#9 Dream

(with apologies to John Lennon)

I had this dream the other night.

Now, I rarely remember my dreams unless they’re one of the recurring ones that I’ve had for years, and those are beyond boring at this point.  I am not one of those people who keep a pad and pen at bedside to write down whatever I remember the moment I open my eyes.

For some reason, however, lately my dreams have begun sticking with me (you remember the one about the snake, right?).  And I wonder what it means.

This dream had two parts.

In the first part, I received an email from a coworker I barely knew at a job I worked nearly thirty years ago.  Only in the dream, she worked out in the desert in the job from which I was recently laid off.  The email was an invitation to a baby shower.  All in color and very professionally done.  I had to think hard to even remember who this person was.

Then cut to my old neighborhood in the suburbs of New York City.  It was autumn, there were fallen leaves all over the place, I was wearing a jacket against the crisp air.  As I walked along, I was feeling down, thinking about how bad my financial situation was and wouldn’t it be nice if some money came into my life.

Just then, I noticed a few coins in the gutter — dimes, nickels and pennies.  I picked them up and counted them.  The coins added up to 85 cents.  Well, it’s better than nothing, I thought.  That’s when I approached a driveway and noticed that on the house’s lawn, near the edge of the driveway, were three enormous piles of coins — dimes, nickels and pennies.  They weren’t raised up in heaps, but spread out in long tongues.  There must be hundreds of dollars in those piles, I thought.  I could start scooping them up and dumping them in my pockets!  I pictured myself walking home with sagging pockets weighing me down and lowering my pants like some gangsta kid.

And then it occurred to me:  Those coins that I picked up a few yards back must have come from this pile!  Now that I know who they belong to, I have to return them.  So I removed the 85 cents from my pocket and replaced the coins in the appropriate piles of dimes, nickels and pennies.

When I turned around to leave, I noticed that a woman had just driven her car into the driveway.  She must have observed my actions.  She exited the car and said hello.  She unbuckled her children from their car seats and extricated them from the vehicle.  There were three of them:  A boy of about five, a girl of about two and a baby a few months old.  The woman thanked me for returning the coins that had blown away in the autumn wind.

I waved and walked away.  I now had a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

So what do you think?  Some of the themes seem fairly obvious.  Both parts of the dream involved children; my wife and I spend a lot of time with our little grandniece.  The financial concerns of the second part fit in with the fact that I’ve been unemployed for 3½ months.

I’m not all sure about the part about being honest and returning the coins, nor why someone would have so much money out in the open for anyone to steal.  And is there a significance in the amount being exactly 85 cents?

Clearly, I was pleased that I had done the right thing by returning the few coins I had found rather than scooping up piles of money that belonged to someone else.  I was also pleased that I was recognized for this.  I was tempted to go down the wrong path merely for personal gain, but I felt richer for resisting that temptation.  I also felt relieved that I had narrowly missed making a grave error by selfishly accepting ill-gotten gains.

The first part of the dream about a long-ago coworker who I haven’t thought of in years may have at least somewhat of a connection to real events.  Lately, I have been thinking of a guy I worked with long ago when I was just starting out.  I wasn’t friends with him or anything; he would say whatever came to mind, no matter how inappropriate, and he would engage in high-decibel arguments with the boss.  He was a tortured soul who got into all manner of trouble at work and was always on the verge of being fired.  The union shop steward was constantly being called.  Then one Monday we heard that he had been found dead over the weekend.  He couldn’t have been more than 25 years old.  I have no idea how this all relates to a baby shower.

Although I am no dream interpreter, I do believe that dreams are a window into the soul.  I am convinced that there is a deeper meaning there somewhere.

So how many of you have had strange dreams lately?  Please leave a comment and tell us all about it.  After all, you don’t want me to be the only weirdo, now do you?


4 thoughts on “#9 Dream

  1. Dreams are interesting! I have vivid dreams all the time… but I also have a lot of, let’s say, “issues” that I’ve been working out. Usually when I have a dream that I remember, I write down how the different scenes in it made me feel. For me it is not always what is happening in the dream, but what it “feels like” or what it makes me think of when I write about it.

    Your dream has some interesting points in it! What struck me most was the person who had their money in their yard. They thought nothing of it being out in plain sight. Maybe they did not see money as a concern. And the fact that it was coins and not dollar bills… interesting. What does that mean to you?

    I am convinced that dreams come directly out of our feelings and burdens, especially ones that it doesn’t occur to us to think about when we are awake. I hope you figure it out!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Angela! I really like your idea that we should think more about how we feel about dreams rather than about their content. I feel as if, in this dream, I was a pawn or a video game character (like Mario, forever jumping to retrieve coins), subject to predetermined roles and buffeted by the winds of forces outside my control. I feel as if I managed to break out of that by returning the money rather than succumbing to pure self-interest, the way a animal does. Then again, one could say that I just kept right on being a soulless pawn by returning the money and thus acceding to socially acceptable mores. Which is kind of weird, as it was only 85 cents. Rather Orwellian, if you ask me.

      You mention that the money out in the open was in coins rather than dollar bills. As an English major back in college days, if this plot sequence appeared in a novel or a play, I would interpret it to mean that the family living in that house was attempting to show off its wealth when, in fact, it didn’t really have much (just coins) — and what it did have was exposed and thus vulnerable to theft at any moment. The woman’s vulnerability was further emphasized by having three little children; she seemed pleased that I chose not to take advantage of her situation when I could have. Another possible interpretation is that this family had left its money out in the open so that the less fortunate could take what they needed. Perhaps the three children symbolized the fact that the family had been richly rewarded and wished to engage in an act of generosity by giving back to the community.

      Ultimately, however, I think this dream caused me to feel nostalgia for my youth in the green, leafy suburbs of New York, a place that no longer exists and, quite possibly, never really did.

    • That’s insightful, Anna! I would never in a million years have thought of that. One can analogize pennies to money as days to the sands of time. The subconscious sure can reveal some strange things. 🙂

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