Monday, 20 September 2010

On Dreams

I worry an incredible amount. Earlier this week I received a work email that sent me into a wild panic and looks set to make my life a misery for at least the next month. As I read it, I could hear the blood pumping through my veins. My colleagues' conversations became background white noise. My stomach churned. And that night I didn't sleep.

In actual fact it's really not that big a deal, but worrying comes naturally to me. It's my talent. My superpower, if you will. It's not just work I worry about - it's family, friends, the future, the past... I'm worrying about you now. Yes, you. Are you bored? Am I coming across as pretentious? Are you even there? Is anybody out there? It's no wonder I'm going grey.

But fear not; for I have discovered an incredible truth. But in order to explain it, I need to tell you about the 'dream' I had the other night, before the aforementioned insomnia began.

In brief, I was at a school fete with my friend [Stacey Slater from BBC's Eastenders] when I realised I had no money. Stacey suggested I borrow some money from the Loan Shark Stall. 'How handy' I thought, as I skipped off in the loan shark's direction. He lent me £14, to pay back at the end of the fete. I stress here that no other terms or conditions were mentioned. He later tracked me down and informed me that I now owed £15.40. 10% interest was to be added to the initial sum every hour it remained unpaid [I'm actually quite impressed that my subconcious can work out percentages when I can rarely do it when I'm awake]. I protested, but the bloke was massive and mean-looking so I went to pay him back and get the hell away. But the stall was abandoned. Stacey told me to leave the money there, so I did, and we left. Before long, however, we were being chased through back alleys and side streets by an angry loan shark demanding more money. He caught up with me, pushed me against a wall and punched me in the chin. Then, I woke up.

Because I'm addicted to the snooze button on my phone, I immediately went back to sleep and had a weird 2 minute mini-dream about my teeth falling out. In my dream, I was completely unfazed by my sudden lack of teeth and went to work anyway.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I was shocked to discover that my chin actually hurt where the loan shark had hit me. This can only mean one thing; that - Stacey, the loan shark and the school fete - is my reality. This - work issues, greying hair and the football team I support beset with injuries - is my dream-world. Yes, this may well be a little bit Inceptionesque, but it's the only logical way to explain it. Upon realising this, I felt strangely liberated; all this work and woe was just a dream. In a few hours I'd 'wake up' and return to the world where I'm a crazy, cool, calm and collected individual who rubs shoulders with celebs and isn't even bothered when his teeth fall out. I am that man.

According to my colleagues, I am not that man at all - I have merely lost the plot. And of course they are right. But I'm in the middle of a period of what-the-fuck-am-I doing-with-my-life angst*, as are the writers of many of the blogs I read and it was nice, for a moment, to think that I wasn't really me and that I wasn't really here. And that whatever happens to me during the day, I can wake up from at night.

* Would that be existential angst? I'm not sure it would be, because I'm not worried by the fact that I exist, but that my existence is so rubbish. I studied French philosophy but have a habit of burying things that make my brain ache as soon as I don't need them any more.


  1. I can completely empathise with the worry. I get like that too; when I realise I have something to sort out, I can't stop thinking about it until it's done, even when I'm supposed to be doing something else.

    "But I'm in the middle of a period of what-the-fuck-am-I doing-with-my-life angst" I'd suggest taking a long holiday over Christmas, somewhere sunny. Of course, that's probably impractical, what with costs and getting time off etc etc, but if you can, nothing helps introspection like being somewhere completely new. I guess.

  2. I'm going through a similar phase of 'what the shit am I doing?' At least it's comforting to know there are people going through the same thing. I'm always suspicious of people who are totally sure of what they are doing; because clearly those people are mad, crazy individuals.

    Alas, it's not existential angst; as that occurs due to freedom, responsibility and possibility. Go Philosophy degree, go. You've finally become relevant.

  3. Hahahahhaah, stop freaking me out!

    I don't want to live in my dreams! (Seriously, I have some weird dreams).

    I do admire that your subconscious was able to work out percentages though!

  4. It's crazy that your chin hurt when you woke up!

    I'm a constant worrier too. And as you may experience, that means being worried about being worried. Like, "oh my god, I worry so much, I'm gonna get an ulcer. I'm gonna have high blood pressure" and then the worrying gets worse. Or maybe it's just me....

  5. Stacey, really? Of all the people you could've been hanging out with from Eastenders (!); it was Stacey?

    Is it weird that this is what worries me the most about your dream? That it was Stacey?!

    I worry all the time too. I worry about whether I have my passport in my bag- even though I checked it two minutes ago. I worry about whether I'm annoying people with my constant commentary. I worry about whether my commentary is as witty in real life as I think it is in my head. I worry about whether I'm going to screw everything up at work...

    and so on and so forth.

