The Power of Dreams

Weather Update:  3:00 pm PDT:  Well, it’s 3:00 pm and still a temperate 100 out, far short of the 105 predicted here and elsewhere, with humidity in the mere 20′s and the difference is palpable.  It’s still like Hell, but with a side salad.  I’m interested to see how this welcome shift affects crazy dreams….

More weather later on this CHNN station.  And on CHNN news overnight.

I have always been a skeptic of dream analysis; what few dreams I had always seemed so formulaic and/or crazy, and my memory of them faded so rapidly, that I didn’t ever put the kind of stock in them that Freud did.  After all, sitting in a classroom taking a final for which you haven’t attended class, much less studied, walking down a busy street and noticing you’re naked, trying to run from some existential horror and finding your legs are moving as though in wet cement, crying out for help or self defense and no words emerge…  these things pop up in everyone’s dreams, and for me, anyway, lack the details needed to make sense of them.

Not so for my friend Rebecca.  Over the nearly 20 years I’ve known her, she’s repeatedly described incredibly salient, topical, and vivid dreams, and perceived messages from them that she even sometimes followed, and more often than not, been correct.  Unfortunately, this faith in dreams can cause awkward moments, too.  Once, when I was visiting her in one place or other, she woke up and immediately described to me the vicious and inhuman treatment she’d received from her dream character called “Tina”  (we call each other this… long story) and because my dream character had behaved so abominably, she was both angry and suspicious toward me for several days.  I don’t take dreams so seriously, and last night’s is a pretty good reason why.

Maybe it was the stifling heat that persisted all night that combined to bring me back to consciousness often enough to completely remember it and also created the mental fragility that made it so topical and bizarre, that now I’ve half a mind to subject it to some dream analysis.  It starts typically enough; the setting is my home, which for some reason in all dreams is the house I grew up in, although my family sold it in 1986, but the time is the present.  It’s a book party for Al Franken, who seems not yet to be a Senator but still an author, about a new book he’s written, demolishing Ayn Rand.  So, far, so good.  But you see, it turns out that Rand is still alive, and his book is actually debunking her recent comeback bestseller, which, though popular, is a piece of tell-all trash about her friends rather than some ideological thing, but nonetheless is full of lies, slander, and hate.  Just the job for Al, and everyone seems to be having a good time.

Suddenly, Rand shows up at the door, looking exactly like Joan Crawford in “Mildred Pierce,” complete with broad-shouldered mink coat although it’s summer, and immediately begins to make a scene, demanding to speak to Al.  As usual, I have my cement shoes on and can’t do anything while she pushes her way from room to room, grabbing people and yelling at them, trying to find the future Senator.  (Maybe this is why dreams work so well in this house; the rooms encircled the stairway in such a way that made great, endless,  chase scenes, and not just in dreams…)  Finally she catches Al, and after a screaming match, dashes up the stairs to my bedroom, which for some reason is still the crappiest one, even though all claimants on the better bedrooms are now either dead or otherwise not interested, where she climbs out of the window onto the roof.  Well, all that seemed newsworthy enough that I suddenly thought I ought to get my camera out and take a picture for my blog, dang it.  It isn’t every day, after all, that Al Franken is in your bedroom, leaning out the window, trying to talk a mink-coated Ayn Rand into not jumping.  Of course I couldn’t find it, as I searched the house endlessly, in that futilely dreamlike way, and when she finally threw herself on the roof, pounding her fists and screaming like a 2-year old, clearly too chicken to jump and utterly defeated at about the same time I gave up looking for my camera, I didn’t even think to ask someone among the many other guests to get a picture on their phone, if it came to that.

Then I woke up.  Lesson’s learned?   I’m not sure about that.  I did, however, remember to take my camera with me today.  Maybe that was the lesson.


  1. Karen M says:

    What a great dream! Can’t you turn it into a short play or something? Or maybe some kind of artistic montage?

  2. cocktailhag says:

    I almost could almost could. Even the jacket design of Rand’s book, with lime green and white cursive writing and a cartoon image, something like other literary tell-all’s, although curiously not Al’s, was in it.

    • rmp says:

      That dream could not only be a short play, it could be a three acter or even a novel. Dreams really are amazing. Every time I worry about my memory, or lack thereof, I think about my dreams, which I quickly forget, and how complex and creative they are. I see and do things that I have never experienced and they have such detail that a set designer or prop guy would be very impressed.

      I figure, maybe incorrectly, if my brain can conjure such realistic images and situations, surely it is still functioning fairly well. Now if I could just remember what I went downstairs to do or get. Oh well, I have my dreams.

