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InchoateHand 10-11-2005 10:25 PM

Visiting People in Your Sleep
Okay, so Screeching Weasel is not, by most people’s standards, an amazing band. However, they long typified the sort of friendly buzz that silly pop punk could aspire to in the early 90s. And then they released an album, Television City Dream that was sort of a step-away from what they normally were. Sure, there were still songs with endearing refrains like “I don’t want to suffocate in a plastic bag,” but they also seemed to be trying for something a little more complicated. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether they achieved that—what I’m concerned with is the amazingly apt song “Speed Of Mutation.”
It begins something like this:

“It only seems to happen, at three or four am, some blurry half-formed picture, of some half-forgotten friend, becomes clear but I can’t hold it. It happens in my dreams. I can’t remember what it was that meant so much...don’t question speed of mutation.”

This happens to me. Not a lot, but every once in a while, and it’s an experience I really value. It seems to be only women—sometimes women I was involved with, but not exclusively, but always someone I longed for in some sense of the word. After waking up from one of these dreams---and they tend to come in series---I really want to return to sleep, to try and recapture whoever it is, an attempt that meets with near universal failure.

Once I do get out of bed, I feel a very pleasant, melancholic haze. Something akin to the blissed-out peace from opiates, but not nearly so coercive nor abrupt. Instead its just sort of a warm glow, the kind that lets you lie in bed utterly removed from whatever comes next in your day. Sometimes, when its the middle of the night, I just lie there, unable to sleep but blanketed by a bittersweet nostalgia, gently willing its return.

Its always fascinating, because the person who appears is not always recognizable—its someone I feel pulled to strongly, but upon waking up I often struggle to attach a name to the face, and the face itself is often divorced from my other recollections, let-alone photographic evidence.

This happened to me this morning. Three dreams, in rapid succession, centering on the same women. In the confusion of my first waking moments, I mistook the women from the dreams for my partner. I called out to her, but as soon as she came through the door I realized I was in error—it certainly wasn’t her. Already the face was rapidly disintegrating, and as my fiancée left for work I realized who it was. Even armed with a name I couldn’t reconstruct the image, and as I sat drinking my coffee, lazily scanning a newspaper, my thoughts drifted away from the women and back to the concrete, and before I could refocus, she was gone.

This must happen to someone besides me and Ben Weasel.

Blarg 10-11-2005 10:47 PM

Re: Visiting People in Your Sleep
I sometimes get very vivid dreams about people from the past and the feelings associated with them, and sometimes there's a feeling of longing too. Often I will get a strong lingering image from the dream, often in super-saturated colors, and sometimes the dream even freezes in place at that image for a long time. Like you, often those dreams are centered on women or little girls I knew when growing up, and I'll wake up with a strong mental picture of that girl, more clear and alive than I can picture the faces of people I see every day or have seen uncountable times. Often I get a strong feeling of the presence of old environments, too, as if one of the old houses I grew up in were practically a living character of its own and relating to me in a some unspoken way. I guess a house is a pretty strong character to a young kid. There is often a feeling of mystery to these dreams.

InchoateHand 10-11-2005 10:53 PM

Re: Visiting People in Your Sleep

Exactly---thanks for articulating what I was getting at. The house is a killer example, because its a physical sensation of being at that place, and time, where the person is from. For a moment I feel like I am still where, and when, that person is located/dated. I also find that the image I've created, while clearly meant to resemble a very specific person, is an odd, idealized glimpse, much more acute than any "actual" recollection.

Blarg 10-11-2005 11:10 PM

Re: Visiting People in Your Sleep
Yes, those images and situations are very feeling and sometimes meaning laden, for me. They're realer than real, because they mean and evoke more than what they simply are. I can sense it; it's almost pulsating with it. Sometimes the feeling is so intense that my dream freezes in place there for what seems to be a long while, or even ends there, as if what seems like it could be random in a way was actually the whole point of the dream, and something was being revealed to me, or questioned of me. Sometimes I'm able to think quite clearly and ask myself conscious questions about these moments right in the middle of them, like, why does this mean so much to me? And sometimes I can choose to linger rather than having the focus picked out for me. But usually something emotionally evocative and revealing to me is put forth very vividly front and center, and I carry it either explicitly as a very saturated image or just as a strong feeling for hours after waking.

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