Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nightmare Journeys: The Ship

For the past few weeks, I have been plagued with complicated and realistic nightmares. This morning I awoke with a nightmare so fresh and raw that I reflexively started talking out loud explaining what had just happened to me, as if a CNN reporter were in my face with a camera and microphone.

Early this morning, I was on a ship. It was huge, with a vast system of floors that represented, of all things, college dorms. My ordeal began with a decision I had to make. I was trying to decide if I should move my dorm room to the first floor. I was comparing the bathrooms on the first floor vs. the third floor, and I decided that the bathrooms on the first floor were more spacious.

Once I decided that I would move my belongings to the first floor, I drove my silver Volkswagen Jetta to the first floor parking lot next to where the ship was docked. This was when I looked out over my right shoulder and noticed an undulating pattern in the water. The ocean waves were massive. They weren't yet whitecaps – they were great mounds with menacing rounded tops. They looked like double black diamond downhill skiing moguls.

The sky was grey. No one was around.

I went inside the college dorm ship and started to settle in. That was when I noticed the movement. The ship had been tethered to the shore. We were docked in an area that resembled a cu-de-sac canal. The ship was gaining speed, pulling back and forth, back and forth, whipping around this cu-de-sac canal.

I found myself in the underbelly of the ship. Something felt very wrong and I felt panic rising in my throat. There were these crashing sounds. I looked out a porthole and found that the ship was smashing into cars parked along the canal. Oh no! There goes a red mini van! Look at that demolished Mercedes!

It dawned on me that my VW Jetta was parked out there. My almost-paid-off, first car purchased out of college. My means of transport. "My car is parked in the parking lot! What if the ship hits it?" Nobody responded to my question. The people were silent. They just sat on ladders and looked out the portholes.

I crawled forward to get a view of where the ship was tethered to the concrete parking lot. To my shock, I discovered that we were on a gigantic rubber cord, and I could see that the cord was vibrating with power and movement. There was no stopping this rogue ship!

The ship had taken on a sinister mind of its own.
We were stuck in an unstoppable game of
Crack the Whip.

I crawled back to where there was wooden scaffolding lining the wall next to a porthole. There were these wooden rings stacked on top of each other, interlaced like an old fashioned jungle gym. If I could fit my torso through those rings, I could crawl up through the hold and get onto the deck of the ship. Maybe then I could find some people who actually gave a fuck about the impending catastrophe, and maybe then I could get some help in stopping this ship.

I started crawling into the wooden rings. The rings were made of cheap plywood, or maybe it was particleboard. They were shoddy and sliver-ridden. They were rubbing into the spaces between my ribs. I barely fit.


The ship had whipped itself into the shore at my right. I pictured my innocent little Jetta, blaring its car alarm in protest and fear. At the same time, I heard a sickening crunching sound and discovered that the crunching was coming from the wooden scaffolding and the wooden rings gripping around my ribs, hips, thighs. I was going to get crushed! I was getting crunched, crunched, crunched and there was nothing I could do.

I was afraid of what was happening outside, I was afraid of what was happening inside, and I was stuck with no one around to help. The claustrophobia and inevitability seeped in, and I knew I was totally fucked.

Then, I woke up.

Oddly enough, hours later, I still feel anxious, I still have the sense of needing to gather people to help stop some evil, moving object. I still feel like I am on that ship. That is the thing about nightmares – There is some truth to them. A dream is not just a dream. Dreams come from some hidden place of slumber and then they evaporate in the light. Everybody seems willing to shake their heads at them with a Nah, just forget about it... let's go eat brunch.

The nightmares become invisible, but they are still present at daylight, lurking around somewhere out there, just like the moon.

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