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School Days at Night: Three Subconscious Scenes


For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on an oral presentation for Spanish class. It’s been stressing me out a little, and, last night, I dreamt that I got to campus on the day of the presentation only to discover that I had forgotten to bring an important component of my presentation—the batch of Aztec cocoa I made to demonstrate the difference between contemporary chocolates and ancient Mesoamerican chocolate. I woke up nervous, but then I thought to myself, “Well, at least the shock of that dream will make me extra-vigilant when I’m getting my things together for the presentation.”

Today was the day of the presentation. I was a few feet away from my Spanish classroom when I realized that I had forgotten my bottle of Aztec cocoa.

I only live a few blocks from campus, but still, this was a pain in my ass. It would have been nice if—just once—a stress dream worked for me instead of against me.


I dream about school a lot. Bryn Mawr is the venue for my most interesting, evocative dreams, and, occasionally, my unconscious mind stages some primal scenes at Woodland Elementary. Stow High is, by far, the most popular setting for stress dreams. Thus, it is the most popular setting overall in the theater that is my brain at night.

Most of the time, in dreams, I am both illiterate and innumerate. Thus, forgetting my locker combination is a common trope. For the first time in a long time, I actually have a locker. It’s outside the studio where I’m taking a printmaking class, and I keep my tools and supplies in it. I don’t seem to be having any trouble with the combination, but, because my only locker-related experiences of the past several years have been in dreams, using my locker makes me existentially woozy—like I’m not sure whether or not I am, in fact, using my locker. At those moments, I’m not sure whether or not I am, in fact, existing.


Often, in my dreams of high school, I find that I have arrived at school naked. Or, at least, half-naked: Sometimes I have a shirt, but this has always seemed more naked than naked to me (as a child, I was always a little disturbed by Porky Pig), so it’s actually worse than just being naked.

Anyway, I’ve been back in school for a semester and a half now, and, so far, this hasn’t actually occurred.

So, I’ve got that going for me.

October 11, 2005 | Permalink


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