Dreamosaurus Rex

So I had the Jurassic Park dream again last night.

Notice I said “the” rather than “a”.  Because I keep having this one.  The details vary from time to time, but the basic structure is the same:  get chased by dinosaurs, run to what we think is safety, find out the T-Rex somehow got inside, clever escape.  Sometimes the dinosaurs talk.  Sometimes getting away is ridiculously easy.  Sometimes tons of people die.  Last night Andy Dick gets eaten by a pterodactyl (please don’t ask me why).  And one time, I was Indiana Jones with Sean Connery as my dad exploring a hidden temple inside Jurassic Park, which pretty much qualifies as The Best Dream Ever.

I have several recurring dreams, actually.  There’s one where I’m back in college, and I’m either re-enrolling for some odd reason or just realizing that I’m done and need to leave.  There’s one where I’m somehow strangely able to hover a few feet off the ground and can zip around pretty easily, yet no one seems to take notice of it.  There’s another where I’m at some kind of convention and realize it’s the last day and I haven’t done or seen anything.  There’s the out-of-control car dream, which sometimes leads me to wonder if I don’t actually go sleep-driving every once in a while.  I have a lot of dreams where I need to pack, either an over-stuffed apartment or an over-stuffed hotel room.  And I fly a lot, yet always tarnished by the moment where I lose the ability and struggle vainly to get back up in the air.  So basically, it’s amazing I get any sleep at all.

But there’s one recurring dream that trumps all the others.  It’s a mall I’ve been dreaming about for at least twenty years.  But it’s not the same dream, just the same location.  And it evolves; old stores have closed, new stores have opened, buildings have gone up in the area, and employees I knew leave for other things.  And I know the layout — once I arrive in the dream mall, I know where to find things.  There’s a book store that’s been there since the beginning, a video arcade whose games have changed over time, and a couple of restaurants that I never seem to eat in.  Sometimes the dream takes place mostly in the parking lot, sometimes I’m just wandering around the mall, and the most recent one, Gen-Con was taking place inside the mall and me and some friends were basking in the geekery.

And familiar real-world geography has worked itself in and around this mall.  There’s a theme park that’s a weird amalgam of Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and Sea World that I find myself visiting.  My old high school is nearby, as is Rollins College, but with a sports bar out behind it where I’m always seeing my friend Dale and our friend Nick, who passed away a few years ago.   A comic/game shop is a short bike ride away (I always seem to ride my bike from school to this store, yet drive everywhere else).

And like I said, none of this would be all that remarkable if it wasn’t for the continuity running through it.  This dream world has a history to it.  It’s a living thing.  And I’m sure it represents more hidden psychoses than I want to think about.

But it’s also kind of comforting.  I’ve always been able to snap myself out of a bad dream by reminding myself it’s a dream.  Something horrible will be happening to me, then this deus ex machina voice will call out, “It’s only a dream,” and then suddenly it’s like I’m just watching a movie of horrible things happening to me.  But these mall dreams are different.  They’re never unpleasant.  And going back to them is like seeing an old friend again.  I have no way of knowing if or when they’ll show up, but there’s always a sense of peace when I find myself in one.  Maybe it just means I’m getting a really good night’s sleep because the rave next door has taken a break and the elephants upstairs have finally gone to bed, but in any case, it’s always a welcome journey when it happens.  Even if it isn’t nearly as cool as Indiana Jones in Jurassic Park.


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