Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Good Dream... I Think

This morning I had a dream. Actually a number of little dreams, as I am still sick and stayed in bed until late morning, waking up and falling asleep repeatedly. I've forgotten the other dreams, though. And within this dream itself there was other content, but this is the portion I want to talk about:

I was helping mom clean up in the kitchen. While we were talking a roach crawled out from under the sink; I panicked a little, and before I could do anything it sensed me and crawled back under the sink. However, another bug then made an appearance (or perhaps the same dream-creature, in different guise?). This one was smaller but oddly, the space around it seemed to wave and shimmer like a force field. Then I realized the disgusting truth; it had numerous hair-thin legs which were so enormously long, like a foot long each (in fact I thought of a super-daddy long legs) – that their vibrating movement was creating the impression of a shimmery aura around the body. I was so freaked that before I could react the bug started to crawl back under the sink. But this time I was determined not to let it escape. Although its body had already disappeared from view I grabbed a piece of paper towel, lunged for its legs, caught it by the threadlike appendages and dragged it back out into the light, where I proceeded to methodically roll it up in the paper towel, bang the wadded-up mess several times with my fist to make sure it was dead, and throw it in the trash.

Battling bugs has been a recurring theme in my dreams for many years. In my dream journal there are four dreams under the umbrella heading of 'The Bug Dreams' (in addition to other bug-related dreams separately logged under their own titles). They are undated, which means they were either recorded from memory long after the fact or copied from haphazardly written records made before I started properly keeping track of my dreams, but anyway the entry immediately precedes the one dated October 15, 1992 -- so I've been having these dreams for something like two decades at least, and probably more since there must have been others that were not recorded and forgotten.

Interestingly, in the old dreams the bugs appear in groups, but in later ones they appear one at a time. And also, they originally appeared as vague, generic 'bugs', but later they were specific kinds of bugs. I wonder if that means anything? What do they represent? Fears? Anxiety? Disgust? If that's close to the truth, I guess it's a positive thing that they became reduced in number over time, or at least better defined. I guess it's also a good thing that in this dream (as well as some other, previous dreams) I seem to get the upper hand in the end. But did I really win by killing the bug? I wish instead of wadding up the bug (repressing/hiding it away?), smashing it and throwing it away, I could have examined it in detail. Or maybe given it a chance to communicate with me somehow (oh, to be able to dream lucidly again!). I guess I'm not ready for that yet. But perhaps, now that I've thought of examining the bug and communicating with it, next time I encounter it I will be less hasty about dispatching it...

Addendum: I just realized something. The image of the bug with numerous long thin legs that wave and shimmer -- it looks like the E. coli bacterium! Escherichia coli -- the picture I remember from childhood showed an organism with an oblong body surrounded by a 'field' of long, wavy flagella. It has always served as the iconic image of germs for me -- so the bug may have been a representation of bacteria, of sickness in general? Maybe the dream was simply a self-representation of the fact that I was recovering from the flu?

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