For the past nine years or so, I have been having variations on the same two nightmares:
1) I am mingling with friends at a crowded party/church meeting when I sense the presence of my first boyfriend — let’s call him “Aardvark.” In some dreams I search twisty hallways, desperate to find him; and sometimes I’m equally desperate not to be seen. He always wears a suit. Whether I confront Aardvark or not, I’m unsettled for hours after waking. THAT’s what makes this a nightmare.
In real life, I’ve tried talking to Aardvark and avoiding him for years at a time; neither approach seems to alter the dreams.
2) I am sitting in a parked car/pickup/semi truck, minding my own business, when suddenly it starts barreling downhill/uphill/through herds of innocent bystanders/into the ocean. I try to take control of the car, but the brakes NEVER work, and the steering wheel’s not much better.
Last week, this dream was different: after totaling a zippy red rental car in a head-on collision, I prepared to be arrested for driving without a license. I remembered that Mr. Jaunty was out of town; who would feed my pet rats?
This was by far the most vivid of my driving nightmares; I clearly saw my car and hitched a ride with the crash victim… the ‘not having a license’ issue was a realistic touch, funny it never cropped up before.
In college, the actor’s nightmare joined my personal late-night lineup:
3) I find myself backstage at a play/recital/opera, totally unable to remember my lines/song text/reason for living/entrance cue. I spend the entire dream panicking, and fighting to remember the imaginary play.
Because I blew many, many real-life vocal juries by forgetting song texts — why is it I can forget entire songs but not the aftermath? — this dream is especially uncomfortable.
My friend Greyloon suggested that if I mastered lucid dreaming, I could stop the runaway car and tell Aardvark to go suck an anthill. Hell, I could even improvise that play.
Have you had recurring nightmares?