I’ve Never Had This Many Boring Dreams In A Row


Cotton Candy Dream
This photoshopped version of a photo of the Oklahoma sky has always seemed vaguely dreamlike to me.
(Copyright © 2005 by Wil C. Fry.)

While some people rarely remember their dreams and other people seem to recall all of them, I’m somewhere in the middle. Typically, I have full dream recall every couple of months — and usually when they’re particularly confusing, vivid, scary, or interesting. I don’t always remember to write descriptions immediately and most of them are lost to my memory after a few minutes or hours.

A couple of months ago, I had one that was so striking, so terrible that I was afraid to write it down for a couple of weeks.

But ever since that day, I’ve had full recall of half a dozen dreams, all of which were the most boring dreams I can think of. More boring than any other dreams I’ve ever recalled.

DREAM 1: STANDING IN LINE

I was the second person in line at a cash register. Before me on the counter were three winter knit caps (similar to this one, which I own in real life). My wife was standing beside me. We exchanged glances because the woman in front of us was taking so long to locate money in her purse. Looking around, it appeared to be a sporting goods store in the style of Bass Pro or Gander Mountain. There was a coffee shop inside the store, beyond the row of cash registers. People began to line up behind us. Finally, the woman in front of us moved on, and we went to the front of the line. The cashier, a tall, thin, bearded young man, scanned two of the knit caps but had trouble with the third. “I don’t think it’s in the system”, he said. “These are pretty new. I’ve never seen this kind before.” So we just stood there. No feeling of impatience overwhelmed me — as it would have in reality. I chatted with my wife (the topic of this conversation is not in my memory of the dream). Finally, he asked if we wanted him to call for a price check. I realized he’d been waiting on me to tell him what to do. “I really don’t need three hats”, I told him. “We can just leave that one off.” My wife chimed in: “You don’t even need hats. You have two at home. And it’s summer.” Then the cashier decided to call for a price check anyway. I looked at the people behind us in line apologetically, but they were all studiously reading or tapping the screens of their phones. None of them seemed in a hurry. In fact, a couple of them weren’t even holding items to purchase; they were just standing in line. One guy — who looked exactly like our cashier, including his clothes — looked up and shrugged. “I just like standing in line”, he told me. I remember he had pretty eyes. The woman next to him, who looked similar enough that she could be his sister, also looked up with pretty eyes. “Me too”, she said, smiling. “Standing in line is how I pass the time.” Both went back to enjoying the content of their phone screens.

This went on for 20 or 30 minutes. My wife and I continued to talk, and the cashier continued to periodically call for a price check. After a while, I realized he wasn’t using any device to call for the price check. He was simply saying out loud to the empty air: “I need a price check on a hat.” And then he would send a friendly smile our way.

DREAM 2: WALKING IN SNOW

I was walking with a woman along the side of a snow-covered country road. It wasn’t currently snowing, but I knew the snowfall was recent — the road still hadn’t been plowed, and there were no footprints or tire tracks on it. It was, I suppose, about six inches deep. Tufts of snow hung on the branches of leafless trees along both sides of the road. We were going uphill, talking. At the top of the hill, I could see that the road continued on, exactly like it was behind us, dipping down gradually for a half mile or so and then rising back up to another hill just like this one. There were no breaks in the row of trees on either side — no driveways or intersections. No mailboxes or fences either. The shape of the road reminded me a little of State Highway 9 a mile or two east of Seminole, Oklahoma — two lanes, no shoulders, very straight, a small ditch on either side, and the ground rising up and away from the ditches to the row of trees.

Sometimes the woman was my wife, and we were holding hands. A few times, I think it was one of my sisters, but I can’t recall the face. Other times, it was Tatiana Maslany (who I saw in Two Lovers And A Bear a few months ago).

Nothing else happened. No slips and falls, no snowball fights, no laughing, no making snow angels… Just walking the road. (Now that I think about it, we were walking on the right side of the road, which I would never do in real life. And I was closer to the ditch than the woman, something else I wouldn’t do in reality.) Up a hill, down a hill, and then again and again.

DREAM 3: DELETING EMAILS

I came home to see my wife sitting on the porch surrounded by stacks of paper. The home looked a lot like the trailer that used to sit on my parents’ property, and the view from the porch looked like the view from that same trailer, just without my parents’ house in the background. “What’s all this?” I asked. My wife said, “These are my emails. I’m deleting them. I can’t believe The Army had all my emails.” I reminded her that she works for the Army and uses their computers daily. “These aren’t my work emails”, she said. “These are my personal emails.” Still, I said, she probably used her work computer to access her personal email. She insisted she hadn’t. “No, they just had all these in a file. So I’m deleting them.”

