Well that dream sucked.
Every now and then I get these dreams where one eye is open, and I can’t wake up. Usually after I’ve waken up and gone back to sleep, but not always.
This morning was definitely of the “woken up and went back to sleep” variety. And it was the absolute worst because I knew I was stuck in that state from the very first time I “woke up with my eyes not working”.
I’d been having a dream about getting lost on the way to some weird menial day-job after taking a bus across the city. I came to the place my girlfriends were living and bemoaned the fact that they never came home to sleep with ME any more. Then I think I drifted off to sleep in a bed there. And then I half-opened one eye and saw my glasses sitting atop my iPad, from where I’d left them when I woke up earlier today and went back to sleep.
I wandered out into the studio and into the kitchen. It all looked perfectly normal. As I passed through the studio, my feet kicked some cardboard boxes that were still there from unpacking from Rainfurrest, but that weren’t there in my dream rendition of my apartment. (Which, now that I look back on it, was generally (a) a little bigger than the real thing, and (b) cleaner.
I decided to try going into the bathroom to pee. The toilet is never Quite Right in my having-to-pee dreams; I figured that should help me wake up. On my way back through the studio I was stopped by a dream person who was absolutely fascinated by something I was wearing on my feet; he tried to drag me into a conversation about it but I was resolute on my “try to wake myself up by failing to pee in whatever was in the bathroom instead of a toilet” mission. I went to where the bathroom should be, which was instead an opulent second bedroom. The dream person followed me, taking on something of the aspect of Ashy, all dressed up in their finest foppish finery. There was another smaller dream person puttering around but I don’t remember them doing anything in particular.
I went into the bathroom. Which was larger than my real one, and shaped a bit differently. And, most importantly, just had an empty place on the tiles where I expected the toilet to be. No pipes sticking up, just a clean spot in the middle of the kind of stains that accumulate on the floor around toilets. “Well, I could clean around it more easily now,” I briefly thought. I unlocked the door (which had a circular window in it and was locked by a latch around eye height, rather like the changing rooms at the vintage shop I patronize, instead of the usual opacity and latch by the doorknob found in most bathrooms) and went back out into the opulent dream bedroom.
Out there dream-Ashy was still talking to me about something. What, I don’t know. I wasn’t paying any attention; I was entirely focused on the fact that I was stuck in this threshold state with one eye open in the real world and I wanted to WAKE THE FUCK UP.
Then I went back into the bathroom, without locking it. And this time where the toilet should have been there was this alien… contrivance. Some sort of spherical thing made of porcelain, with a few little holes in which water laid. It looked like a cartoonist’s idea of what would be found in the bathroom of an intergalactic dive bar. When I looked away from it and back, it was something else entirely. Something even less appropriate for peeing on or in, that I can’t remember how to describe. There were 4-5 shapes it would cycle between when I looked away. Almost but not quite in an order. Some of them were these sculptures, with mesh over holes, and wooden faces peering out at me. I called Ashy’s attention to this. And then I was like “whatever, I’m going to see if pissing on it will wake me up”. And I took my penis out, aimed, and let loose. To be rewarded by the sensation of moistness spreading around my loins as if I’d pissed myself. But I still didn’t wake up.
Then I was back in my bedroom, running around screaming for help and seriously regretting that I’m currently living alone. Would I be stuck like this until my body died? Not a pleasant prospect. I say I was screaming, but I wasn’t – I could tell I wasn’t actually making a single sound; I could tell that my mouth was muffled against my pillow.
And then I finally woke up. With a gasp. And with a full bladder and no wet spot on the bed. And a LOT OF RELIEF. I was very definitely AWAKE, none of that muzzy “eh I’m awake but I’m still dreamy and might go back to sleep” stuff.
This is the closest thing to a recurring nightmare I’ve ever had. The “can’t wake up for real” dream. It is never fun. Usually it takes three or four cycles of getting up with my eyes “stuck on one image”, fumbling my way out of the normal bedroom and into increasingly strange dream versions of my place, and being reset to lying in bed before I realize what’s going on, but this morning I knew it from the start. That’s unusual, and I don’t know what to think about that. I guess I’ll see if I recognize it this fast next time. And maybe I’ll know that the toilet trick never works.
Does anyone else out there have this kind of dream? Got any strategies for dealing with it?