Dream Locations

Monday June 14, 2010 @ 11:03 PM (UTC)

I recently visited the Kennedy School McMenamin’s for the first time, and upon driving into the parking lot, was a little disturbed. Despite being quite certain I’d never been there — and despite its being a glorious summer afternoon — I remembered being there in a dim twilight, issuing out of the double doors and milling in half-reluctant revelry with familiar strangers. In short, I’d dreamed about a place that looked quite like it.

Usually my dreams take place in locales I have actually visited, but I find they often are set in the same places, over and over. There was a house of a casual schoolfriend that appeared often — this confused me until I realized it shared a layout with at least six other houses visited in my suburban childhood. I also have the odd dream set in the house where I grew up — we lived there 12 years, after all. One thing I notice about indoor dreams is the presence of stairways. The dream-images of my childhood house are of the basement stairs, or the kitchen nook between them and the upstairs flight. That friend’s house, the oft-repeated house with the familiar layout? A split-level. I’m usually coming in the front door.

Almost every dream I’ve had set in my high school, too, during and after my stay, was set in the great hall or the two stairwells that bracketed it — going up to a mezzanine, down to a basement. Small surprise, then, that after over a month’s cumulative substitute-teaching in that remodeled school, I still occasionally head for a stairway that isn’t there.

What locales recur in your dreams?


I have a few recurring dream locales. One of them is this small town that is a conglomerate of a few places I’ve lived plus some new (if such a thing is possible for the brain) content from my imagination. My dreams frequently involve driving (although two nights ago I was chased by, in order: a bear, a witch, and David Boreanaz), and I drive around familiar highways, up familiar hills, etc. Then there’s a claustrophobic nightmare basement in an old house (that is based on one I lived in while I was in fifth grade). Other themes stand out, but most of them are difficult to describe. My dreams are marked more by mood and abstraction than concrete, physical places, people, or plots. It’s always interesting to think and talk about.

Your dreams have a stair fetish too? My dreams have frequently featured stairs for as long as I can remember. Usually scary, poorly constructed stairs, with mismatched treads, missing sections, tilted, or otherwise dangerous. I think the moving stairways in Hogwarts are straight out of my dreams. The theme also extends to malfunctioning elevators and escalators.

I also have had at least three dreams set in a shopping mall I’m pretty sure I’ve never been in.

(Emily, your chase sequence is hilarious!)

I don’t repeat locations in dreams, that I’m aware of. I’m frequently back in college, high school, or simply back in a bad past relationship, but the campus is different every time.

Emily — I’m not very good at driving in dreams. Usually when I’m driving, it’s so I can go into tunnel vision but be unable to brake. Whee! Of course, with the tunnel vision, hard to say whether the roads are familiar :P

T — Aha! So I’m not the only one! My stairs are normally pretty sturdy, though I’m often not trying to go up or down, just hanging out.

Sis — I’d have to think about it a while to figure out where my classroom (wait, I’ve been signed up for this class all semester?) dreams are set. I think they’re in a familiar building at Case, though.

My favorite dream, and one of the few that recur, is of flying over green fields and up into mountains over snow. I am a horse and the effort of flying is glorious.

The other one has to do with school. It’s the one about the test in school, forgetting to attend a class in college, and now as a teacher, I’m teaching physics or the Boer War… subjects about which I have only the slightest knowledge. And I am spewing out nonsense and the students are rapt, taking notes and hanging on every word in a way that real students never do. And I realize that they will all go through the rest of their lives having learned nonsense from me… chilling.

And the reason the Kennedy School feels familiar? Forest Grove… think.

The flying one sounds lovely. I very seldom get to fly in dreams: usually just in lucid ones, or occasionally with mechanical means. And your inverted version of the class you didn’t realize you were registered for is hilarious :P

But I must strenuously object to the idea that the Kennedy School’s seeming familiar comes from the Grand Lodge. I was outside, still! No painting or decoration involved, just the shape of the building, which is quite different from the Grand Lodge, especially on that side.

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