Dreams

By John Toth

It all looks so real -- the room, the people, the counter top I am pounding on. I see my fist come down on the counter as I make my point.

By the time I sat down to write this, I had forgotten why I pounded on the counter in my dream, although I still remembered how my right fist landed on it a couple of times, and that it was white.

Everyone has dreams, according to experts who know more about this than me, as our brains catch up on some complicated R&R.

As your head hits the pillow and you start going through the sleep cycles, you enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and begin dreaming. This is the Stage 5 of the sleep cycle, the deepest form of sleep.
Or, is there more to it than that?

Psychology Today has some good stuff on this topic, like the fact that REM sleep allows people to be more creative. Some actors actually re-enact their dreams. I’d bet they don’t re-enact some of them, though -- not in public, anyway.

I wish dreams worked like they do in the movie “Inception,” one of my all-time favorites.

Those characters know how to dream. Compared to that, my dreams are like a grade-school talent show.

But, they have some help in “Inception,” like a machine that ties their minds together, and the imagination of a screenwriter who decided that the deeper a dream goes, the slower time passes.

In reality, according to Psychology Today, there is no time difference between dream time and real time.
But, it would be nice if there was. We could go on dream vacations for an afternoon, which would seem like weeks.

I like the big city that Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard created when they went on their dream vacation for a few decades (that’s dream time).

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for them, as she decided to take the plunge, thinking that she was still in a dream.

When dreaming, I don’t realize that I’m in a dream. But when I wake up, it’s obvious, unless I dream that I wake up, and I am still dreaming, Then it gets confusing.

That was a problem in “Inception” as well -- plus all that shooting.

If I ever went on a dream vacation like that (if it were possible), I’d want Ellen Page designing it for me. She put some nice scenery into the movie dreams, and I like when the city folds onto itself.

She sure has come a long way from 2007, when she played a pregnant teen in “Juno.”

But I am off-topic, which is not that unusual.

Raise your hand if you have ever flown or floated in your dreams. I’ve had some recurring dreams in which I swim through air. It’s actually pretty cool when I am not swimming away from danger.

Nightmares are not cool, though. I don’t like running or swimming for my life, or trying to find ways to stay alive. Luckily, I don’t have many of those dreams.

I also don’t like anxiety dreams, like when I get to the airport for an international flight, and realize at the counter that I left my passport at the house. That’s when I start pounding on the counter. It’s all coming back now.

I’ve also had recurring dreams that play out exactly the same way all the time. I actually know in my dream the outcome of the dream, but I don’t realize that it’s a dream until I wake up. I wish I could dream up some lotto ticket jackpot numbers like that in real life.

And, I’ve had detailed dreams in places I have never been. Or, maybe I just don’t remember being there.

Psychology Today says that if you don’t allow your REM sleep to conclude  by waking yourself up with an alarm, you will be less creative and relaxed than if you would have completed the cycle. Maybe I should go to bed before 1 a.m. and not get up that early.

But is it really just the REM cycle, or is there more to dreaming?

I am in my old apartment on the 24th floor of a public housing highrise. My mother is cooking in the kitchen. I am looking out the dining room window, and we talk. The smell of her cooking fills the air.

The Singer color TV and my old stereo console are in the living room by the window. The bird cage is in the corner. My mother’s voice, behavior, movement, facial expressions are just like I remember. It all looks so real.