For no good reason at all, I was watching some modern-day version of a Classic Cartoon: Tom and Jerry, I think it was. They'd gotten the characters and the backgrounds right, but something just didn't seem to fit, and eventually it occurred to me: the musical score, ostensibly orchestrated but almost certainly produced by some guy with a Macintosh and a copy of Pro Tools and too close a deadline. At least their hearts were in the right place, and — um, can you get the doorbell?

Through the door burst some humanoid with a wild-eyed, almost demented look, but I didn't have time to evaluate his facial characteristics, inasmuch as he was pointing a pistol in my general direction. I did a backwards roll, upending the sofa, and from somewhere on the floor I decided that it was time to wake up.

That was this morning's — well, it was just after three — nightmare, and it's consistent with the usual pattern: generally, I don't actually remember any significant part of a dream unless it's interrupted, at which time the brain performs some sort of memory dump and the subconscious stuff shows up briefly in the conscious.

While I've been pursued before by person(s) unknown, this is not common enough to qualify as a Standard Scene, a brief list of which I provided back in Vent #727, two summers ago. To wit:

One such Scene is inside the Very Large House, usually with ginormous picture windows, where I am staying; either I've just moved in, or I'm in the process of so doing. The dimensions of the House are not known; it's nicely squared off in the front, but towards the back, it becomes highly irregular: hallways dart off at strange angles, and rooms become something other than rectangular. Most of the time I don't want to venture back there to find out why. Yet sometimes I must, most often because of a tremendous thunderstorm which I can no longer watch through those windows, and besides, the roof has a leak somewhere.

Also in the general category of unwanted adventure is the Endless Staircase, which I can descend at pretty decent speeds — unlike real life, where staircases slow me down considerably — but which doesn't seem to have a ground floor anywhere in sight. If there's an obvious explanation for this, it's countered by the Driving to the Edge of the Cliff theme, at which point I have to get out of the car, stand in the mud — there's almost always mud — and survey the scene. At no time have I come close to going off the edge.

Perhaps related to the back side of the Very Large House is the Mysterious City Drive, in which I'm nominally in a place I know where somehow nothing seems familiar, especially when I head in the general direction of a known landmark, in which case the streets dissolve into some random non-pattern and I end up either on foot or very much squeezed for space, and of course it's getting dark.

Often this Mysterious City is identified as Kansas City, a place I know fairly well, since I have family there; however, it never actually looks like Kansas City, either the Missouri or the Kansas version. One particular iteration featured what looked like the Cleveland street grid, complete with tourist-y venues along the lake. (No Admittance, of course.) Another place represented as downtown KC had the requisite number of tall downtown towers, but the layout was more akin to the Palos Verdes peninsula south of Los Angeles. And when the place actually comes close to resembling Kansas City, the street grid goes all to hell — sometimes literally — south of about 21st Street.

There are, to be sure, some themes which almost never show up:

True love: Over the years, I have often spoken of the utter nonexistence of the Woman of My Dreams, and one factor contributing to that nonexistence is the fact that, well, I don't actually dream about her: at any point where I start thinking "This could work," something happens to make sure it doesn't, and the image is forever destroyed. Once she up and died on me — maybe. And one particularly weird story involved my prosecution under some obscure act for failing to pursue some female I'd been following on Twitter for several years: apparently this pairing was mandated by the Ministry of Love, or whoever, and I was in violation by dint of not having violated her. (Tell her about it? Are you out of your Dacron-plucking mind?)

Actual sex: It is possible, though not high on my list of desiderata, to maintain "actual sex" and "true love" as wholly separate entities. But my horizontal hours are almost entirely bopless, and when jigginess is gotten, it doesn't stay gotten: in one scenario, a fire alarm interrupted a hoped-for liaison with a coworker (since departed), and in another — well, read it for yourself. The pillow may be damp, but the sheets never are.

Cute cartoon equines: This may seem implausible, especially given the events of the last two years, but I have spent essentially no time dreaming of ponies. The first scene of The Sparkle Chronicles grew out of a dream sequence, but no other part of that six-chapter story originated in a dream, though I tried to write it as though it did. Beyond that, if I actually did land in Equestria at some point, I didn't recognize it as such at the time.

As to what I should make of all this, I am not sure. I'm not about to go hunting down Jungian archetypes, lest I find out something about myself I'd rather not know. For all I know, it's just the mind playing games with itself while I'm not around to watch.

The Vent

  16 June 2013

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