Saturday, September 4, 2010


I woke up this morning gasping and afraid. I clutched my blankets over my head and forced myself to think, "It was just a dream. It was just a dream."

It wasn't my first wake-up. At 6:30 am, I had drifted awake to chants coming from outside. A rowdy pack of half-dressed boys was standing in front of Howard Hall chanting, "Wake up, Howard! Wake up, Howard!" It's a Notre Dame tradition that the boys' dorms wake the girls early on Football Saturday mornings like that. I peeked out the window, torn between fondness for their school spirit and irritation at the rude awakening. Irritation was in the lead as they grew louder, cheering as Howard girls turned on lights and peeked outside. But as the boys - satisfied that they had awoken Howard and annoyed every resident in the process - ran off to Pangborn and their cheers died away, fondness won the day. Silly boys, I thought as I dove back into Dreamland.

But Dreamland was not so welcoming. I can't remember how my frightening dream began, but to begin in media res, I was lost in an old city trying to find a German ice cream shop called Jensen's, where I would meet up with my sisters and friends. As night fell, I went to the local police station - a dimly lit outfit where cops sat at windows like carnival vendors - and asked for directions. The cops had never heard of the shop but two girls my age were loafing at the station, and one declared she knew of the place and offered to take me there.

We three walked for a few minutes before reaching a long, fenced path, surrounded by a wasteland. A man with a strangely round, white face and greedy eyes stood to one side of the path. I was afraid but I thought, "There are three of us, and these girls know where they're going. Let's just hurry through." So we began down the path, walking quickly. Then even quicker as the man began to follow us. I linked arms with the leader of the two girls and as we sped up, the other girl tried to keep up but fell behind. Not daring to look back, my companion began to run, carrying me weightlessly along with her. I was flying, but this wasn't some fun flying dream - I have never been so afraid.

I heard the third girl scream and I forced my companion to stop. "We have to go back for her!" I said. So we turned and walked back - she reluctant, I trembling but determined. I could see her struggling with the man and just as we approached he threw her body to the side of the path. My companion also fell to the ground, shot or stunned. I could do nothing but watch in stupefied horror as the man slowly, inevitably, approached me.

Just as I would do in real life, I appealed to a supernatural power. "Someone has to save me!" I thought, expecting angels or the police to appear. It was then that I realized "This is a dream" and woke up shaking.

After I finally convinced myself to come out from under the covers, I did what any sensible person would do and went to the computer to look up dream interpretations.

Dreams of being chased "stem from feelings of anxiety in your waking life," according to dreammoods.com. "Your actions in the dream parallel how you would respond to pressure and cope with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life."

In the dream, my sense of honor and responsibility made me turn and confront the pursuer to help another - and this ended in me becoming the victim. I think this means that I'm worried that my strong moral convictions will end up hounding me and destroying me. Certainly my morals have caused me problems of late - last night Joey called me judgmental, and my conservative opinions are earning me enemies in class and on the staff of my college newspaper. Maybe this anxiety about balancing moral principle with social acceptability was the meaning of my dream.

In any case, I do have some exciting news. Today I will be meeting my mysterious Facebook lovah, a philosophy grad student with whom I've been corresponding for the past month. That's a little scary too, so I bet that nervousness contributed to my nightmare too.

Wish me luck!

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