In Crete, they eat a lot of cheese. Rich food in general, in fact, heartily doused in olive oil. And after every meal in a restaurant, we were given raki and usually a small dessert from the house.
Now I’m back, I’m abstaining from cheese from at least a week, before I embark on research that Wallace and Gromit would be proud of, to test the hypothesised correlation between dreams had, and quantities of cheese eaten.
But first, here’s what my subconscious had to say while I was out of the country.
A fragment of a song by Nick Cave’s former band, The Birthday Party. It was called Doreen and could have been either about a lost lover or missing child. “Doreen where are you / I miss you,” Cave intoned. “Please come home / I’ll love you.”
The previous morning, I’d found out from a group whatsapp conversation about the terrorist attack in Manchester, in which most of the victims were female, and most very young. Using hotel wi-fi, I’d seen reports totting up the death toll, and family members using social media to try and locate missing people.
A newish friend (someone I’ve known a few months, and not very well), asked me to help her transfer out of bed and into her wheelchair. To do this, I had to lean my weight into one of side of her body, mostly the thigh, in order to sort of roll her. Once she was moved, I noticed a big wet patch on the sheet she’d been lying on; not urine, maybe saliva.
In reality, this person is physically very active and able, a keen dancer like me, so to see her chairbound was unsettling. Also uncomfortable was being the person who was asked to help. My squeamishness here recalls the first dream I posted on this blog, Not Today.
I’m sure that the dream reflects my fears about losing my own physical capacity, particularly my dancing ability as I know it. In dreams, seeing a thing happen to someone else – one degree of detachment – can be less psychically* overwhelming than seeing it happen to yourself. (Two degrees of detachment might be, watching a film in which something happens to someone else, which is a device my subconscious also uses now and then. See Murder, She Watched.
For what it’s worth, I often drool quite a bit if I fall asleep on my front.
* Do tell me what you think of my using the word ‘psychic’ as in ‘pertaining to the psyche.’ I shuddered a little as I typed it; mostly I chose that rather than ‘psychological’ because I felt the shorter word lent a more pleasing rhythm to the sentence. But I do find phrases like ‘psychic death’ or ‘psychic pain’ – as opposed to psychological – so fucking pretentious at times. Same difference as far as actual meaning is concerned, I know.
An awful dream, this one. An old Caribbean man with a brown hat, smoking a pipe or cigar, while verbally decrying the local prostitute (who was very well known) to anyone in the neighbourhood who would listen. He did that a lot; indeed some of his favourite pastimes were smoking, staying indoors, and proselytising about the evils of prostitution. The building he lived in was struck by accidental fire (I don’t think it was anything to do with the guy’s smoking), and all the other residents, adults and children, were evacuated. Still he refused to leave his front room. As the flames rumbled around him, he just kept on, talking about the local harlot. The last thing to go was his face, still with pipe / cigar in his hate-driven mouth. Skin and facial features melted and charred until they became covered in a thick layer of silent ash.
Two police officers – a man and a woman – glanced knowingly at one another when they came to retrieve his remains. Their eye contact conveyed mutual support, steeling themselves for a sight they knew would be more appalling than anything they’d seen on the job so far.
Before that, I think there’d been a dream about snakes.