Working unusual shifts I sleep at irregular hours. So I often wake abruptly and remember fragments of dreams. Recently I had the odd experience of dreaming a Sit Com.
I was in the role of younger brother. My older brother and I were in the presence of unsavory characters. They were planning a crime, in fact we were casing a bank for a robbery. Despite peer pressure I had misgivings and left, encouraging my brother to do the same. On arriving home there was a sub-plot, a somewhat comic bit player who was trying to sell me a leather coat he had “borrowed” from work.
By now I was aware, even as I was sleeping and knew full well that I was sleeping, that the next development would be the police showing up, everyone being very concerned until it became comically evident that they were only after the coat stealing guy, and that my brother had also steered clear of troublemakers.
It is so annoying to dream in clichés.
I can pretty much carbon date the elements of the dream. As it happens, I and everyone else in the dream were black. I was the young scholarly kid; my brother the cool type always in danger of being drawn into the criminal world. The older brother appeared to be an early 80's Theo Huxtable.After about 1980 it became politically incorrect to associate being black with living in a ghetto.
This memory strata corresponds roughly to the point in time where I stopped watching TV regularly. In fact, I think dreams tend to tap not into our deepest memory banks, but to whatever is left lying around nearer the surface. If you were to apply the Vulcan Mind Probe to me and drill down to the real bedrock of my cultural awareness you would find stuff like this…
And even, this…
Of course, much of this is black and white dreck older than I am, cultural Coelocanths still swimming lazily about in the mid 1960’s of small market television. Stuff like this never turns up in my dreams.
I assume people always have, and always will dream. So I wonder if the dreams as cliche phenomena is a constant. Did ancient Greeks wake up and grumble about dreaming hackneyed versions of Homer, ever droning on about the “dark, wine colored seas”?
And what will those now young establish as their subconscious clichés? Since the trend is towards various hand held devices I wonder if they will only dream small dreams. And will the ubiquitous use of thumbs and wrists to send texts and to play videogames become a factor? Will they instead of Rapid Eye Movement dreams have Rapid Thumb Movements, twitching away in the human equivalent of dogs galloping off after Dream Squirrels?