Explaining Dreams to an Alien

Explaining Dreams to an Alien: Breaking Down Dreams

A Dream's Meaning Becomes Clearer

"During the time you had this dream," she asks, shedding the alien stance, "was there anything going on in your life that might be pertinent?"

"Nothing special," I said. "There was some trouble with work, but I don't think it's connected."

"Tell me about it," Delaney said.

I explained that I'd been doing a difficult story for a magazine I hadn't worked with before. Things were going smoothly until my editor was fired in midstream. The editor who took over seemed to regard the story as a hassle she didn't need. She wouldn't return my phone calls, and when I did manage to reach her, our conversations were edgy and brief. She couldn't answer my questions; she seemed annoyed I was calling at all.

"How did that make you feel?"

"They were disorganized and unprofessional," I said, "I felt like the story was falling apart, and all my hard work would be wasted."

"Like a speeding toboggan falling apart halfway down the slope?"

I saw it all in a flash. "Exactly," I laughed. "The loose planks of the toboggan represent my story — I'm trying to hold it together, and that's why I can't just leave the planks behind. And the other toboggans represent the people at the magazine, whose lack of cooperation (they'd sooner run me down than stop and help me) were putting me in a position to fail."

Deciphering Dreams

Well, well, well. Another day, another dream mystery unraveled. But having decoded the dream, how does it do me good? Well, if I had understood the dream's message while working on that story, I might have bailed out of the — leaving the shattered toboggan behind — which, in retrospect, would have saved me a long go-round of frustration and grating uncertainty that, unfortunately, continues still.

I guess I could have made the decision to bail based on my conscious feelings — the vibes couldn't have been much worse — but somehow, it was easy to ignore those feelings and press on, hoping things would just work out. The dream, I guess, knew better and was trying to warn me I was wrong.