Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Some dreams

I've been under rather a lot of stress lately, and I've recently started having unsettling dreams. I figured I'd write them down here while I can still remember them.

1. Batman

The first one was Tuesday morning, and came in at least two pieces. (I know you only remember dreams if you wake up during them; I believe the piece contained in this paragraph ended before I woke up at 4:30, and then the rest happened when I fell back asleep until 6:30.) It was a dream about Batman - or, more specifically, Bruce Wayne. Even more specifically, the Christian Bale version of Bruce Wayne. I don't remember the particulars of the parts of the dream that preceded this part, but I remember I found myself in a small conference room in the headquarters of Wayne Industries, a room just big enough for maybe six people to meet around a small table. The room wasn't designed for privacy, because it had big windows all around, including on the doors, and seemed to be just off a main corridor. I must have been an observer in this dream, because I remember seeing Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne sitting across the table from me, while a young boy sat next to me. The boy looked like young Frank McCourt from the movie version of Angela's Ashes, maybe twelve years old, and he and Bruce Wayne were both wearing wool coats, as if they had both just come in from outside. Bruce Wayne looked troubled, and the boy looked scared. And all Bruce Said was, "Why did you press that button?" I thought What button?, and assumed he was talking about a doorbell of some sort, but then I realized that he must be talking about the secret button that reveals the current hiding place for all of Bruce Wayne's Batman stuff. This kid must have discovered that Bruce Wayne was Batman! I realized that I was sitting next to this Batman franchise's version of Robin!

Then all hell broke loose.

A thug slammed open the door of the conference room and began shouting at Bruce Wayne. Business, I thought, and took note of the man: mid-thirties, big, heavy, balding with dark, maybe chestnut frizzy hair, a greasy moustache and goatee, wearing a gray wool topcoat over business clothes. He was shouting with an accent, and there were two other thuggish-looking guys behind him.  Russian mob, I thought, and Wayne Industries security showed up and pulled the guys out of the doorway. Bruce Wayne returned to questioning the boy when suddenly alarms went off and the hall outside the room took on a sickly yellow hue. Wayne muttered under his breath and got up and exited the room into the hall. Very quickly he turned around to come back into the room, but he seemed to be having trouble moving. He didn't open the door, but instead moved one arm as though he were attempting to break the glass in the door. His arm hit the door, very slowly, and there was a sound of smashing glass, but the door didn't break, and he stood there, wide-eyed, on the other side of the door, frozen in place.

The boy rushed to the door and opened it, and he and I pulled Bruce Wayne back inside. The hall outside the room was full of alarms and shouting, and felt very weird, and everywhere there was that sickly yellow light. Bruce Wayne felt cold and stiff, and even his clothes felt odd - crinkly, almost brittle. We got him onto the table but he was frozen in the position  he had been in outside - dead, as far as I could tell, and dead for some time; yet his eyes were still wide open and clear.

The boy went to the door again and left the room to confront whatever was going on outside, but like Bruce Wayne, he also didn't get very far. He froze in place a few steps from the door, and I was just able to tug his stiff and seemingly lifeless body back into the room.

Great, I thought. Batman's dead, Robin's dead, and something out there will kill me if I leave the room. What could I do?

I woke up, and never found out.

2. The Flood

Back in 1972, the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania saw a flood of historic proportions. It is known by the name of the Tropical Storm that fed it: Agnes. Thirty-nine years later, another of these once-in-a-lifetime events happened, and the valley took on tremendous damage from the September 2011 flood.

In this dream from last night, we were hit by another storm, even worse than anything that had preceded it. It caused flooding throughout Nanticoke, which is a city built (for the most part) on hills, and generally above any realistic projected flooding. (Unless all of the storm drains were to stop working; then the streets would flood very rapidly, and some have done so in the past.)

I don't remember many of the particulars of this dream, which I only remembered because of a precipitation forecast map on television. I remember helping people to evacuate, and re-evacuate, and watching waters rising higher and higher.

The reality is: last year's storm hurt us, badly. It caused a lot of devastation in a lot of places. We didn't see a repeat of the utter devastation seen in Wilkes-Barre in 1972 because of improvements to the levee system there that had been in the works since the St. Patrick's Day Flood of 1936, but weren't completed until 1996 or so. But the 2011 flood put these levees to the test, and came within inches of overtopping them, and actually drilled under them in various "boils" which, to the layman's eye. looked a heck of a lot like leaks and breaches. All that stress damaged the levees. They wouldn't be able to withstand another flood of that magnitude without major repair work, repair work that will require allocation of funds from the U.S. Congress. Funds which are not likely to be forthcoming in the near future.

So, bottom line: if this area is hit with another flood of this magnitude in the next year, or five years, or maybe decade, or perhaps quarter-century, the levee system will not be able to protect Wilkes-Barre or the surrounding areas again.  And this nightmare will be a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people.

3. Late for work, and a forbidden cell phone

Today would have been my day to go back to work if I were not once again on layoff. In this dream I found myself racing in to work at the last minute. I parked my car, raced down two levels of steps across the parking lot, and made it into the plant. I was about to pass through the metal detector at the entrance to the plant when I realized I had my cell phone in my pocket. This is a major no-no at work, and I decided to risk the possibility that there had been a rule change: could I leave my phone with the guards, rather than take it back out to my car and be late for work? After some discussion among themselves they agreed that I could, but I wouldn't be able to punch in as normal, swiping my badge through a reader. Instead I would have to carry an old-style time card. Only this wasn't a normal time card; it was more like a giant library card, with the names of everyone else who had carried it before me written on it. So I took the time card, and went through the turnstiles, and got halfway to the place where I would get my work assignment for the day, when I realized 1) I was still carrying my forbidden cell phone, and 2) I was late anyway!

I woke up, and checked the message on the system that would tell me if I was working or not. And the answer this time was "not." Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day, or the next...


Cheri Sundra said...

Did you try to interpret your dreams using a dream dictionary? Lots going on there! ;-)

I’ve had the same generic dream for years now….I’m wandering thru a school trying to find a classroom for a math class I’ve been ditching on the day of a test. Dream dictionaries say that test dreams mean feeling unprepared to meet a challenge or judged.

jennifer anderson said...

not knowing from day to day if they have a shift or not is agravating, been going through that