Last night I dreamed I was at my college. It didn't look like my college, but I knew anyway. My instincts for this sort of thing are spot-on, especially if you ignore the small detail that I was hallucinating. I was back at college and I wanted out.
"I FINISHED already!" I wailed (probably in real life too). "I don't WANT to take another class. I don't WANNAAAAAAAAAA..."
But the dream marched relentlessly onward, because dreams are like that, or at least mine are. I had to go to class, and when it turned out to be the wrong class, I had to try and drop the class, fill out a battery of forms, plead my case before a variety of deans, fill out another glut of forms, then realize I had neglected to go to my next class.
I awoke in a grim mood. I had had it with dreams.
I understand some people have interesting, even exciting dreams. Swashbuckling pirate escapades, jungle adventures involving the word "Ungawa," and the like are nothing out of the ordinary for certain individuals. Whereas my personal dreams are boring. No, not boring - "boring" is too mild a word. They are the stuff of a lethal, static, terminal dullness that would plunge a lesser soul from REM straight into a coma.
This doesn't really have to do with bureaucracy, as featured in my recent college dream. That's a different animal entirely. I am willing to accept that I can't escape bureaucracy, even in my dreams. After all, I lived in France, where the local bureaucracy emits a force field so powerful it can ensnare the dead. In one famed case, a Mr. Jean-Philippe de Wanker of Toulouse received a flu shot and was summarily sentenced to pay the government upwards of your mortgage in monthly flu-shot taxes, Band-Aid taxes, that-little-alcohol-swab-they-clean-your-arm-off-with-before-the-shot taxes, ow taxes, and taxes for each individual air molecule breathed during the procedure. He was required to remit these fees every single month until the year A.D. 28,536 despite the fact that Mr. de Wanker actually died in 1997. As the French government put it, "Ce n'est pas an excuse. En plus, nous ne sommes pas currently in our offices to state that ce n'est pas an excuse."
Ha ha, of course this is funny humor. I am only kidding: the French would never clean your arm off before a shot! But the point is bureaucracy exists in all our daily lives, dreams* included, so we had better darn well learn to put up with it. But here's the thing: I want at least a few fun dreams once in a while. The boredom has got to be tempered. To use more poetic terminology: you can't eat Cream of Wheat all the time. I demand a few M&Ms stuck in with it.
Here's my theory: we don't remember all the dreams we dream, because some happen during our light sleep and others during deep sleep. So presumably, our M&M dreams (this is the scientific term) get lost in our deep sleep, and we remember nothing. That's why I hereby proclaim I am favor of designing, engineering, and selling via SkyMall a personalized DREAM-SHUFFLING PLAYLIST MECHANISM. That's right. You'd be able to customize it to your own tastes, assuming you have some! Then, once you activate the shuffling mechanism, you'll be able to shuffle all your dreams around, iPod-style, between your lighter and deeper sleep periods -- the result being that occasionally, M&M dreams will come to the fore.
But what, exactly, is an M&M dream, you ask? Well, I am here to tell you. If we are to believe science - which we should because it is hosted by Bill Nye, and sometimes even Alan Alda, such as in those videos they showed in my psychology class - M&M dreams fall into the following categories:
- Dreams that actually revolve around M&Ms, obviously.
- Dreams that revolve around your most intensely, hotly desired sexual fantasies, and that possibly also involve M&Ms. At least we would not rule it out.
- Dreams where you get to run around inside Dylan's Candy Bar at night and they also sell things like personal space shuttles and elephants.
- Dreams where you get to be in your favorite movie, unless of course your favorite movie is something from the Lifetime channel, in which case, you actually do not deserve to have good dreams.
- Dreams where you get a fantastically inspired story idea, wake from it, frantically write it down, and then realize in the morning that what you've written amounts to "Florna floob hoo ha then they drive a car fwoo fwoo goobleknob Des Moines ha ha ha glurb Mavis glurb glurb sea turtle pilaf." I actually do have some experience with this one.
- Dreams that involve beloved deceased family members, unless of course you do not have beloved deceased family members, in which case dreams that involve horrible detested deceased family members such as your racist sexist arsonist lecherous pervert serial trout-molester Uncle Bob, at whom you get to fling cat-box deposits. Because if dreams are not heartwarming, they should at least be therapeutic.
- Dreams that revolve around M&Ms in colors that don't even exist.
But for the most part, we dreamers of the universe are not nearly so fortunate. It is as though we have forgotten to pay for our premium upgrade,** and instead we dream about vacuuming our floor, or checking our Facebook messages, or picking our teeth. If we get really lucky, we might even dream about vacuuming our teeth with our Facebook messages. But we never dream about anything good! Or at least - and I think we can all agree that this is the real problem facing us as a species - I never dream about anything good. That's why the federal government, if they are listening, should give me a generous grant to develop that dream-shuffling playlist. So much of waking life would be so much less aggravating for the knowledge that, in the night to come, we would be able to "switch it up" as needed between REM and deep sleep. It would be okay if some of the dreams didn't totally make sense - that's the price you pay for a jumbling mechanism. But at least dreams should have some entertainment value. I would even be willing for there to be infomercial segments between them, but seriously: they should be entertainment. Alan Alda could be the host.
But until the government gets behind me on this, I guess we're going to have to accept our natural, underevolved dream mechanisms as they are. All I can say is, enjoy what you can of your dreams. Also, for God's sake don't have dreams in France. It's not worth the paper-pushing hell that will follow. The government is never in their offices, but they still know every little thing you do.
* Please enjoy this handy footnote to remind you that dreams were our original topic.
** As a result of which we would get the Disney Channel, HBO and Showtime.