      • cocktailhag says:

        Don’t worry, RMP… I can remember entire songs from 30 years ago, and not why I walked from one room to the other, and it has ever been thus. Usually, I don’t remember dreams, either, and usually, they aren’t so fun. I wondered whether it was too bonkers to put on the blog, but what the hell…. nothing else was coming out of my heat-addled brain.

        • rmp says:

          From our caveman days, we developed single tracked minds with multi-tasking skills out of the question, so how can we fall off even a single track? No answer requested, at least from any female multi-tasker.

  3. Pedinska says:

    It loosely resembles the latest UT thread, with winnie as the tragic Ms. Rand.

    Not sure who would be Al. If it were Glenn, then Al would have pushed her off the roof in your dream. ;-}

    • cocktailhag says:

      Winnie’s back? Not so sorry I missed that development. I hope Glenn would have her take her coat off before she jumped…. Wouldn’t want to waste a good mink, ripping it up on the rose bushes below, and spoiling it with a lot of messy blood. I think it was the real Al, though, because he’s so full of Minnesota nice, he didn’t want an ambulance to spoil the party.

  4. bystander says:

    Hmmm. I wonder. Might Ayn Rand be a sub-sub-conscious metaphor for Ann Coulter? If so, that dream would almost make too much sense to be a dream. Wouldn’t be the first time a dreamer made a character safer to experience by substituting one “Ayn” for another “Ann.”

    • cocktailhag says:

      Oh, I think Ayn, she of the enlightened selfishness and footsie with Greenspan, can stand in for herself. But the message is similar. Too bad Al seems the only Dem lately that could send her out a window. Had it been an Obama party, she could have found lots of men to flirt with.

    • Karen M says:

      I dunno. Ann Coulter seems so asexual… but Ayn Rand was having an affair with one of her acolytes, even though he was married to someone else, who was also a member of that group.

  5. BobV says:

    Hehe. Reminds me of when Rebecca woke up one morning angry at me because she dreamt I hooked up with Louisa. Only took a couple of days to get over that one.

    Check out “Man and His Symbols” by Jung for a fascinating discussion of what various different things in dreams symbolize.

    • cocktailhag says:

      The same thing happened to you? That’s hilarious, and remarkable, in a way. When she got hired at House of Blues, we drove up the coast from LA to SF with Esther, and in the middle of a lengthy woman-to-dog song/monologue of “Essie Bessie Wessie, squirrels,” etc. she turned to me and deadpanned, “I’m a vice-president.”

  6. Karen M says:

    Hag, Your update reminded me of a poem by Yeats, “A Prayer for My Daughter,” because of the words “crazy” and “salad,” these lines in particular:

    It’s certain that fine women eat A crazy salad with their meat Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.

    That poem has bothered me most of my adult life… in fact, I had to write a rebuttal “poem,” but I have no idea how/where to put my hands on a copy of it. It’s somewhere pre-… pre-computer, pre-laptop, maybe even pre-disk.

    Flash forward… I rarely eat salads any more, because they nearly always come with bitter greens, and those don’t agree with me.

    • cocktailhag says:

      So many things they put in salads taste like those weeds the cattle always skipped over… Not so, the delicious chicken Caesar I just had downstairs; heavenly, garlic-y romaine, with a ton of frsh cracked pepper. I’m not eating any cooked things until the heat wave passes.

      • Karen M says:

        Now… Romaine… that is an entirely different head of lettuce altogether. I will eat it on those occasions when I wish to have a salad, but without the Caesar dressing or croutons.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Ah, but it’s the dead fish. raw egg, and smelly garlic that make romaine worth having, in my book, not to mention the greasy bread chunks. But to each, his/her own…

  7. timothy3 says:

    CH, I don’t really think this is apropos, but I wanted to mention it anyway: I woke this morning laughing. I didn’t know why but assumed I had a dream that made laugh. Yet I couldn’t remember the dream.
    Anyway, that fact that I was laughing made me laugh.
    And that led to the start of a pretty good day.
    In this case, the role of the dream lets us see that life can be good.
    Except for nightmares.

  8. The Heel says:

    I guess I am still dreaming – of Maureen Dowd having something nice to say about a Clinton. That could not just have happened in the Times, could it? Pinch me, somebody….

  9. retzilian says:

    I choose to interpret this dream as your frustration with the current ideological conflict in the political arena, particularly the media. Ayn Rand represents this cold-blooded “reason” and complete detachment from real people, real feeling, warm-blooded citizens whom she basically scorned throughout her life. (She represents the Republican party to you symbolically.) Her protoge and lover, Nathaniel Brandon, wrote several books on self-esteem and the “self” that repudiate some of her philosophy, basically saying that her philosophy is dangerous and dysfunctional when it comes to being a healthy person.

