I Had A Dream

I had a dream last night.  

It was a stunning dream, and I rushed to awaken fully, go about feeding the animals, making and delivering Liz’s coffee, getting partially dressed, went out to the studio, only to find out that some major error message had come up on my laptop (never have had this sort of thing before), causing me to solve it, reboot, yet I could not resist the apoplectic headlines about the fall of sentient civilization (all in my mind, that is, and only the current daily episode), finally got everything going, had a sip of coffee, and here I sit trying to fully remember what was the most important dream of my life.

I think some all -powerful being is playing nasty games with me, but then I have always been a bit paranoid, sometimes with a reason, most often with none except what goes on in that mass of jelly in my head that some call a brain.

So I will try as best I can.

I am taking a medication called Aracept to hopefully slow the advance of dementia (I can hear my inner voice say:  “So, how’s THAT working for you?”), but I have learned to listen to that often not-so-comforting voice less and less, to my great relief, except I get caught in these lengthy “asides”, “episodes”, “observations” and often forget everything.   Such is dementia, in my experience.  Or possibly that is my life, and dementia is finding out what life really is.  I like that idea very much.  The only ability I have left – pay attention, this is the difference between life and death – is humor.   You have been warned.

I knew - when I had this stunning dream - that the longer I waited to write about it, that the immediacy and freshness of the experience would be replaced with the kind of disjointed drivel you have just finished reading, and the essence might easily be lost.

So, finally, on to the meat -  what is left of it - so pay close attention as you will likely suggest the men in white coats pay me a visit soon.  (They actually did, last night, disguised as God, whom I experience as a meandering train of thought interspersed with loud booms which immediately turn into white clouds.  Nice, fluffy clouds, however.  The loud booms are to get my attention, I believe.  They work.)

As I turned on my computer (I can hardly read my own writing any more, as my thoughts are faster than my fingers), up came an error message that I have never seen since the advent of the computer age, something in computer-ese which translated said something like “you are now entering the arena of very deep shit, so turn around before it’s too late”.

You may think I am joking, but this is exactly how it occurred to me, if not precisely in those specific words.   And of course, I thought, what does that mean, exactly?

Another horrible difficulty I experience when I write is that unlike the rest of sentient civilization, I actually correct my writing errors as I go along, with the help of the the products of Silicon Valley,  which further prevents the creation of “the secret to life” which will be revealed at some point further on in this rambling and possibly incoherent effort.   

Further:  I have been taking both Aricept and Namenda, and recently added Sertraline HCL, the only prescription drugs that seem to have any promise of slowing the disease, which is incurable.  One of the medications has a reputation of giving rather vivid dreams to the patient, which is the understatement of all time, in my experience.   “Vivid” does not even begin to describe what I experienced last night.   So the nightly movies in my dreams are stunning and quite interesting, but the intermissions not so much.

Here is the The Dream (one of many, it turns out):

I am on a train, in a lounge car or passenger car, others are on the train (I am a model railroader with a lifelong experience with railroads and riding passenger trains, so it’s a natural metaphor for life as created by that Great Jokester in the Sky who provides my raw material).  The trip is long and pleasant.

At some point we came to a junction in the rail line, with numerous switches, turnouts, signals, other trains, people, etc., and I notice that I know some of these people, or have seen them before.   I am quite comfortable, looking out the window, and want to interact with them.   Parents, relatives, old friends, previous relationships, and some strangers comprise the various groups of people at this massive interchange.  I do not know where the various routes go, and it does not seem important to me, at that particular time. 

So I catch up on old times with my friends, make new friends, and all is pleasant.   Some of the people are old relationships of various sorts, some make me happy, some make me a bit uncomfortable, but it is all okay.

As I wait and look around, my discomfort increases.  I want to talk some more, but cannot seem to, and I want to warn them of what might be ahead, or somehow get them to change their destination, which somehow takes on importance.  It is as if I have some knowledge of what lies ahead, cannot describe it, and cannot communicate it.  And I realize I cannot interact, I cannot move, I seem to be pinned onto the bed (not the one in my dream, but the actual bed in which I lay), I actually struggle to awake from this dream, yet I cannot.  It is as if I am dead, or nearly so, with no way of reaching out.  Gradually, a state of terror envelopes me, and I realize that I am, in fact, actually dead.

Now, in my dream, being dead is not unpleasant, especially when one can experience all that is happening, but the difficult part is there is no way to communicate with the others.   They are doing fine, living their lives (I initially typed “lies” instead of “lives”, which was likely just a typographical error), but the inability to communicate was distressing, to say the least.

Further, I tried “consciously” to wake up from that dream and sleep I was in, and could not.  I was pinned to my bed by some unknown outside force, could not move, and could only experience.  I was dead, but could experience my surroundings.  The only difference was in my inability to communicate.

As I write this, I think I have just described the best definition of Hell ever, in my experience.   That is, to see life in its various forms and to not experience or interact with it.  As I type this (or as It types this, as I am somewhere else), I have this overwhelming feeling of sadness and peace, simultaneously, which mirrors the feeling in the dream.   I also realized that I have been here before with this same experience.   It is an indescribable feeling, to be utterly alone and unable to communicate.   I have also been here before in different guises.

As a Man Of Action, I of course try to warn them, tell them – yet I do not know how or what.  Sound the warning, ring the bells, send out an alarm; all to no avail.  I cannot reach anyone.

I say the following as a hard-headed empirical engineer:  I think that is the closest definition of death – or perhaps Hell - that I can imagine.   I see I just repeated myself, but I only saw this when proof reading, interestingly.  My mind also says it is not that at all, but is “nothing.”  But it was“something” because I sit here with tears streaming down my face (an unusual occurrence for me) at being unable to reach all of them.   And – of course – I realize that it was “just” a dream, but at the time, there was no way to get out of the dream except to experience it, continuously, trying to get away, somewhere, and not being able to do anything but experience nothingness.

At this point, words fail me.  That experience went on forever, I could not reach anyone, they were not aware of me, and they continued on, happy as ever.

Eventually, I came out of it, I opened my eyes, the morning light was coming through the windows, our cat Bella came over and sat on me as always.  (I like to think my cat Bella comes to comfort me, but I know she is simply hungry and wants me to get up and do my daily duty, as does the rest of the world.)

And for now, just in this moment, as I sit here in tears, that is quite good enough, and deeply satisfying.  It is, once again, all okay.

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Sunset On The Prairie
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