Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Zoom asked at her blog the other day, what did you believe when you were a little kid? I can't remember anything I "believed" that wasn't supported by evidence. Of course, I am pretty sure my parents never told us stuff that wasn't true, except maybe for Santa Claus and even then, I was like that kid in "Miracle on 34th Street". Even though I had read stories where there were monsters under the bed or that the kids in the stories believed there were monsters, I never thought there were because, 1) there are no monsters ("Aliens" notwithstanding), and 2) I always found an explanation for the mysterious or unknown. And I don't think this sounds like a dull childhood at all! Why is a childhood where you believe in things that don't exist more exciting than mine?

At any rate, I was reading this book recently where the guy reiterates that most people dream in black and white and it made me think of my dream world. I remember my dreams all the time, several times a night in fact, if I wake up during them. They are in Technicolor, I can feel things, smell things, hear things. All my senses are involved. And while the stories that play out are inevitably very odd, they have an internal logic. When I was very young (I guess I start remembering this at about the age of 5), I had a recurring nightmare. It was the same thing every time and lasted into my 20s. After I got control of this nightmare (and you CAN control your dreams) in my late teens, I understood it to come from stress and then I could get rid of it at will.

It always happened while I was falling asleep, in that brief time after you close your eyes and start to nod off. I would see a pale ochre coloured field. It was like a sheet or a canvas. I was IN the dream and the object of the dream but I couldn't see myself because it was happening to me. The canvas would start to crumple around the edges and the crumpled or wrinkled portions of the canvas were constricting on me. As the wrinkles got closer to me, a weight descended on me, making every square inch of my skin seem to weigh a pound or more. At this point, I could even wake up and yet I would still feel the weight. I remember one time in particular that my mother came in to help me. Usually I had the nightmare and woke up and got over it. This time, I think I was about 7 and I woke up and turned on the light which woke my sister up (we shared a room) and I was still in the grip of this weighty feeling. The light and us talking brought Mum in and she sat with me until the feeling went away. Along with the incredibly vivid and realistic dreams I had of flying, you can see why I had no need of imaginary monsters under the bed.

I am also a very literal person. Oh, I get metaphors and understand analogies but sometimes I have to be made aware that a person is using one. Likewise with puns. As a child, I didn't get a lot of jokes right away because I could only see their literal meaning. A person in a joke is trying to explain what leather is, that it is also called "hide". The explainee doesn't get it and the explainer says, "hide, hide! the cow's outside" and the explainee says what I would have said, "why should I? I'm not afraid of a cow." ba-da-boom. Weirdly enough, Zoom had some "guy walks into the bar" jokes on her blog comments the other day and she wrote one in there herself where Descartes says "I think they're for 1 a.m." and I STILL thought it said "I think they are for one o'clock on the morning" until Peter explained it to me. Yikes.

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Anonymous zoom said...

The Descartes joke was admittedly a little obscure...and it would never work as an oral joke, it has to be read. It's a written double-intendre. ;)

I too was a very literal child, and I still tend to be that way. I follow instructions literally, even when more flexible people can see that what was intended was not clearly written, and therefore some creative interpretation is in order.

9:54 a.m., April 29, 2008  
Blogger JuliaR said...

I liked the joke but it took a while! As long as we're always learning and growing, that's the main thing.

11:01 a.m., April 30, 2008  

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