9-1-1: Am I Dreaming?


I recnetly woke up from a dream that was so vivid, that I was relieved when I woke up and realized it was just a dream.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that if you were to ask yourself in a dream, “Am I dreaming?” there would be some sort of telltale that made it obvious you were dreaming, like some detail you just couldn't focus on, but by the end of this dream everything seemed clear and intricately detailed.

First of all, I got out of bed around 5:30 AM to use the toilet.  When I climbed back into bed, I was too hot and my mind was active, so I didn't think I would get back to sleep.  I even contemplated getting out of bed and getting an early start on my day, but to my surprise I did fall asleep, and it must have been deep, probably because I'd been up late the previous few nights with my restless son, as I didn't stir when my wife got up at 6:00 to get our daughter onto the school bus.

The earliest part of the dream I can remember, is that I was at my parents' house, working on my computer.  For some reason I was on the floor with the computer, so I decided to move it up to a wooden TV tray, which I then shifted closer to the wall.  I wasn't too gentle about doing this, and the computer's externally-attached SSD harddrive detached, namely, the cable pulled out of the plug!  I held up the end of the cable and an evenly spread fan of copper wires protruded a couple of inches.  (Okay, this part isn't so realistic, but we're getting there.)  I figured—hoped—that my harddrive was still okay, and that I just needed to go buy a replacement cable.

There were a few graphical errors on the screen, but surprisingly the computer still responded to input, so I decided to try shutting down Windows and seeing what would happen.  Instead of the computer shutting down, a viking-themed RPG DOS game appeared, as if it had been pulled out of an unflushed part of the memory cache.  I finally just switched the computer power off.

I told my mom I was going into town to get a cable, and I next found myself parking my car in a mixed residential and industrial area.  This is where the dream started to get vivid.  I parked in a sloped parking lot, not far from a muddy space between buildings where a small excavator was lying on its side.

I walked a short distance uphill and entered a building which turned out not to be a computer shop, but Monica's house.  I had stopped by to help her while running my errand.  She'd just gotten out of bed, and she wore a full beard which looked like it had been glued on.  I thought maybe she'd worn it in a play the night before, but thought it very odd that she hadn't taken it off before going to bed.

Monica gave me a large basket of fruit and asked me to quietly place it in the room where her boys were sleeping.  I went down a hallway and around the corner, and when I tried to open the door it almost fell on me.  It turned out this was a secondary doorway which had been blocked off by leaning boards and a mattress against the inside of the opening and the unhinged door against the outside.  As I tried to put the door back I almost knocked the boards and mattress over on one of the boys who had been sleeping next to the barricade but got up and braced his arms against the tilting mattress with a startled look on his face.  I went back around the corner and found the other door, then placed the basket in the bedroom.

Monica's house was packed full of guests, most of whom were still in bed but had woken up by this point.  I walked past a room with an open door where I was stopped and asked for assistance with a TV remote.  Another person asked me for help with something, then I entered the kitchen where I found Monica and her mother.  I recognized Monica's mother, but Monica had taken off her fake beard and I actually found her less recognizable than before as I thought she had aged very poorly.  (In reality, it's been a few years since we last saw each other, but not long enough that she could have “aged poorly” in the interim.)  I asked her, “Do you need anything else before I leave,” which is probably a callback to when we worked retail together and often took over the store from each other.  The answer was “no,” and I left.

I walked back to where I had parked my car only to find it missing!  I examined at my surroundings, which I recognized from when I had first arrived, so I was positive I had parked my car there.  The only other thing different was that the excavator that had been stuck in the mud was gone.

I looked a little further uphill and spotted my car in a shaded corner of the parking lot.  As I approached it, I realized the top had been torn off!  I was extremely upset, as I supposed anyone would be upon discovering that one's automible had been destroyed.  In reality, my old car probably isn't worth more than $500, but right now I can't afford to buy a new one, and in the dream I was also worried about how I was going to get home.  I told myself, “This has to be a dream,” several times, but everything looked so real that I couldn't convince myself that it was just a dream.

Given that the stuck excavator was gone, I figured that it had been moved by a recovery crew, and my car must have been in the way, so it had been moved quite undelicately.

I pulled out my cellphone and started dialing 911 to call the police, but then I decided to call my dad and consult with him first.  I must have not cleared out the emergency number before entering my parents' number because after a short ring I heard, “This is the police department.”

I thought about hanging up, but after a pause I decided to explain my situation to the police.  I had difficulty speaking at first, as my tongue was very dry.  (I must have been talking in my sleep, as I find this to be the case when I have a dry tongue in my dreams.)  I walked into a house to get some water, and I put my mouth under running water in the kitchen sink.

There were a man and a teenage girl in the house who gave me strange looks but accepted my presence as if I were their roommate.  The house was a dump and I spotted a dead cat under a kitchen counter.  The floor sloped up from the front door to the back of the house, as if to emphasize that the house was built on the side of a hill.

I explained to the policeman on the phone what had happened to my car.  I also stated that I felt like I was in a dream, but everything seemed too real to be a dream.  As I said this, I looked down and realized that I was wearing red basketball shorts but couldn't remember changing out of my denim trousers, and yet I couldn't convince myself that I was dreaming.

The policeman asked me where I was, so I exit the house and walked up the lane to a green road sign.  Between being faded and covered with grafitti, it was difficult to read, but I got that it said, “10th,” which wasn't very helpful in the way that road signs on industrial backroads often aren't.

That didn't clearify my location to the policeman very well, so I walked back down the lane where I wasn't surprised to see no other road signs, but across the street was a large grainery, on the side of which, painted 30 feet tall, was the company logo:  A monkey filling bags of grain, on top of the company name “Orbress.”

As I explained to the policeman that I was across the street from the Orbress grainery, a man walked by and snatched my wallet.  I grabbed the back of the thief's pants and yanked him back, then told the policeman, “Hold on a moment, somebody just stole my wallet and I've got to deal with that,” and I set my cellphone on a nearby shelf.  Gripping the thief by the back of his pants and shirt collar, I started slamming him headfirst into the wall.  The man from the dumpy house came out and helped me slam him into the wall a little harder.  We were next to an open take-out counter window, so we threw the thief in as two employees scurried out of the way.

That was when I woke up, and I couldn't believe how stressed I'd just been about being in a dream that seemed too real to be a dream.  And I was quite thirsty.  I've learned that I tend to experience night terrors when I'm overheating, and this instance was compounded by fatigue from my recent abnormal nights.  I wouldn't say this was a night terror, but it certainly was terrible.