Friday, March 02, 2012

Pant-less at the podium

Most of us have recurring nightmares, don't we?

Love Chunks has one where he's on the toilet, pants around his ankles, busy daydreaming as he waits to drop a couple of Andrew Bolts off at a the pool.

Then, he looks up and notices that he's in the middle of a street. Adelaide's Rundle Mall, to be precise. Right by the silver balls. Shoppers are walking past; fully clothed, and he's there with the sides of his arse on display.

Sapphire has one where she's floating peacefully down a river, until it eventually becomes less peaceful and out of control. She normally then wakes up and throws up - it's her 'Yep, you're sick; you're really sick' nightmare.

Mum has one too. She's on a bushwalk with Dad, and steps off the national park path to pull down the knickers and have a quick splash on the stones.

Lo and behold, a bus load of Japanese tourists come trooping around the bend on the lower path, getting a white mooned greeting from a seventy year old. When she woke up ---- hang on, that actually happened to her, it wasn't a dream, true story.

As for me, there are two that crop up time and time again and have been doing so since my early twenties. The first is based on a real life event - being late for an exam.

Exam stress is a common dream to have and is quite literally every student's nightmare. They usually concern sleeping in and missing the exam, not being early for the exam but unable to get to the final destination due to being stuck in traffic.

In 1987, Adelaide still had the Grand Prix. The very first one in 1985 was held on my birthday and as I heard the whining sounds of fast cars being televised in the pool room at the other end of the house, I sat in my bedroom studying for my matriculation English exam the following day.

For the next few years, I realised that having a birthday in early November invariably meant being locked in my room, re-reading illegible lecture notes and goofing off by painting my toe nails.

Back to November 1987. I was in second year uni and Dad was driving me from Murray Bridge to Adelaide Uni for my 'Pre-Scientific World View of History' exam. Yeah, second year Arts was not exactly focussing on career-specific topics, but in terms of reading, research and essay writing, knowing the details of Paracelsus, the four humours of the body and lingering beliefs in witchcraft was all my brain was filled with at that point.

Until we hit Pulteney Street. "Grand Prix traffic, I reckon," Dad said, peering over the steering wheel at the long, l-o-n-g line of cars going nowhere.

Fifteen minutes of no moving, my left leg began to jiggle. "It's OK, kiddo, we'll get there," Dad said, looking straight into the 'If you see this, then I've lost the bloody caravan' bumper sticker of the car in front of him. Also not moving.

Half an hour later, I tapped at my watch. "Dad, they'll open the doors in fifteen minutes time and I don't think----"

"It'll move, Cackles.
* It has to."

Forty minutes later and I had my first, grown up experience of cold sweat pooling in my arm pits.

"Calm yourself, Kath. Take a few deep breaths, you'll get there on time."

A further five minutes had me squirming on the seat. "Dad, I know you mean well, but I have to run for it. Now."

"But Pulteney Street's about two kilometres long - do you want to arrive all puffed out, stressed and sweaty?

"I already am, Dad."

He nodded, in what we all know is the universal sign for Fair Enough. I pushed open the passenger door, grabbed my back pack and legged it, blonde spiral perm flowing like windblown pot noodles behind me.

My dunlop volleys started to eat at my ankles. They were made for lounging in; being crossed under desks, not running wildly. I kept on.

My jeans rubbed around my middle and the crotch got hotter and damper. I kept on.

My backpack kept wheeling from shoulder to shoulder, banging the lower part of my bag and causing my t-shirt to ride up like a crop top. I kept on.

The hallowed spire of Bonython Hall was finally in sight. Yesssss! Daggy old Flentje theatre was in nuffy old Napier next door. I clattered precariously down the steps, trying hard not to think of the consequences of slipping and smashing my face, hooned like a nervous dog on floor tiles to the right and flung the doors open with a mighty CLANG as they bashed against the wall and back again, almost pushing me over.

Sweat was running into my ear cavities as I wheezed for air and tried to stop a bunch of weird little white spots obscuring my vision.

Seventy students, all seated and all reading the exam questions, turned in their seats to stare at me.

"Hough hough, the traffic ------  Hough hough Grand Prix ------ Hough hough left my dad ------  Hough hough ran like hell------" a drop of sweat flew off my hand towards the exam moderator who was, mercifully, also my tutor. I bent double to try and regain my breath, wet hair now slicked to my face.

