January 27th, 2018

Last night I had a dream

Yesterday I drove about two hours up north to visit friends, and drove back very late. I was so tired when I got back home that I fell asleep without my usual bedtime ritual (elaborate toothbrushing and flossing, makeup removal and face-tending, various yoga stretches) and had a restless night’s sleep with many dreams that remain vivid.

One of them was this. I was hiking alone up on a ridge in a landscape that looked like many parts of California: dry and parched and hilly/rocky, with small straw-colored grasses and shrubs all around. I had some sort of GPS with me and was following its instructions, but I was also checking out the signs along the trail.

One sign pointed to an alternate route that led downhill, supposedly to a road I could see at the bottom. I decided to take it. But after I’d walked many minutes along that path, it started narrowing and finally came to an end.

All I could think of to do was to climb back up again towards the main trail. But it was rough going because of all the rocks, and of course it was uphill as well. I finally fell to my knees and started laboriously crawling. After quite a bit of that—with the rocks hurting and scraping me—I woke up.

I don’t think the dream was about politics, although someone might interpret it that way. I think it was about bigger things than that—including fear that I’ve taken a wrong path but can’t retrace my steps and go back, either.

26 Responses to “Last night I had a dream”

  1. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    The thing about dreams when you’re exhausted is that they may simply be ABOUT being exhausted. It could be that you were dreaming about how hard it was to get home from your long trip when you were so tired, and then you didn’t take the right path when you got home (skipping your usual routines) so restful sleep wouldn’t come. It’s ironic that it can be hard to sleep well just because you’re so tired.

    Or maybe it’s more profound than that. I don’t know. I have often dreamed lately about being away from home – in a college dorm, or a hostel, or summer camp, or a rented beach house with a group of friends – where things just aren’t working. I forgot my luggage or there’s no hot water in the bathroom or I can’t find my way through all the rooms or I can’t seem to get ready in time to catch the plane. Maybe it means something. It’s really hard to tell.

  2. Baklava Says:

    I think it was a mind racing and working on a fear.

    There probably isn’t a fear of a path but some negligible little fear that came to the fore because of exhaustion.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Some time ago a crazy dream came to me

    I dreamt I was walkin’ into World War Three

    I went to the doctor the very next day

    To see what kinda words he could say

    He said it was a bad dream

    I wouldn’t worry ’bout it none, though

    They were my own dreams and they’re only in my head

    Talkin’ World War III Blues | The Official Bob Dylan Site

  4. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The “can’t find the room where I’m supposed to take my final exam” dream is not uncommon, I’ve found.

  5. Chris Says:

    I’ve often had a dream where I’m back in college, It’s time for a final exam, and I realize that I’ve never gone to any of the classes or read any of the assignments. It’s always a relief when I wake up and realize it was only a dream.

  6. vanderleun Says:

    Last night I had a dream
    You were in it, and I was in it with you
    And everyone that I know
    And everyone that you know was in my dream
    I saw a vampire, I saw a ghost
    Everybody scared me, but you scared me the most
    In the dream I had last night
    In the dream I had last night

    It started out in a barnyard at sundown
    And everyone was laughing
    And you were lying on the ground

    You said, “honey, can you tell me what your name is?”
    “Honey, can you tell me what your name is?”
    I said, “you know what my name is”

    (2) Last Night I Had a Dream – Randy Newman – YouTube

  7. The Other Chuck Says:

    If you’ve been following reddit you may have read about the war games in the west. The nature and extent of this exercise is disturbing enough to make anyone have a nightmare. Getting lost in a California dry landscape is a metaphor your GPS stopped working?


  8. Dennis Says:

    Take Homer Simpson’s advice:

    “It’s just a lot of stuff that happened. It doesn’t mean anything”

  9. AesopFan Says:

    Richard Aubrey Says:
    January 27th, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    The “can’t find the room where I’m supposed to take my final exam” dream is not uncommon, I’ve found.

    Chris Says:
    January 27th, 2018 at 7:43 pm
    I’ve often had a dream where I’m back in college, It’s time for a final exam, and I realize that I’ve never gone to any of the classes or read any of the assignments. It’s always a relief when I wake up and realize it was only a dream.
    * * *
    I had both of these fairly often in HS (not so much in college), with the addition of either trying to find my locker and not being able to; opening my locker and finding it wasn’t mine; getting lost in the school building (admittedly, ours was rather oddly designed).

    On the “wrong room” theme, there was one morning in college where I went to my 8 o’clock, sat down, started listening, couldn’t make sense of the assignment being discussed (not one I had done) — then realized that there were two 8am classes in the same building on the same subject, with the rooms in the same relative location but on different floors.

  10. AesopFan Says:

    Mrs Whatsit Says:
    January 27th, 2018 at 4:28 pm
    * *
    Sounds about right to me, if dreams are connected with real life in some way.

