I don’t usually remember my dreams when I wake up, but when I do, they are inevitably bizarre and/or incredibly random. Last night, I had an entire dream revolving around a two-dimensional integer array. That’s right, I had a whole dream about programming code. Just don’t ask me what the plot was; if there was a plot, I don’t remember. Probably made no sense anyway.
And then there are those dreams that I wish I had not remembered. While my dreams are at best hazy in my memory, my nightmares–the ones that I remember–are always vivid, realistic, and seared into my memory in detail.
“Your nightmares can’t be that bad,” you might be saying. Well, take this one that I had not that long ago: in my dream, I was in a parking garage. It might have been underground, I don’t know, but it was dimly lit, as those tend to be. I was in my car, sitting very still, and watching. The target of my silent staring was a blonde woman, tall, thin, pretty (and I would swear she is no one that I know in real life) and walking quickly to her car. Then I moved like lightning from my car and began to approach her from behind.
The easily disgusted might want to go read a different post now.
She realized I was trailing her, but it was too late–as she screamed for help I grabbed her and forced something over her nose and mouth–chloroform, maybe? She was limp in my arms in a minute and I dragged her back to my car. I drove her home (the home in my dream was a small apartment I have never seen before). I proceeded to take a knife and slit her throat. Then I made quick work with the body–I sliced all of the meat off her bones. I remember a black-and-white dog approaching me as I worked, and I commanded it to go away, that it would get some soon enough. I put a generous portion of the human flesh in the dog’s bowl, and it ran to it and hungrily began to snap it up. The rest, I cooked up and ate myself. I even remember what it tasted like in the dream–roast pork. (Yeah, I couldn’t look at roast pork for a while after having this dream.)
I’m not one of those people who believes in universal dream symbols. I disagree with Freud (as do plenty of modern psychologists) when he said that dreams contain latent symbols–a gun might represent masculinity, for example, for the obvious phallic resemblance. I think that, if dreams have any meaning at all, the meaning of objects and events in the dream are specific to the dreamer. For example, I’m pretty sure I had that code dream because I’ve spent several hours lately finishing up a massive project for class.
Of course, the jury’s still out on what the hell it means to dream about being a cannibal-serial killer.