Seats creaked in unison as the students went back to their papers.

"Sit down over here," she whispered kindly. "I can give you ten minutes extra if you like."

I thanked her and sat down, ignoring the wet-pants feeling of my bum on the vinyl chair. My Darth Vader Hough hough  puffs eventually subsided. The white spots faded to nothing and there was still a dry spot on the top of my legs to wipe my palms down before picking up the pencil.

"Time," the examiner called. I had finished with the others after all.

Dad was waiting for me outside, looking very concerned. "How did you go?"

I hobbled over towards his outstretched arms; blisters now evident, body all BO-ey and generally exhausted.  "Pretty well I think, Dad. At least I lived this one instead of dreamt about it."

This real life event still does replay in my dreams, but only occasionally.  My more common recurring nightmare is not about the almost-missed exam; it's about getting up to make a speech in front of a large, expectant audience. The spotlight is in my eyes and, as I clear my throat and lean forward into the microphone to start, I feel a coolish breeze.

Yep, I'm naked from the waist down.

* Cackles, thought of by Dad because I laughed a lot as a teenager. "Still, it's better than being called plain old 'Cack'," he pointed out.


River said...

Thank goodness I've never had the pantsless dream!
I usually dream that I'm out somewhere talking or eating and all my teeth start falling out.
So glad you made it to the exam in time.
I never realised Pulteney Street was that long. Of course, I've only walked it, no running for me.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

The dream I've had, similar to LC, is being sat on the throne in a cubicle in a public loo - and then realising there's no door and people are outside staring at me.

Mildly disconcerting - but I'm glad I'm not alone.




Kath said...

River, Pulteney Street - from South Terrace to North Terrace is very, very long. I don't recommend that you run it in bad shoes, tight jeans and/or a backpack....

PlasMan, I think the 'pooing in public' is as common as my being without pants during a presentation. In *dreams* I mean, not in reality....

Pandora Behr said...

What cool dreams - maybe I could borrow for dream group as I'm struggling to remember a dream at the moment - but as dreams go, they seem pretty cool.

Well done on making that exam - I remember those days - Bonython Hall was dreadful! And like you, I got exams on my birthday - but I copped the mid-terms. Two in one day in my third year.

Pandora Behr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Twenty five years later the Grand Prix is still causing traffic delays, except in Melbourne and not Adelaide. It is on in a couple of weeks and the set up is well underway with roads closed. I am bad at remembering dreams.

drb said...

You can interpret your dream on this website:

The Elephant's Child said...

What a nightmare. For you and your mum in the real life incarnations. I only have one nightmare (had it since I was eight or nine). I am in my bedroom at my parent's place. I can hear the wolf padding down the hall. It pushes open the door. The entire dream in in black and white except for the wolf's lolling tongue. These days I mostly dream conversations. No images, just words. If I have a nightmare it is always the wolf dream though.

Cat J B said...

When I was a kid, I had a dream that the cartoon big bad wolf was chasing me round and round on the lawn. I refused to go out a feed the cooks on my own after that, drove my mum mad. I told her many years later, and she said if I had told her then, she would have a had a little more sympathy.

Had my share of losing teeth dreams too, flying dreams would be my favourite.

Fenstar de Luxe said...

ooh I feel all queer now after reading your running to exam story!

I have violent dreams at night if I eat cheese for dinner. They're always gory and gross and quite full on. Bring on the cheese!

diane b said...

Well told story about being late for an exam.

I've had the toilet dream. Always looking for a toilet with a door, or even a toilet bowl, or one that is clean and not overflowing, or one that is not too high to climb onto.

Another anxiety dream is I'm running late for the train, plane or ship. I can't find my bag or I have forgotten to pack my clothes and the train is leaving.

Red Nomad OZ said...

HHHMMMmmm... wonder what it says about me that I've had versions of ALL those dreams!!

B Smith said...

With the right funding, LC could turn his dream into a Festival of Arts performance piece (as long as he pushes the "Direct from Switzerland" angle)

Wally The Walrus said...

Oh great - your late for exam tale is very similar to my late-for-business-flight in September 2011. I made the flight, but only because it was running late.