  11. parker Says:

    Some dreams last forever, just ask Todd Rundgren.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    I used to have the classic student anxiety dream regularly, many times a year for about two decades after I had finished school. The exam I was failing or forgetting to study for in the dream was always either math or language.

    But then one night when I was having the dream I thought “Wait a minute! I’m a law school graduate, so I must have a college degree already. So I don’t have to have this dream anymore!”

    And to this day I haven’t had the student anxiety dream again.

  13. R.C. Says:

    And then, there’s…

    Last night I had the strangest dream
    I sailed away to China
    In a little row boat to find ya’,
    And you said you had to get your laundry cleaned
    Didn’t want no one to hold you; what does that mean?
    And you said:

    Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
    Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no
    I got to keep on movin’
    Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
    I’m running and I won’t touch ground
    Oh no, I got to keep on movin’

    You’re on the road and now you pray it lasts
    The road behind was rocky
    But now you’re feeling cocky
    You look at me and you see your past
    Is that the reason why you’re runnin’ so fast?
    And she said:

    Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
    Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no
    I got to keep on moving
    Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
    I’m running and I won’t touch ground
    Oh no, I got to keep on moving….

  14. Esther Says:

    Twice in my life I dreamt I was flying, Whoooo! And I have a lovely recurring dream discovering beautiful rooms in a mysterious palace …. But, most of the rest of my dreams are nightmarish.

    Try to dream a solution. The other night, I dreamed I was lost and my brakes failed driving in a strange, dark, lonely parking lot. Then, a malevolent car slithered out of the fog and rammed me!….. eek…. Why look, here’s a gun!

    Quick thinking doesn’t work so well with Armageddon dreams, but what does? Oh wait! I forgot I was an angel!

    You were driving a long way, tired out and didn’t do your calming nighttime routine, so maybe dreaming about being lost was a natural way for your mind to process that somewhat grueling traveling experience.

    Or, could be a weird psychic dream. Is this an omen about the wrong path in life? But, problem is, who can tell a psychic omen dream from a regular weird dream?

    Like I hope that dream where my dead mother was choking me was a regular weird dream, about processing her horrible death from throat cancer, not that her ghost was actually going to come back to kill me…. aaaah.

    Lesson here is, don’t forget to floss! Which I’m going to do too, right now!

  15. Gary D. G. Says:

    Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
    mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
    ché la diritta via era smarrita.

  16. Cornhead Says:

    It has something to do with Trump but I can’t figure it out.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Gary D.G.:

    I thought of that, too.

    Except it’s not the middle of my life 🙂 .

  18. kevino Says:

    “A Friday night’s dream on Saturday told, Is due to come true be it never so old” — English saying

  19. steve walsh Says:

    I’m not responsible for the things I do in your dreams.

    Dreams are an enigma, no one really knows what they mean so they can mean whatever it is that gives you comfort, motivation, or whatever.

    FWIW, I hardly ever remember my dreams and only sometimes do I know that I did dream.

  20. Frog Says:

    Neo’s dream was about failure and futility. I think that is a common thread in dreams of many people.

    When I was young I had two repeated dreams, always the same:
    1) I was able to fly, flew into a bad guy’s yard to do some revenge, then lost my fly-ability when he came out to get me.
    2) Atop a tall building swaying in the wind in a black night, made of only wood. I had to climb down about 100 flights of stairs, but after only descending two, broke thru a step and plunged downward, no stairs below! I always woke up then, on the floor, having fallen a foot.
    But the themes are of fear, failure and futility.

    Now, as a geezer, I dream actively every night, always free of hazard and fear; I dream about others, seldom about myself. Narrative dreams, some very nice, even coherent plots! Often derived from stuff I read in bed before Lights Out. Busiest dream time is in the 2-3 hrs before arising. I know this thanks to the prostate alarm.

  21. neo-neocon Says:


    Sounds like your dreams are fun.

    I used to remember my dreams nearly every night when I was younger. Now it’s rare for me to remember a dream, although it happens.

  22. Mac Says:

    Everyone I’ve ever known who had the student anxiety dream was a good student. I’ve never had it. The obvious inference is correct.

  23. Gary D. G. Says:

    not to be contentious, but…
    When Dante employs the first person plural, as opposed to using the first person singular throughout the rest of the poem, I take it to mean he’s quoting, likely from the Bible.
    Although Psalm 90:10 puts the days of our years at threescore and ten, I prefer to use Genesis 6:3 in which the LORD said, “…yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

  24. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I also have a dream that I’ve missed every class and am wondering if it’s worth my time to go to the exam, or write a paper.

  25. Arlow Says:

    I think your subconscious is telling you not to rely solely on your GPS, but bring a map and compass too, when traveling in the backcountry.

  26. Surellin Says:

    As a matter of real survival skills (and staying completely away from dream interpretation) if you are lost, go downhill. There will be a road or stream down there, and follow IT downhill until you get to a town. If the silly kids in The Blair Witch Project had known that, they wouldn’t have died horribly.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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