night brain and i have an understanding: night brain provides the entertainment and i go along for the ride, rarely scream (except with glee) and for days afterward i ponder the weirdness that takes place in my head when i sleep. night brain enjoys the attention; i relish the fun. even the stuff of nightmares becomes entertainment in the deft hands of night brain. here i am, someone who refuses to watch horror movies because i don't like to be scared, yet in my night brain universe i joyfully leap into abandoned warehouses, chase (or get chased by) deranged killers, stalk danger and spit in the eye of menace. if anything, my nightmares are usually* of an emotional nature - loss, sadness, betrayal - these are the things that make me wake up shaken, and it really doesn't happen all that often.
the thing that boggles my mind (day brain) is how aware i have always been of the landscape of my dreams. i know which path will take me where, i know exactly which street to take to end up in the marketplace that shows up again and again in night brain's productions. i remember the map of my dreamscapes years into the past (while i forget the name of people i met 3 weeks ago, heaven help me). i love this. i love being able to think about my dreams and have a mental GPS of that most unreal of places. overall, i enjoy my dreams: they are detailed, sensory, exciting and engaging.
imagine my surprise then when several nights ago i fell into a dream that was clearly intended for someone else. all the symbolic shorthand was wrong; the feeling of familiarity clearly a poorly executed copy-and-paste job; the characters fumbled their lines with an evident lack of motivation, failing to elicit any emotional response other than a feeling of wrongness, and not the right kind of wrongness. the couple who were supposed to be old friends of my parents were complete strangers, and while the dreamworld rarely plays by the rules of reality, this felt off. it felt like accidentally putting on a pair of shoes that belong to someone else - worn in, but in all the wrong places. worst of all, the place was not on my map. it was not on any map that my own maps referenced. it was dead wrong.
i shouldn't really hold it against night brain - day brain having been so addled lately, it is hardly surprising that the effects would trickle down to the lower regions of consciousness, but man, when you can't trust the landscape of your dreams, what in the whole of fuck can you trust?
*barring the years of dental nightmares which i left in the unclaimed luggage department of the past and walked away from, never looking back.