A friend whom I Slack with regularly was rather disturbed on Friday after dreaming that a coworker died. I know the feeling! I had a similar dream once. It’s weird enough having dreams about people you work with even when they’re alive and well. I see these people eight hours a day (well, I used to, until this whole pandemic thing happened). As much as I enjoy their company, it feels awkward to spend the night with them! Err…so to speak. Infiltrating my subconscious after hours feels a bit too intrusive. A line should be drawn somewhere, and for me, that somewhere is when the 5:00 whistle blows.
I should point out that a whistle doesn’t actually blow to signal the end of the day, as it did for Fred Flintstone when his shift ended at the Bedrock Quarry. Nor, for that matter, do I use my feet to “pedal” my car home. Occasional trains pass through downtown, but those are the only high-pitched sounds I ever hear at work.
For the record, the coworker whom I’d had the dream about did not, in fact, meet his maker. He showed up right on time the next morning, looking very much alive. Still, it took me a solid hour to shake the feeling that I was looking at a ghost. I debated telling him about the dream, but ultimately decided against it. Why freak the guy out? Once, a few years ago, Tara admitted she’d had a dream about me.
“Oh, yeah, baby!” I replied, my mind automatically going there because that is typically where my mind goes.
“Not that kind of dream,” she replied, bursting my bubble. “I dreamed that you died.”
“Umm,” I said. “What?!”
“Yeah, it was weird. You were shot to death by a neighbor.”
Before I could even begin to comprehend the magnitude of such disturbing imagery, the other shoe dropped. My daughter, Audrey, said, “That’s funny. I had a dream a few nights ago that you died, too!”
The only thing funny is that she thought such an admission could be classified as “funny.”
“Don’t worry,” she added quickly, clearly noting the look of distress that crossed my face. “You weren’t shot in my dream!”
My relief was short-lived, however. Because a third and final shoe dropped.
“You were stabbed to death in mine,” she confessed.
I can’t begin to tell you how unnerved I was for about a week afterward. Not only had my life been cut short (quite literally) in two dreams within the span of a few nights, but my demise in each one was horrendous. I cry when I stub my toe or get a paper cut. The idea of being murdered by actual bullets or sharp blades nearly drove me over the edge. I watched my back extra carefully for a while, eyeing strangers with suspicion and loved ones with…
…well, more suspicion. Even briefly considered whether my wife and/or daughter might have it in for me. I’ve watched Dateline enough to know that most murders are committed by people you are close to. I wondered if maybe they were eyeing my sizable estate, but then remembered that my estate was the exact opposite of sizable. After that, I was able to fall asleep without keeping one eye open.
I’m happy to say I wasn’t actually cut down in the prime(ish) of life. But this is why I didn’t tell my coworker I’d dreamt of his rendezvous with the Grim Reaper, and why I advised my friend to keep her dream to herself, too.
On a much lighter note, I finally put some significant mileage on my car yesterday. After being cooped up for
years days, I decided it was high time I actually went someplace other than [insert name of room here]. Tara was more than game, and the weather was beautiful, so we drove up to Sylvan Lake bright and early. Practically had the whole place to ourselves in the beginning.
We were somewhat surprised to see the whole thing still frozen over, but then again, much of Sylvan Lake is only ten feet deep and the elevation there is above 6,000′ so it’s not really a shock.
We ended up hiking the Needles Highway, which is still closed to traffic for the season. It was gorgeous: crystal-clear blue skies, trickling streams, chirping birds, fresh air, the scent of ponderosa pine perfuming the air, and silence so deep you could feel it. The pandemic and all its associated turmoil felt very far away for a few blissful hours.
There were fewer than 10 people we crossed paths with the entire time.
Here’s the infamous “eye of the needle.” You can probably figure out how it derived its name.
If I look excited here, it’s because I figured out this clever way of taking a selfie by strategically positioning my phone on a rock, setting a three-second timer, and scrambling into position before it went off, then readjusting the horizontal layout because the resulting photo was pretty crooked.
Only later did it occur to me that I could have simply asked Tara to take my picture…