    Yes, I worry a lot. To the point of harried action- or worse, complete paralysis.

    You need a holiday. Not just a day off to sleep in, but a proper getaway to somewhere nice. Come to the Philippines! <3 xx

    p.s.: yes, please send me an e-mail about the film list! xxx

  6. Don't worry about what you are doing with your life. Why? Because, clearly, someone who can do subconscious percentages has their shit together. I agree with Jennifer Louise. It's an admirable quality.

  7. This is why the Transatlantic Support Group has to happen TbR!

  8. Allison is right. We need the TASG. We need it badly.

    And your dreams make more sense than mine. A couple of nights I had a dream that Dick Van Dyke was a Nazi and he was executing a Disney character every hour on the hour until he successfully took over the world. I think I was supposed to be his assistant or something and I had to watch Ursula The Sea Witch (from "The Little Mermaid") get electrocuted.

    ...Yeah, my subconscious can be a bit of a twisted place. I sure hope you're wrong and that dreams are not indeed reality. I don't really want to live in a world where Donald Duck can be overtaken by a firing squad.

  9. I'm not that much of a worrier but, as I told you on Twitter, I've been having that what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life feeling lately as well. I feel like I should be doing something else, something more important, and something more worthwhile. I feel like I'm stuck, actually. (It's in our genes, as you said.)

    Oh well. Vacation is the best solution, I guess.

    And your dreams are faremore interesting than mine. I usually forget them when I wake up. Which, I think, is a symptom of brain damage! HAHA.

  10. I've hear teeth dreams be interpreted as lies. (either you told them or had them told to you.) Lies at work?
    Get yer blood pumpin over that!

  11. @ leaveaspaceblank - Seriously, I'd kill for a holiday. I'd even settle for an actual school fete. Worrying, it's like a drug to me. I can't do it enough. And when I'm not doing it, I feel like I should be.

    @ Rachel - And now for a word from our Philosophy expert! Thank you for explaining in one sentence what my university failed in a whole term. Actually, they didn't fail. I did. I listened for 5 minutes, decided it was far too confusing to bother with, and skipped merrily away.

    @ Jennifer Louise - thanks, it's a talent I wouldn't expect my dream-self to have; yesterday I got myself into a complete state doing a tiny little calculation at work and managed to get 4 different answers. Dream-me is just better at everything.

    @ K-money - I know exactly how that feels. Another example, maybe less extreme, is worrying so much you can't sleep, then worrying that you're not sleeping and you should be, then realising it's time to get up.

    @ Risha - yes, Stacey. I'm intrigued, who would you choose? I would go to the Philippines in a shot, but I'd need lots of money and all of mine seems to have disappeared. Maybe next year though, in all seriousness. I fancy going somewhere far away, somewhere I haven't been before. But you do know you'll have to act as tour guide. Email on the way!

    @ RC - haha, yeah, maybe I could argue that - but Dream-Me does seem to be more intelligent than the actual me. Life is good, at least in my subconcious. I might start sending him to work in my place.

    @ Allison - And so it begins!

    @ Lauren - Oh. My. Word. A Disney Massacre? I wonder how your subconcious cooked that one up! Also, Ursula?! Firstly, random Disney character to choose. Secondly, probably not one I'd mind seeing electrocuted. She scared the crap out of me. In fact, I'd probably sticker her tentacles in a plug socket myself.

    @ Gnetch - yes, the feeling does seem quite prevalent at the moment. But don't blame your genes. And brain damage? Surely not! Since the loan shark dream, I've been making a concious effort to remember my dreams and haven't remembered once. So annoying.

    @ Traveler@large - Lies! It's all lies! The bastards. I also had three dreams the other week that featured snakes. Tell me more of this, dream professor?

  12. I know I just said I forget my dreams when I wake up. Apparently, I was wrong. I took a nap during my break and I had the creepiest dream ever! Gah!

    Also, did I say "faremore?" I'm making up stupid words now? WTF??

  13. Look forward to that e-mail.

    Aaand, I'd totally hang out with Tiffany.

    Yes, really. Shut up.

  14. I was going to scream Inception! when I read inceptionesque :P haha aww you worry wart,you're just like my mum :P

  15. @ Gnetch - I didn't even notice, you shouldn't have mentioned it. I would like to hear more of this creepy dream.

    @ Risha - Tiffany? Seriously? That takes me back. You do know she died, right? Run over by Frank Butch outside the Queen Vic? Just checking.

    @ Sweta - Well your mum must be awesome then. Haha.

  16. Yea :D She is like Chicken Little in Akbar's court :P ;)

  17. Yes! But I LIKED her..and Martine is adorbs, so I'd totally hang with her!