavenny, lauded in a 1968 song by Marty Wilde, but Ms. Logan has a thick Scottish accent, not Welsh, so don’t really know where she lives or works.) The H. in her name stands for Helen, which is what she prefers to be called. The screen shows a backdrop of the prison at which she works, with an inset of her face. Helen looks vaguely like Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie.
The only thing I remember about what Helen was calling in to talk about today was the image of a black snake (looking like our Black Racers) slithering through tall yellow grasses, a field of grain. A “snake-in-the-grass”? A reference to the evils of wheat gluten? (If so, why a harmless, even friendly snake?).
In Act II, I am friends with Daniel Radcliffe, though in this dream, he’s not an actor and I’m about his age. He’s wearing black sneakers (I’m not sure why that’s important, but I keep seeing them over and over), and he’s very agile. We’re on a farm, I think. I watch him climb down from a barn’s hay loft; the ladder is obstructed somehow, but he balances on the outer edge of the ladder instead of the rungs and carefully makes his way down. Then there’s an eight-foot-tall fence made out of old plywood that is beginning to peel a little. He jumps up and grabs the top edge and hangs from it, then moves along it using only the tips of his fingers to hold on. A strength-building exercise, he tells me. I admire him greatly. In private, I work long and hard to be able to do the same tricks, and when I do, he’s the one who admires me. A sweet little dream.
Act III takes place at my home, though it’s no house I’ve ever lived in or seen before: rather sprawling, with lots of people, some working, some relaxing. There’s even one room with a bar and a full-time bartender, and something of a party atmosphere, though it doesn’t seem to spread through the rest of the house. In between my household duties (am I a host? an employer? I don’t quite understand my function there), I am being counseled by two people who, in this dream, are older than I am, though they are both younger than I in real life. They are, I believe, counseling me about my health, though they’re taking an indirect approach.
The first is Stephen Fry, though his voice is a little off, and he looks nothing at all like the real Stephen Fry. I mean, nothing like him. But I still know it’s him. (And I know that’s properly “I know it’s he,” but that just sounds too pedantic.) Stephen is trying to coax me outside to plant a vegetable garden. I make excuses, most of which amount to I’m too fat to garden. He looks disappointed. (It should be noted that in real life, Fry has lost about 45 pounds recently, and is looking young and healthy.)
Gordon Ramsay is the other counselor, but he’s so much nicer and calmer than his television persona, and I assume he’s going to tell me about healthy gourmet cooking, but he’s mainly interested in getting a Scotch—specifically, a J&B “54 Barrel.” He finds it in my barroom and he happily toasts me. Problem is, J&B doesn’t make anything called “54 Barrel.” The only reference I was able to find was to a barrel-shaped pill labeled Aizo 54, which turns out to be Concerta, a drug that’s used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.
In Act IV, Scene 1, it’s some girl’s Quinces—that is, her Quinceañera, a coming-of-age party held on a girl’s fifteenth birthday. In Latino culture, it’s sort of a cross between a Sweet 16 party, a bat mitzvah, and a Debutante Ball. I have no idea who the girl was or why I was there. Scene 2 was even shorter: someone was announcing, “It’s Mia and Glia’s coming of age!” and there were even newspaper headlines shouting the same news. And of course I don’t know any Mia or Glia, but when I woke up, I was certain it was somehow about glial cells. Glia are cells that provide support, oxygen, and nutrition to nerve cells, maintain homeostasis, form myelin (could that be Mia?), and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system. But why are they “coming of age”? What connection do they have, if any, to Quinces girl?
This is my brain. This is not my brain on drugs. Be afraid, be very afraid.