Thursday, October 28, 2010

Didn't Need This

We were on short final, in the kind of inky black you get when the starlight from a moonless sky has long since lost its way in dense cloud.

Suddenly we break out of the weather, and I see the runway a mile to our left, and ocean just as black as the cloud we had only just left right in front of us.

I started yelling, which is distinguishable from screaming only by the adjacent bass clef.

Then, with only a few seconds to live I decided to shut up and die like a man. Resignation and terror make an interesting combination.

The impact wasn't what I expected. We didn't hit the surface of the water so much slip through it, the black turning into cobalt blue as it surrounded the cockpit.

Which, of course, is the instant I woke up, heart pounding, adrenaline oozing from every pore, momentarily surprised that I was not both very wet and very dead.

We all dream, a phenomena odd enough in and of itself. Recurrent dreams are weirder still. Being somewhere public without clothes on and wrong place or wrong time for an exam seem to be two pretty common themes among those for whom being clothed and passing tests are important.

To those I add dreams about airplane crashes, which started years before I became a pilot, and have continued at about one a month ever since without one of them answering the fundamental question: what's the point?

Having never had one that killed me before, I can say one thing for sure. I don't need another.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

When I was a little boy, starting at maybe 4 or 5, I had the same dream every time I would get feverish from flu or a cold, measles or whatnot.

The dream came shortly before I knew I was sick, although later I knew when I had the dream I would be sick within a few hours.

That dream stopped when I was around 13, although I still remember it vividly.

You're right. The dream seemed to have no function, but I can see how a person would start creating functions for it be answering.

October 28, 2010 7:11 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Yikes, Skip. Nasty stuff.

I used to have recurring death dreams as a kid (one in which I was shot at point blank range in the head, and one in which Noseybonk ran me over in a steamroller) but haven't since apart from a brief spate of horrifically graphic nightmares about zombies. (These last I put down to the consumption of vodka.)

November 01, 2010 2:25 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

There were two things that made this one particularly bad:

When I woke up, I was in a plane (thankfully, my only company was boxes, none of which were from Yemen.) I'm sure the background noise added to the dream's realism.

Which is the second thing. It was so realistic that it amounted to a real experience. I now know exactly what one version (sudden death with a little warning) of the end of my brief chasm of light between two eternities of darkness will be like.

That dream reality, of course, could lead people to read far more into them than they can really hold. Freud and mystics, for instance.

November 01, 2010 10:28 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

That's always been a problem for me. I frequently have dreams that are so utterly realistic and prosaic that it can be hard to remember it was just a dream.

November 02, 2010 6:08 AM  
Blogger erp said...

I also have frequent dreams which take place in the same barely familiar location where nothing much happens. They're very realistic and when I wake up, I have to remember that I wasn't really there. Really weird.

Maybe Skipper's dreams are so exciting and scary because he spends a lot of time in exciting and scary situations.

November 02, 2010 10:55 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

When I woke up, I was in a plane...

Not flying it, I hope.

When Brit Jnr was a few days old both Mrs B and I suffered appallingly vivid semi-wakeful hallucinations about failing in our protective duties. This must be common in first-time parents but it was a glimpse of the horrors of mental illness.

November 03, 2010 2:53 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

No -- I was in the back commuting from Anchorage to Memphis.

This must be common in first-time parents but it was a glimpse of the horrors of mental illness.

I have a theory (the sort of thing about which ignorants are so fond, and tend to confuse with fact) about this.

However it works, there is clearly some barrier when we sleep that, aside from the odd vocalization or small movements, isolates the dream from our physical selves.

It is also worth noting that what we consider experiencing the moment is really the continuous compilation of newest memories.

In that sense, dreams are no different than reality.

I had a step brother who was schizophrenic. His behavior seems best explained by the absence of the brain barrier between dream memory and reality memory.

Which is not so suggest that AOG is schizophrenic.

I suffered appallingly vivid semi-wakeful hallucinations about failing in our protective duties.

As did I; typically about somehow losing my daughter in a crowd.

Thankfully, it has been years.


I had trouble getting to sleep last night, which I put down to a sudden fear of meeting Noseybonk.

November 03, 2010 1:43 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

a sudden fear of meeting Noseybonk.

Well if the development of the internet has acheived nothing else, it has enabled the obscure childhood terrors of British thirtysomethings to spread across the Atlantic...

November 04, 2010 4:03 AM  

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