In keeping with the true nature of Mighty Distractible, I decided at the very last possible minute to write about something completely different - both different from what I'd planned (which you'll still get to read next week, probably) and different from anything we've written before.
Now and again, I (more so than Cassandra) need to talk about stuff that's not craft related. Today, I want to regale you with a story I wrote and presented, as a speech, at Toastmasters. Cassandra and I both joined Toastmasters a few years ago, mostly because Cassandra wanted to be less nervous speaking in front of people and she wanted me to go along for support. :) We fell in love with our club and honestly think it's the most awesome place to learn how to get up in front of a group and not make a total ass of yourself.
So, this story worked pretty well as a speech and I think it's a pretty good tale in written form as well. I'd be really interested in your comments so, please, feel free to critique and/or let me know if you'd rather I never write anything like this ever again. :)
What Dreams May Come
A lot of people don't remember their dreams. Some people actually manage to solve daily problems while they're sleeping. Me... I dream in Technicolor. I mean, my dreams are REALLY, REALLY vivid. And long. And complicated. They are epic – like the entire Star Wars saga, including the prequels. And Jar Jar Binks.
A long time ago, I stopped telling people about my dreams because folks like to try “interpret” them. The crazy, complicated nature of my dreams – often with some exceedingly weird elements – generally causes people to give me the “Oh… the poor dear needs therapy” look or they simply back away in horror. Truthfully, once you’ve revealed that, in last night’s dream, you ran a talent agency that employed only supernatural creatures – like vampires and zombies – and you were being audited by the IRS, you’re pretty much going change the way people view you.
My first vivid dream happened when I was six years old. And, it was SO vivid, that I can recall the entire thing, still, today - decades upon decades later.
Here's the story of the dream that launched a thousand nightmares:
When I was in first grade, I was expected to walk to school by myself. Obviously, it was a more innocent time and I grew up in a VERY small town. So, each morning I would walk the half mile to the elementary school alone – from Maple Street, where our house was located, up to Main Street, along the stone wall that separated the sidewalk from the woods, past the house where the squirrel bit my finger one day (that’s another story) and on to School Street (the city fathers weren't very creative when it came to street naming). Then it was just two blocks to the front door of the building.
One day, as I was coming up to the school, I saw a huge group of people gathered around the front of a parked school bus. Truthfully, it was probably, like, four people but my memory tells me it was a crowd. The bus had hit a dog and everyone was standing around trying to decide what to do about it. I’d never seen a mammal injured like that and it was a very moving experience – as you’ll soon see.
That night I went to bed as usual. I don’t even think I mentioned the “dead” dog to my parents. However, my subconscious decided that it wanted to mess around with that idea some more. So, as I drifted off to sleep...
I was walking to school and came upon a huge crowd gathered around the front of the bus. The bus driver had hit a man. No one knew who he was but he was badly hurt and kind of mangled. An ambulance came and I watched as they loaded the body onto the gurney and into the back of the truck. Cut to the next scene (yeah…my dreams are edited like movies or tv shows… I have no explanation for that) and we’re in class. The teacher is explaining death to us and then the bell rings that it’s time for recess. My friends and I are on the merry-go-round when the ambulance pulls around to the playground and the driver says to us, “Hey kids! Want to see a dead body?” I was apprehensive but didn’t want to be left out so I said yes. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY SHORT LIFE!
The ambulance driver opened the back of the ambulance and my friends and I crowded forward to look. Suddenly – and you know where this is going, right? – the dead body jumped up and out of the ambulance and started chasing us around. For some reason, it honed in on me and turned in my direction. I raced into the school and tried to hide there but it didn’t take long before the dead body (I didn’t know the word “zombie” at that point in my life) was lumbering around the hallways looking for me. So I snuck out and ran, full speed, all the way home – down School Street, along the stone wall on Main Street to Maple Street and eventually, my front door – which, for some reason, was not my real front door but the front door of a much grander house. The house had huge, white double doors that opened to a front hall with a white marble floor. There was a winding stairway to the second floor with a pure white railing curving up along white walls.
I ran into the front hall and my father met me. He asked what was wrong and, as I breathlessly tried to explain that I was being chased by a dead body, the body burst through the front door and started toward me.
Then, just as I was convinced that I was about to be grabbed and, I suppose, killed by the dead body, Robin Hood appeared at the top of the stairs. His green velvet outfit stood out against the stark white of the stairway and front hall. He called out, “STOP!” and grabbed an arrow from his quiver. He took aim at the confused attacker and promptly shot the dead body dead.
And then I woke up and went and crawled in bed with my parents because I wasn’t completely convinced that Robin Hood’s arrow had really killed my overactive imagination.
Thus began my life of vivid dreams. There have been times when I've awakened screaming from bloody nightmares and times when I've been exhilarated by some superpower like flying or super-strength. Most of the time, I'm slogging through my nights the same way I'm slogging through my day - but with some "no physical laws" twist to the story. Last night I was, seriously, running errands in my dream - for hours - and I ended up shopping for groceries with a cart that could hold everything and was loaded nearly to the ceiling. Best of all, I got to remember every last detail.