Oh no. Here we go again: The recurring phone nightmare.
I used to have what I guess are anxiety dreams in which I absolutely had to make a phone call. It was always spurred by impending doom of some unspecific kind. Always it was me desperately dialing for help or to provide warning.
Back in the beginning the dreams involved rotary phones, sometimes coin-operated. I might not have enough coins, or the coins refused to go into the slot because they were the wrong kind, or slipped through my fumbling fingers.
More often, though, the dreams were about the act of dialing: Inserting my shaking fingertip into the proper space, moving my hand carefully clockwise to the stop, releasing and waiting till the dial rotated back to neutral — only to dial the last digit wrong. I’d have to start all over again, now with even more pressure to succeed — and I’d fail again.
Then came touch-tone phones. It didn’t matter. I would be simply unable to push the right button. I’d concentrate, I’d focus, and yet my finger would press the wrong button.
I’d have to start all over from the beginning. It was always a long distance call, so there were many numbers, many chances to screw up. And screw up I would. Until I stopped having the dreams.
One thing I’ve loved about the digital era has been Undo. If only all of life came with Undo. Computers and now cell phones offer gazillions of apps and almost all of them have Undo functions.
And merciful gods, my cell’s phone app has Undo! There’s a little X and if I touch the wrong number I just touch that X and it Undoes the error. So simple even an idiot dreamer can get the number right.
And yes, I can. In fact, I know so deeply in my psyche that I can dial the number correctly that I don’t have dialing-wrong dreams anymore. You’d think that would mean that my phone nightmares would go away.
Last night I dreamed I couldn’t find my cell phone. I was so agitated that I woke up, and having done so I realized it wasn’t the first time I’d had a lost cell phone dream. In them I know it’s around somewhere — but where? I know it will turn up — but when? In the dreams I don’t have the phone right now and I can’t make the call.
What call? My memory of the phone dreams are always vague. I’m generally in a house with many rooms connected by M.C. Escher-like stairs (or like the stairs in the Goblin King’s castle in the movie Labyrinth — except with furniture). Blind ends, wrong turns, backtracking, and always the pressing need to be somewhere, along with a nebulous nagging horror raising the hackles at the back of my neck.
Last night I didn’t even want to make a phone call – I just needed to find that damn phone before… I’m not sure what.
What am I supposed to do?
I like to record my dreams in my journal but I’m not that interested in analyzing them. The dreams never have been about phone calls anyway, they’re just reverberations of the quite familiar anxieties and pressures of daily life. Dreams or daily life — I have no control over most of what goes on around me. Nobody does.
The take-away, I’m pretty sure, is that it would be a good idea for me to just deal with what I can and stop worrying about the rest.
Or maybe it’s something entirely different. Maybe it’s that if I ever managed to make that call, whoever answered might be way scarier than the monster breathing down my neck.
#amwriting, #journal, #dreams, #DavidBowie, #Labyrinth