Today on The Daily Post: Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?
Funny you should ask that. I had a nightmare just last week, one that recurs with disturbing frequency, but with no perceivable pattern. In this nightmare, I am always on the ground, although the locations are never the same, and I look up at the sky to see a jumbo jet (sorry, I don’t know my jets well enough to say 747, 767, 777) in obvious distress. Sometimes the plane fights to gain altitude before nose-diving, and sometimes any attempt at recovery has already been abandoned and the jet is headed full speed for its disastrous rendezvous with the earth. The people (if there are any) near me on the ground when I spot the falling plane are almost always strangers and rarely do they show what I would deem an appropriate level of concern about the impending disaster; only once was my husband nearby, and on that occasion I lost him in the confusion. Only sometimes can I hear the plane’s engines as it drops out of the sky, but when I do, it is a fearful screaming noise that haunts me for days afterwards. Almost always, I have to run to escape being struck either by the plane itself or by debris hurled from the epicenter of the impact. Without fail, I wake up before seeing the wreckage; I’ve never witnessed mangled corpses or dazed survivors stumbling from a burning debris field.
In last week’s version of this nightmare, I watched from an unfamiliar porch as a large silver jet with engines howling like banshees cruised over the treetops then struggled valiantly to regain altitude. For a moment, it looked like the pilot was going to be successful, pushing the plane sharply skyward a couple thousand feet, but suddenly there was a large-scale champagne cork-type explosion about where the boarding door of the plane would be. Seconds later, I watched as shimmery silver raindrops hurtled toward earth, growing larger and larger, until I could discern that they were cans of Diet Coke travelling at terminal velocity. As I ran for cover from the shower of deadly missiles, the plane, obviously defeated by the explosion of the beverage cart, reached the crest of its climb and began to free fall. When I awoke, sweating and panting, a number of unsuspecting bystanders had been killed by the savage storm of twelve-ounce aluminum cans, but, as always, I did not know the fate of the passengers or crew of the downed jet.
I am never consciously aware of feeling particularly stressed out when this nightmare rears its ugly head (although I am definitely sapped and on edge for a few days afterward). Online dream interpretation guides suggest that visions of plane crashes, assuming they are not precognitive, signify that I have set unrealistically high goals or expectations for myself, and that I am doomed to crash and burn in my attempts to achieve them. I do have some ambitious goals (and some even more ambitious timelines for reaching them), and I always have high expectations of myself, but I don’t believe they are beyond my capabilities or I wouldn’t set them. Maybe my subconscious believes otherwise, and is trying to get me to scale back. Then I fear I’d consciously feel like a slacker, and thereby subject myself to whatever nightmare haunts chronic underachievers.