The Other Columbus: Quarantine dreams are a thing

Scott Woods
Caption: Aliens and their subliminal messages are taking over in John Carpenter's sci-fi horror classic, "They Live."

If my social media feeds are any indication, we’re all having pretty wild dreams right now.

It makes sense. The pandemic has forced America to face a lot of hard truths in the last five months, and things aren’t cycling down. Between worrying about your job, your kid’s schooling and your very mortality, it only stands to reason that our dreams would get a little Elm Street around the edges.

I don’t put much stock in dreams. I think 50 percent of what happens in dreams is your brain coyly trying to process your reality and the other 50 percent is just brain dumping. Despite this perspective, people do sometimes ask for my opinion on their dreams. I’m smart, I have an awesome imagination and if I see a story in something, I’m going to go for it. So, as a public service, I, the Great Woodsicus, have donned my turban, squeegeed my crystal balI, pulled a few chicken bones out of the trash can and collected the dreams of a handful of people I know for interpretation. All dreams submitted are real, but, being who I am, my interpretations are mostly irreverent. I promise I was more sporting in person than I’m being here.

Dream:

My best friend and I were driving to a vacation spot (nowhere specific), but in order to get there we had to drive on a bridge that was partially submerged in water AND open in some parts, so we had to drive really fast to kind of launch ourselves onto the other part of the bridge. All while partially under water.

Interpretation:

You do not feel in control of your life right now and wish to escape, but a part of you feels like this is a lot like getting out of quicksand. Fortunately, you either see your way out of it or you know it's not as bad as it could be. Your situation is surmountable, but in the meantime, you're feeling very stuck. The silver lining: You know you could be worse off, you know you have friends and you know a way can be made.

***

Dream: 

Typically I’m in bed, but it’s one I used to sleep in. (When the nightmares started, it was my current bed; the rest of the dream has stayed the same, though.) All the wires and Wi-Fi and radio waves transform themselves into think-tendrils and crawl up the walls and into the bed, strangling things and people and, of course, me. I’m killed. The tendrils look like the ones from the movie “Tremors.”

Interpretation:

Oh, man, I love the movie “Tremors.” Kevin Bacon really threw himself into the role, and I’m genuinely upset that the SyFy channel won’t release the pilot of a sequel series they were going to launch. Bacon doesn’t do sequels, so, in my mind, when he agrees to it, you have to move heaven and earth to make it happen. Anyhow, the deal with your dream is that you feel overwhelmed by being cooped up in your house, working from home every day, tethered to technology not only professionally, but socially. That the tendrils look like the monster tongues from “Tremors” just means you have good taste in movies even when you’re unconscious.

***

Dream:

I'm sitting on a garbage can in the Lotus position. I begin to levitate and discover I can fly. I can swoop, but don't know how to go up again. I can feel the grass on my chest as I swoop down. I'm trying to impress a woman I like romantically. I wake deeply disappointed that I can't fly.

Interpretation:

It is telling that you seek enlightenment on top of garbage, and that you can fly, but only so high. All of this suggests that you need to switch up your self-care regimen. I could take a shot here about how not being able to rise to impress a woman has a 99 percent chance of being about your love life, but this is a family paper.

***

Dream: 

I've had a recurring dream where I enter a building (different ones), but it's exactly the same inside: a combo of a Las Vegas hotel buffet, a school and a mall. And I don't know how to get out. Once I'm in there, my dream self is like, “Not this again," and then I'm stuck until I wake up.

Interpretation:

This is a pretty straight-up quarantine dream about not being able to travel. In the real world, we’re confined by the pandemic, each day blending into the next. Even when we go out, the world is trapped in limbo. Places we love to go may be open, but not in the same way. You can’t go sit in your favorite coffee shop or restaurant the way you used to, so why bother? May as well stay home. Run that line of thought enough times and you can trigger your brain to associate any place outside of your home with being the same place in your mind, creating a locale loop. The good news is that you’re not too far gone: Your brain is trying to hold on to the experience of other places by bringing them all into the one building (which is your mind, by the way). I’d advise trying to get out a little more. A park won’t kill you unless Smash Mouth is playing in it.

***

Dream:

Recurring dream: I’m in the street with my drums in front of a highly militarized police force. I play. They die like in “Space is the Place” (1974).

Interpretation:

For the record, when police officers dream about drummers, it’s just the scene from “This is Spinal Tap” when one of several drummers explodes playing over and over again. Just kidding. You just miss playing in clubs and, also, Black Lives Matter.

***

Dream: 

I dreamed I was a MMA fighter working my way up through the ranks, trying to get to the UFC. I was in a league right below the UFC trying to work my way in. I won, like, four fights in a row by knockout. If I were to win this fight I would probably get a contract to the UFC. I got knocked out in the first round.

