“The inescapable fact is that the brain is an unnerving place as well as a marvellous one. There seems to be an almost limitless number of curious or bizarre syndromes and conditions. Anton-Babinski syndrome, for instance, is a condition in which people are blind but refuse to believe it. Capgras syndrome is a condition in which sufferers become convinced that those they know well are imposters. Perhaps the most bizarre of all is Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes he is dead and cannot be convinced otherwise.”
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
No, it’s not an ABBA song and no I’m not Martin Luther King Jr … still … I had a dream. How are you at dream interpretation?
One night in December 2019…
My dream started with me standing at one of 3 turnstiles in a dilapidated building.
People came and went through the turnstiles on either side of me. I watched as a woman walked up to the turnstile on my left, picked up a rock and used it to ‘buzz’ herself through. She replaced it neatly on the opposite side for someone, leaving the building, to use on their way out. Similarly, a man walked up to the turnstile on my right, picked up a slightly different object (a fossil or a large shell?) and did the same.
A few people passed in and out of the turnstiles in this way. So I did the same.
I found myself in an ante-room where everyone was washing their hands. Each person then took a logo-ed pullover from a neatly folded stash waiting on shelves behind the wash basins. I surveyed the shelves, but could not find size XS.
At that point, a woman appeared at my side: “Oh there you are. How did you get this far? Come with me please.”
I followed her into another room.
This new room was a hive of activity (only women working here) and was a kind of staging area filled with files, copiers and uniformed staff.
Like the previous two rooms I’d entered, the place was in serious need of re-painting, some wall lamps were missing bulbs or light shades. Iron tables and chairs were red with rust and some collapsed and unusable on the floor. Parts of the linoleum flooring was peeling off and autumn leaves littered the floor although there are cleaners about.
One ceiling fan tiredly flapped high above me without noticeable effect and the dusty arms of the other four ceiling fans had long since given up.
I was taken to a counter to be ‘processed’, asked to put out my hand, palm up. A civil servant poured a translucent warm sticky liquid onto my palm. There were questions – what is my name, my age etc? All answers were typed into a dos-type device. Another civil servant injected some tiny shiny things into the mush which was by now solidifying on my palm (computer nano-chips perhaps?). As I stared at my palm the mush flattened out, formed right angles, fully hardened and turned into two identity cards. The ID cards collected, stamped and examined.
While examining my ID cards, my civil servant’s face suddenly registered surprise. She gasped and two of her colleagues huddled around emitting ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahs’. More quick typing into her computery-thingy!
My ID cards were then returned to my hand and on them I noticed that my job title. It was my turn for surprise.
‘Second in command to Mr Ramaphosa‘ my ID card read.
It’s because I speak French I somehow reasoned. And to test out my theory I practiced a quick French phrase in my head. I tried the same sentence in the present and past tense. Hmm. Not convincing.
Next, I was taken down a long passage. The civil servant leading me, had a broom in hand and occasionally swept autumn leaves. We stopped at a rickety door with broken handle and hollow lock. She pushed the door open and lead me into a large sunny conservatory with glass windows all around. The room was filled with beds (old steel beds with thin sprung mattresses and army issue bedding). There are more beds in the room than space to walk comfortably around them.
“Americans who come to work here always expect a large room all to themselves,” said my civil-servant-cleaner by way of explanation. I started to tell her that I’m not American and asked what I should do now, but she was gone and I was alone.
My whole dream played out as if filmed with a sepia filter.
And that’s it. That’s the dream.
What was that all about?
In other news, our little long weekend sojourn in Germany was a wonderful break. We spent time with old friends, attended a First Holy Communion service, ate a lot of German bread and did a 51km cycle around Mainz city in the surrounding forests including a tour of the ‘famous’ Mainz football stadia (original home of the wonderful Jürgen Klopp).
P.s. This dream pre-dates COVID-19 – I dreamt it in December 2019. So it’s not the workings of a COVID saturated brain. The details have remained clear in my mind, which is rare, as I usually forget my dreams fairly quickly.
P.p.s. I recently dreamed that I was attacked by a fish at a local pub. Hubby says my dreams are ridiculous and weird and that maybe I shouldn’t ask for your help to interpret this one.
P.p.p.s. I love it when a story (book, play or film) starts with a dream. One of my favourite dream-starts (nightmare, in fact) is in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The story begins: “I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it – but take care not to smile at any part of it.” What I don’t like, is a story that ends with: “It was all a dream”.
P.p.p.p.s. In case your political knowledge of South Africa is but rudimentary, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa (to whom I am second in command) is the president of South Africa and the head of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
P.p.p.p.p.s. I’m reading Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants. The current chapter is ‘The Brain’ – both fascinating and hilarious. It reminded me that I need a dream interpretation.
P.p.p.p.p.p.s. In chilli news, Hubby has been starving his chillis of water and it seems to be working – they are getting hotter. Last night we harvested about 45 chillies and today I pickled them.