Friday, April 17, 2009

Dream House

The most bizarre recurring dream I've ever had was about my old house in Bordeaux.

In real life I loved that house. It was an old stone townhouse that was right in town. It was on a quiet residential street, but the whole walkable downtown area was just a few blocks away. It was relatively large -- not by American standards, but it was two stories, plus a partially-finished attic for guests. And it was "healthy" in the sense that the basement was dry and the wooden framework holding up the floors was solid. But...

Superficially, everything was in poor condition. The house was more than 100 years old, and looked it. When we first moved in, we had to replace all of the electrical wiring, all of the plumbing (the pipes were lead), and the roof. We had no money left over to fix up the rest.

Everything was old and a little bit broken, like the drafty windows from the pre-saftey glass, pre-standardized-window-sizes era and the hardwood floors that gave us splinters. It would have been the ideal house for someone with a passion for "DIY" (or at least someone not already overburdened by toddlers + working full-time), but we had neither the time nor the abilities to fix it up. So my beloved house was a constant source of stress.

And that's how it entered my dreams.

In dream world, the house was in poorer condition, with holes in the roof that let in weather and weak spots in the floor for people to fall through. But it was also a lot bigger, and full of strange secret passages. It had whole apartments (that we didn't use) hidden beyond secret panels.

But the weird part was the house in the back yard. Our real-life city yard was about the same size as the footprint of the house itself. But in dream world, the house had a huge back yard, and in the back yard was an even bigger and older house.

The backyard house was five stories tall and practically in ruins. Since it hadn't been officially used in decades, who knows what had unofficially taken up residence? Some of the rooms had dead bodies hidden away in them. I wouldn't dream of trying to fix up the backyard house -- I was terrified to go in it. Yet, that's not what was weird about it.

What was weird was that the backyard house was always there, even though it didn't exist in real life. It was a regular fixture of my dream universe, as though dream world were a consistent, warped universe, not just a random walk through making-it-up-as-you-go-along.

Is your dream universe like that?


Holly said...

fascinating. I love dreams and have had times in my life when my dreams were really vivid and full. A favorite was one where I figured out that my mom was an alien, and when I asked her what part of the universe she was from, she pulled out a holographic map of the universe and it exploded into dancing blue elephants.

I have pursued various sorts of dream interpretation, with more or less interesting results. Just so you know--and I am not suggesting that this is applicable, because I believe that sometimes a house is just a house--there is a school of dream thought in which a house is always a metaphor for the dreamer's self.

Right now my dreams are not very memorable, which disappoints me. I like it when interesting things happen to me even when I'm asleep.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Holly!!!

I love vivid dreams like that too! That's cool that your mom's a alien. ;^)

In this case, I think the house really was just a symbol of itself, and of the constant stress I felt about wanting to fix it up but not having the abilities or resources to do so.

But for dreams in general, I feel like my problem is not having the time to get up slowly and remember my dreams. So often I wake up with the idea that I was having a cool dream, but I have to get ready for work, so I can't take the time to try to remember what it was.

For about a year and a half (before Nico was born and when he was a tiny baby) I kept a dream diary. At that time I worked from home, hence never had to jump up and get ready for work. I hope that one day I can do it again.

Here's the last entry, dated July 24, 2002:

Lisa Simpson's head (which had been shaved so that it looked stubbly) went to visit heaven and saw a number of people there, including my husband's thesis advisor [ed note: he's not dead].

Then her head went to hell to visit a Native American baseball team that was there. But the team started harassing her and throwing things at her as she floated above them, and she narrowly escaped through the sky-light. Later some kids found her head in a snow-bank, only it was the head of a duck.

Then Marge and Homer went to hell, and as they went through the cellar-door to hell they noticed that there was no handle on the inside of the door, so Marge got worried and broke the door so they could escape. She was worried it might be dangerous to go into hell after what happened to Lisa. But Homer insisted that they went to hell every Friday night to play cards with the Hibberts', and they'd better hurry before the bar closes. So they went.

Marge won as usual -- this time by being the first to cry "attic" and then showing her hand. She had an exceptional hand containing the kings and queens of a particular category of countries.

Anonymous said...

a place for anyone to vent about mormons

Aerin said...

Thanks for sharing - dreams can be odd, can't they? Aside from dreaming about work being an indication of stress for me (or dreaming about waitressing or being in high school), I got nothing.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I also have a reoccurring dream about an old house. It doesn’t really remind me of any houses we lived in though, but it is huge and has lots of secret/strange passages. It is always dark & everything is brown in the dream. I guess it is like a maze dream where I get lost and can't find my way out.

I wonder what dream interpreters would say about that.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Aerin!!!

That's too bad -- weird dreams can be fun!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Freckle Face Girl!!!

Yeah, it's true that it probably is a standard dream type. I know that it's actually a type of dream that I have a lot, and not usually about this particular house: being trapped in or exploring a huge, elaborate maze-like building.

I had one recently where I was attending a conference at the top of an extremely tall building, but one that was so old that the elevator was too slow and inefficient to do more than a couple of runs per day (the buliding was built for a "World's Fair" from long ago or something like that). And so the conference participants just stayed up in the upper floors (something like a conference center, including a little convenience store) for the whole week...