    Just as the Republican philosophy is dangerous and dysfunctional to us.

    Al Franken represents all that is passionate, alive, reactive, unreasonable, impulsive, but also what is TRUE about being an American. (Rand wasn’t even American, she was Russian.) Rand is seen in your dream as angry, out of control, vengeful. Franken has done what he always does – expose the nuts for what they are.

    Rand winds up on the roof in your dream because the Republicans (or that philosophy) is in danger of being pushed off the edge.

    And that’s my dream analysis. You’re welcome. hahaha

    • rmp says:

      Damn, if I can ever remember a dream long enough to put it in writing, I’m coming to you for an analysis.

      Monday morning, my 40-year-old son who came back to us and lives next to my bedroom, woke me up when he yelled at his mother for waking him up. I would swear I heard her voice responding to him, but we both found our wife/mom sleeping soundly. So can a dreamer do a great imitation of his mother’s Japanese intonation and tone? Both of us were clearly awake and not still dreaming and concluded, guess so.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Actually, Retzilian, that’s pretty close to what I thought, and why after thinking about it all day I decided to write about it, even though it wasn’t really up to CHNN’s high journalistic standards.
      Google analytics reports that it was very popular….

  10. consuela says:

    oh my, how’d i miss this one? (internet seemingly fried by heat).
    in any case, ahem, you don’t put much stock in dreams, well maybe it’s meant for summer stock. har har
    classic crawford in mink no less, hope she didn’t keep that beast on a wire hanger all these years.

  11. cocktailhag says:

    No doubt it was on something padded, Consuela. Righties generally don’t care much for those alive, but they’re duly respectful of the dead. (and unborn, natch…)

  12. Meremark says:

    retzilian: excellent, yes, you should charge for ‘consults.’ It’s a born gift.

    The most awesome aspect of dreams is that all people have them, all cultures, all history. Why is that?

    Next time some prejudice or bigoted bias pokes its ignorance into my thoughts for an other who is ‘different from me’ then I re-center and balance with merely remembering the bedrock truism ‘that person has dreams, too, we are alike.’ (Even Bush and Cheney, and Coulter, and may it be eternal torments for them.)

    A common dreams element, as in your narrative, CH, is the disjointness or re-arrangement of linear Time. Why is that? Such as one’s grandparent ‘seen’ in a dream interacting with one’s grandchild although the ‘actual’ persons never co-existed, in ‘real Time’ actuality; or other examples spanning 5 (or more) generations of separation.

    I have vivid, unsettling, prophetic, telepathic imagination visions all life long. Close enough to the real thing that I call it ‘dreams.’

    Funny thing, I myself almost never appear in my dreams. Often it is some ‘historic’ tableau and ‘I’ am some disembodied, floating-in-air, observing witness.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It’s the same for me; perhaps that’s because we are seeing through our own eyes…. But the “witness” thing is definitely related to the legs that won’t run and the voice that can’t speak, even though I am there, I’m not a full participant.

  13. Meremark says:

    The providential, the epicurean, 3 Quarks Daily .COM includes poetry in its data diet.

    July 30, 2009

    The Rapture of my Dreams

    Where am I? I awaken
    and can’t find my things.
    Have I lost the keys
    that let me fly?
    I can’t find myself in my books
    nor do I see my own mirror
    nor the aching table
    of the blind papers,
    nor the eternal voices
    nor my earthly juices.
    I do not feel myself,
    but neither have I died.
    I don’t find my ghosts
    nor do I see my geography.
    Now I only grasp
    unheard-of avenues
    and an aimless street
    where I get lost
    without my living angels.
    I awaken and the rapture
    of my dreams hurts me.

    by Jose Luis Diaz Granados
    - – - – -
    translation: Nicolas Suescún
    from: La Fiesta perpetua y otros Poemas; Published by: Golpe de Dados; Bogotá

    El Rapto de Mis Sueños

    ¿Dónde estoy? Yo despierto
    y no encuentro mis cosas.
    ¿He perdido las llaves
    que me inducen al vuelo?
    No me encuentro en mis libros
    ni veo mi propio espejo
    ni la dolida mesa
    de los papeles ciegos,
    ni las voces de siempre
    ni mis zumos terrestres.
    No me palpo a mí mismo,
    pero tampoco he muerto.
    No encuentro mis fantasmas
    ni veo mi geografía.
    Solo capturo ahora
    avenidas inéditas
    y una calle sin rumbo
    por donde yo me pierdo
    sin mis ángeles vivos.
    Yo despierto y me duele
    el rapto de mis sueños.

    Posted by Jim Culleny