I could see they weren’t just stacks of paper. The top half of each was the kind of peel-off sticker paper that Amazon uses to send you a return address label. The bottom half of each was just paper. The top half included email address, CC and BCC lines, subject lines, dates, etc., each on a separate peel-off sticker. The bottom half was the text body of the email.

I went inside the trailer. Inside, it looked like a well-arranged Ikea apartment — the kind inside Ikea stores, meant to be examples of how to usefully fill a very small space. Through the kitchen window, though I could still see the same porch and view. I brewed some coffee, then poured a cup each for my wife and I, and returned to the porch. The weather was nice — low 70s and partly cloudy with a slight breeze. I remember being glad we’d moved “here” (I don’t know where “here” was), because the climate was so perfect.

My wife was peeling off the stickers from the top half of each email and crumbling the stickers into little balls. One ball for email addresses, one ball for subject lines, and so on. I asked why she was doing this. “Because I can’t run this sticky part through our shredder”, she explained. “Once I get the sticky parts off, then I’ll shred the rest.” So then I asked the question I had been wondering about since I got there: “Why didn’t you just delete the file you found?” She said it wasn’t possible. “When I clicked ‘delete’, it asked if I wanted to print them all, and when I clicked ‘no’, it said it couldn’t delete them without printing.” I didn’t believe her and tried to explain how technology works. It took about 20 minutes of mansplaining to describe the full functioning of electronic files on a computer or server. She didn’t grow angry, but repeated what had happened. “Once I clicked ‘yes’ to print them all, then the file deleted just fine”, she said. So I started helping her peel off the stickers and attach them to the growing crumpled balls of stickers.

We did this for a long time. We drank our coffee and I brewed more, and still we peeled stickers from the emails. When we were done, we took the balls of stickers to a nearby burn barrel (common appliance in very rural areas) and burned them. We shredded the remaining stacks of non-sticky paper. For some reason, our shredder was outside on the porch.

*************

There were other incredibly boring dreams that I eventually forgot during this time period. Each time, it eventually grew so boring that I forced myself to wake up. That last one, I woke from at 12:00 a.m. (midnight), and couldn’t go back to sleep for another hour and a half.

At this point, I’m not even interested in what the dreams mean — which is what is usually discussed after telling a dream — I just want them to stop. :-)

2 Comments
  1. Dana says:

    They don’t see all that boring to me (ok, maybe the walking in snow one). The first one seems sinister in a Stepford Wives sort of way and the last one also has creepy Big Brother is watching elements to it. (Of course, given my taste in television and movies, it’s not surprising I see them through that lens.)

    I’d kill for boring dreams. I’ve suffered from “night terrors” my entire life. I still regularly wake myself up screaming (my husband, however, usually manages to sleep through my screaming, which undoubtedly makes me angry). Occasionally, I’ll have mundane work dreams; usually involving filing or looking for lost files. Like you, I’m usually perplexed why I’d dream about such things. The most annoying dreams I have (and I have the often) are the ones where my subconscious just replays the television show that I watched before going to bed (that happens a lot if it’s a show I’m binge watching or particularly attached to).

    (On a tangential note – I have excellent dream recall but often lack the words to describe my dreams, which are (1) not always linear in time; and (2) not always based in this reality. I can clearly visualize or replay the dream but I can’t describe it to my husband.)

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      I agree with your assessment that there’s some sort of Big Brother vibe going on in at least one of the dreams. The really weird part is that I felt no emotion in these dreams. Typically, my dreams are soaked with emotion, whether it’s joy, fear, sadness, excitement, dread, or *something*. These felt like I’d just ingested some emotion-killing drug, LOL.

      (And, considering I recently read 1984, and often think about companies or government having access to our private information, it’s not surprising that those elements are there…)

      If you ever do find the words for some of those dreams, I’m sure they would be interesting to read about. I know some of my dreams aren’t in linear time either, and those are definitely harder to describe. Many times, I’m certain that I was having multiple dreams at the same time, but they keep overlapping with each other — like those odd movies that try to tell three or four different stories at the same time, seemingly unrelated, and keep switching back and forth between unrelated scenes. Or like Pulp Fiction, which isn’t in chronological order at all, so I just remember detached scenes instead of a story. :-)

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