Saturday, I woke up laughing. I had a dream that one night, the neighbors noticed a light flashing on and off in the back yard of an otherwise dark house across the street and called the police. It turned out that the homeowners had succumbed to a spontaneous moment of passion in front of a yard light that was controlled by a motion detector. In the dream, I was relating this anecdote to Alan Rickman, who was trying somewhat unsuccessfully to keep a straight face. Fans of the Harry Potter films will recall that Rickman, who portrayed Professor Snape, can not only drip venom with aplomb, but can enunciate quite clearly through gritted teeth.
Sunday morning, however, I awoke in outrage from a dream of a very different character. It was set in a poor Muslim country, probably Afghanistan, in a rural town that had suffered an earthquake. A group of men from the town were beating a woman. Another man happened on the scene and fired his rifle up into the air to get the men’s attention and make them stop. He demanded to know why they were attacking this woman. The men accused her of being “a harlot.” Although she was wearing a hijab and a long-sleeved tunic, they said she was immodestly dressed, because she was not wearing a burqua, andwas wearing slacks. They maintained that only a harlot would be dressed that way and be out walking the streets by herself. The man then angrily told them that this “harlot” they’ve taken upon themselves to beat to death, was a doctor from Medina who volunteered to come to give medical help to the villagers, and that she had spent the last 36 hours treating the women and children who had been injured in the earthquake. “And this is how you repay her?! Allah sends you an angel of mercy and you stone her in the street because you don’t like the way she’s dressed!” He helps the woman to her feet, shows them her battered and bleeding hand, and says, “Not ten minutes ago, this hand saved a child from bleeding to death, and look what you have done to it.” He tells them that while they are roaming the streets making sure everyone is dressed properly, there are hundreds of boxes of food, bottled water and medicine sitting on trucks waiting to be unloaded, stacks of tents that need setting up so that those whose homes have been destroyed will have shelter from the weather. There are bodies that need to be recovered from the ruins and given a decent burial. One of the men scornfully remarked that the disaster relief supplies were from “infidels.” The man was now furious. “Oh, now you’ve decided that those of your fellow villagers who don’t die of their injuries due to lack of medical treatment are to be left to starve to death because you’ve decided you don’t like where these truckloads of food and medicine came from? Who gave you the right to decide who lives and who dies? Let God be as compassionate and merciful to you as you are being to your own friends and relatives, and to this woman who came here to help you.” He turned his back on them and began helping the woman back to the makeshift hospital, which was just around the corner. And that’s when I woke up, as furious as the “hero” of the dream.
Both dreams were very vivid. I keep a pad and pencil in my nightstand to scribble down the ones worth remembering. I’ve been working pretty much all day for the past week typing for this jive outfit I work for. My dental insurance premium went up $20, and at $0.50/£0.31/€0.37 per typed minute of dictation (I’m not all that fast a typist so depending on how difficult the dictation is, I average anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes of dictation per hour), that means I’m going to have to do a heck of a lot of typing to come up with the $172/£108/€127 premium that’s due this month, in addition to my electric bill that’s due Thursday, so my hands are pretty much aching all the time. It takes two caplets (1300 mg) of time-release acetaminophen (paracetamol) to get me through the night. I’ve noticed that when I take acetaminophen at bedtime, my dreams are more vivid than usual. Sometimes my dreams are fragmented and kaleidoscopic, but then sometimes, like yesterday and today, I have coherent dreams that have a plot and characters, etc., like little minimovies.