Imagine me arriving at the gate with no boarding pass- rushing over to the service counter and huffing:

"(gasp) I'm (huff) on that (wheeze) flight just (huff) there got (gasp) no board (wheeze) pass (gasp) please (gasp) help!"

The chap very calmly gave me a boarding pass, and by the time we were half way to Melbourne my breathing had finally returned to normal. (It is of course a much longer story than this).

This has now become legend around the office, and I'll never, ever, live it down.

As for recurring dreams - mine involve flying - me doing the flying, by waving my arms. It's always restful. I don't have recurring nightmares, Just plain boring ole nightmares that lead me to wake up with a start, thinking "oh heck I'm glad thats not real".

Kath said...

Pandora, I never had one fall on my birthday but to have two ---- sucks butt big time, so my sympathies are with you.

I usually useless at remembering dreams too Andrew, but the two recurring ones, well, recur, so they're easier to recall :P

drb, I've had a quick squizz and haven't yet found one on 'missing exams'.

Wolves, E-Child? I guess a lot of fairy tales we were told as children featured a few, didn't they?

Same with you, CatJB. I wish I'd have a flying dream; it's never visited me (that I can remember) once.

Fenstar, I'll have to try the cheese thing but it's always chocolate that's my snack of choice late at night :)

Thanks diane_b - I have that toilet/anxiety dream sometimes too.

It says, RedNomadOz, that you are a busy and vibrant person and your brain has a lot of 'filing' to do at night!

B Smith, you're right. Add in a Fratman character to spot him on the bog first and we'll get a year of funding!

Wally, that's awful - thankfully I've never had the airport experience but not-so-thankfully I've never had the peaceful flying one either. :(

drb said...

Search for themes, not specific details:
If you dreamed of being late, it's your conscience telling you to refrain from making promises you can't keep; if your dream featured others being late, it's a warning that you need to curb your extravagance to avoid financial difficulties.

Bowel Movement:
The more embarrassing the situation was in the dream, the better is its omen. If it occurred in bed, it signifies coming abundance; if in public, the forecast is of great financial success. To observe feces on the street or step in them is an omen of sudden money luck.

Kath said...

Thanks drb - makes you realise that what we'd consider 'gross' in real life can be pretty good in our subconscious!

drb said...

Yes, subconscious speaks a totlly different language. The website is quite accurate. For example, I dreamt that the face of my boss's wife was blown off by machine guns outside her car.

If you dreamed of killing someone, whether intentionally or by accident, it signifies a period of severe emotional stress during which you must make a heroic effort to control your temper. To dream of being a witness to a killing portends a change that will not be entirely to your liking.

Then within a week, my boss was behaving strangely, and we were al perplexed. After a few weeks, then he revealed that he was kicked out of the house and getting a divorce. That meant we may all lose our jobs as he started to look for work back in USA.

drb said...

Boss's wife is aussie, he moved here to marry her.

Jackie K said...

Man, I was getting quite jiggly and stressed out myself reading that! Brings back exam stress from uni days...
My recurring "exposed" dreams are (1) I decide to go out naked and then realise when I'm out in public it wasnt a good idea, (2) I go out and leave the kids at home on their own and decide once I'm at the shops, miles away, that I shouldn't have, and I panic, (3) this is the weird one: I have lots of dreams where I'm somewhere public like a camp ground, school, event, whatever, and need to go to the loo, but the toilets are all disgusting - I mean really really disgusting, Trainspotting disgusting. It's very distressing in my dream and I have these a lot!

drb said...

Sorry Kath, didn't mean to hijack your blog. Jackie K, if you have recurring dream of very disgusting toilet and you can't go, it means that you need to talk to someone (a councellor maybe) SOON about things that are bothering you.

Dr. B

Jackie K said...

Wow - thanks drb - I think...
I gotta clean out that subconscious it seems!

Kath said...

No worries, drb!

...and to think, JackieK, you've got some serious pondering to do about your dreams! :)

Louise said...

I still get the late to exams nightmare (15 years after actually taking any exams). Actually there are many variants, late for something, trying to get help and running about looking for it. On those nights I actually wake up more tired than when I went to bed. I now consider them my stress dreams. The theme is overwhelmingly the same.

ropcorn said...

Love the photo of Milly and the other doggy. :p