Shared Dreams

Note: this post was written more than a year ago.

Just before I woke up for the day, I experienced a high-school based dystopian nightmare. While high school was hell for me, my experience was not what I would describe as “apocalyptic.” I graduated in 1994, before zero tolerance policies and metal detectors became common even to the privileged, and my school was filled to the brim with overprivileged children of doctors, lawyers and delusionally aspirational children of steel mill workers.

In one scene, I was in a classroom full of people and saw a man I know leaning against the wall, watching and frowning at me. I was wading through people, and I considered him but went on – when I tried to make my way back to him, I was sidetracked.

There was an incidental scene involving a big, cement gym-style building, me being late for work at a sandwich shop and a man who resembled my ex harrassing me in a locker room. I opened up the locker door to show him what a mess my life was (I said “basically homeless”) and the dream switched. He also asked “So that whole thing with Bill ((Bill was the name used in the dream, but is not the name of the person who showed up. Bill is an emotionally fraught name for me, though, so the association is curious, since I like the person who showed up in the dream but do not like the first Bill I know in real life.)) was meant to be?” and I thought of the scene in the dream before, with the man watching me, and said “He just showed up. Mostly it just sucked.

The next scene led me to cement hallways where it was a prison cum college dorm (90s, remember, a few still did it that way.) I wanted to shower, but most of the showers were blocked because of various verbal offenses, signs posted in the windows. Guards came at me, and my towel wasn’t covering me.  The morals police, American co-ed edition.

It was a very not-me dream. First off, if my towel won’t cover me, awake or asleep I’m just going to drop it and parade around naked. If people scream and run, so much the better, but they usually don’t – even in dreams, most kind of blink and then bring up a conversation I’d have just as well clothed.

I’m pretty sure what I experienced was a shared dream, or two dream worlds bumping into each other. I’ve believed in this possibility long before Inception. I’ve only had a few experiences with dreams I suspect I shared, and such things are ephemeral, hard to prove, especially since I’m usually too embarrassed to ask the person I shared the dream with, “So, uh, about hte other night…”

The first time it happened was right after I transferred to Mankato. I spoke to a friend from my old college on the phone and admitted my trouble with adjustment to him. That night he appeared in the dream, and walked me though a city while holding my hand and talking some perspective into me. It’s exactly the kind of thing he would do, and when I woke up I felt as though I’d been speaking with him, not just with my subconscious. It happened twice in the same year shortly after my first marriage – old friends I’d lost touch with who would have wanted to know about the huge change in my life.

And then again, this last night.

It is quite possible my subconscious is using these people as fillers to communicate my own issues to me, taking the form of other people. But there are specific elements to the dreams – scenes from places I know I haven’t seen, etc. – that makes me suspect perhaps there’s a bit more to what I’m seeing and experiencing. There’s theories all over the place about dreams and how they work, and deliberately shared dreams have a brilliant potential for both astral work or for really screwing each other up. To go in and see someone via their subconscious is an act of trust – or an act of violation.

In this case, it’s a person I’d like to know better and connect to. But perhaps we should try it over coffee, first.
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