Interpretation:

You’ve been stuck in your house with kids for the past five months.

***

Dream: 

Some “school” friend of mine was married to a certain “David” and their kids were cute. When I was leaving, David stabbed my cousin’s sister and stuffed her into the car. There was blood everywhere! I turn around and see that my cousin is already with me. So, I think it’s my cousin’s twin (who exists in real life) until my alive cousin’s twin is also here, and is murdered again...

Me: 

Pause. I’m trying to figure out why you have quotes on “school” and not “friend”, since they didn’t try to stop their murdering husband David from killing your cousin twice in five sentences.

Dream (cont’d):

I run and I get killed. I recollect falling down and passing out, essentially awaking in this place where there is this real person (me) and their zombie versions. You don’t know who is who. I get to my apartment and my family isn’t there. I believe I will find them, and flee across the street before more of the zombie versions get me. But, even here, people have networks and signals to keep the real people informed, seeing how zombie people also look like real people...

Me: 

Pause. At first I wasn’t sure, but at this point I’m very certain that you dreamt the plot of John Carpenter’s “They Live” (1988). If you’ve never seen it, I don’t suggest you do so now, since your script is way darker than Carpenter ever intended and it will just seem hacky to you.

Dream (cont’d):

I was directed to one such place where I had to change my clothes. When I come out, suddenly there is a monastery and martial arts training that’s happening, which becomes a motorcycle group, all of whom are in an old car yard. I take a bike and go...

Me:

OK, jumping yourself into a motorcycle gang of kung-fu monks in a junkyard is pretty gangster. You should be proud of your dream self. 

Dream (cont’d):

Now I’m in a market/museum kinda space. I approach a real person who runs the place. The zombies rule us now. They are the law and government and everything. They take away my cycle and are about to kill me, but I hide behind this guy who distracts them and gives me a sheaf of blank papers. Apparently the blank papers make the zombie people not recognize real people...

Me:

Pause. This is totally “They Live” now. You need some new material.

Dream (cont’d):

I escape with a wooden antique box filled with the papers. The box also gives you the ability to tell the zombie people what to do. Dusk falls and I need to locate my family and escape to a safe place, so I come out with the box. There is another hippie-looking real dude smoking a joint, who demonstrates how the zombie people will listen to us because we have blank papers. And so we tell them to do funny things. He then tells me to catch the 48 bus or train, and I go searching for it. And then I woke up.

Me: 

Yeah, looking around at the world we’re living in right now, I’m not sure you did.

***

Dream:

I had a dream last week that I was invited someplace. In that place, I met Beyonce and Jay-Z. They befriended me and invited me to Beyonce’s concert, which was way scaled down for a Beyonce show. It was, like, in a ballroom. During the show, Beyonce invited me onstage, but mid-show she stopped everything because it wasn’t going as planned. So Beyonce sits with me while the technicalities are worked out, and her assistant brings her a long-ass invoice of things she needed her to sign off on. Beyonce is laughing and rolling her eyes and says something like, “They always approaching me with urgent requests when they know I don’t have time to look over them. I think it’s because they throw stuff in the budget for their own personal creative reasons.” I asked her if she thought they were trying to have her fund their creative ideas. And she laughed.

Interpretation:

(This isn’t anything like the Beyonce dream I had last week.) 

It seems clear to me that your mind is trying to tell you something very important, something that you should take to heart as you work through whatever trials and tribulations you’re dealing with in life: That even Beyonce falls down on stage every now and then. Don’t be afraid to stop everything and get it right before proceeding. Also, remember that Jay-Z is married to her, not the other way around.

***

Dream:

I had a dream about living in an apartment that was next to a curry restaurant that was also a college campus. The bathrooms were weird. You had to squat on the toilet to use them because they were as high as sinks. The curry was incredible. It was run by Sri Lankans covered in plants. There was only one electrical outlet in the corner, so people clamored for the corner seat. I would go there daily and play sitar (I don't play the sitar, Scott) in the other corner during dinner whenever everyone would stop working and eat communaly. It was, like, covered in paisley and ugly as hell but the vibe was good. All sorts of cats would run through.

I saw Sterling K. Brown there once. Thundercat. Tan France. Just sitting and eating and working. Me and my homies would also go and clamour for the corner. So yeappppp. (Use my name!)

Interpretation:

Dear Counterfeit Madison, this dream truly reveals that which you long for most right now: to be performing. And not just any performance, but shows in the kind of places that campus used to have: real old school dives (Larry’s) with stories in their bathrooms (Bernie’s) and eclectic line-ups (Little Brother). Places where anybody could walk in the door, and you didn’t know what they would do or say next on the mic. That such places only have one working electrical outlet doesn’t sound like a dream at all; it sounds like a memory. Get some performing under your belt, even if it’s a short porch tour. You’ll sleep better, promise.