Dream baby

Sure, I recall my dreams most mornings, as they are usually quite vivid, and not infrequently amusing, but I usually refrain from sharing them here.  I’m really on a roll this week, though, as I’ve already had two dreams that have made me laugh when I recalled them, and it’s only Tuesday! So I thought I’d share, as I know if there’s anything we all need to hear more of, it’s other people’s dreams.

Excellent. With that in mind, here they are.

The first is short and sharp. In this dream, a few nights ago, the actor Alan Rickman, in character as a kind of evil mixture of the Sheriff of Nottingham and Snape,  but in modern-day (or “Muggle”) garb, rudely confiscated my phone, (I can not recall why) but then with a sneer, from the seat of the sports car he was suddenly driving, tossed it back to me, deliberately missing me by a mile so that it landed on the road in front of me, where he promptly (and deliberately) drove over it!

alan-rickman- mobile phone

Alan Rickman, not a fan of mobile phones. (in my dream).

I believe the message in this dream is clear: the universe is telling me it’s time to upgrade my iPhone 5 because I’m constantly running out of storage, no matter how many photos I delete off my phone. I am not the ideal Apple customer because I refuse to upgrade a phone that is working perfectly, except that I can’t download any new apps because of lack of storage space. Is it possible that Apple have devised technology that somehow infiltrates the dreams of anyone with an Apple device, planting subliminal messages about upgrading their products? It doesn’t seem too implausible to me at this stage.

In the second dream, which was on the weekend just gone by, I sneaked into our neighbour’s house to see if their fence was fixed.

I should explain that in real life, we recently had to get the fence between our property and this neighbour’s property fixed, and I did all the helpful stuff like get the quotes and book the tradies, and pay them for the work, and then afterwards the neighbour complained that their side was left with some issues they would have to follow up with the tradies. I was a bit stressed about this for a day or so, as he was hinting that he wouldn’t cover his half of the cost because of these “issues.” But in a happy ending – for us at least – he did pay his half after all, so there was really nothing left to be stressed about, although it was left a bit unresolved, as I don’t know if he got the issues fixed or not, but it’s out of my hands now – there’s nothing I can do about it. He should have opted to be there on the day the work was being done, if he wanted to closely project manage his side of the fence, I guess. So I’m happy to consider the matter closed.

Anyway, this dream occurred a few nights after the matter was “closed.” In the dream, as I said, I sneaked into his house to check that the fence was fixed properly. The way to check that the fence was fixed properly, apparently, was to tip a can of tuna down his kitchen sink. Clearly this was standard procedure and common knowledge, because I came armed with a can of tuna for this purpose. When I got to his sink, however, I could see he had already performed the tuna-test, because the plug hole of his sink was clogged up with still-warm, cooked tuna. Cooked tuna took things to a whole other level and indicated that my neighbour had gone to a lot of effort to ensure a highly accurate reading on the status of the fence (of course, everyone knows that when it comes to assessing the success of a fence repair job, cooking the tuna before you tip it down the sink will guarantee a more accurate result every time) so there was nothing to be gained from me attempting an inferior reading with my tin of tuna (in oil, mind you, not that stuff in brine!)

So I turned away and prepared to leave, but (of course, I’m sure you could see this coming) just then the neighbour walked in! Or perhaps rattled the door handle, indicating that his entry to the room would be imminent within a micro-second. Some dream-like sequence of events occurred anyway, that led to me hiding on a strange little inexplicable platform, (perhaps it was a broom cupboard built on a mezzanine level?) that suddenly appeared – or suddenly became apparent, as things do in dreams – and seemed like as good a hiding place as any. Apparently I got onto this little balcony with ease, even though it was at head height in the room.

So the neighbour was stepping through the door, and I was trying to make myself invisible, on a small mezzanine level in his kitchen, optimistically hoping not to be seen the way a baby does when they put their hands in front of their face and think you can’t see them. As it turns out, since it was almost opposite the door, at his eye-level, and was totally open, this ‘platform’ really was NOT as good a hiding place as any. My neighbour probably had to go to a great deal of trouble to pretend NOT to see me the second he walked in the door, but eventually he gave in and indicated gruffly that he could see me crouching there in his split-level, open-plan broom cupboard, clutching my can of tuna, and enquired as to what on earth I was doing there.

It feels as if the dream faded out here (or perhaps my alarm went off at that moment), as I can’t recall what happened, but I don’t think it ended badly. My feeling is that, in this parallel universe, it was acceptable that I’d bring my own tuna over and sneak into his house with the intention of checking that his fence was fixed properly, so I don’t think we left on bad terms.

Now I must say, in regards to the meanings of dreams, I’m a little flummoxed at this one. I do think that the delightful mish-mash of weird things in our dreams is our brain trying to put some ideas together. That’s because I once read, of dreams, that our subconscious works to try and solve problems that are bothering us, and dreams are those attempts to solve those problems, but as the dream can’t speak directly to us, it uses the tools at its disposal: imagery and a narrative, to creatively present a ‘solution’ that comes to us like a clue in a cryptic crossword. That’s bad news for me, unfortunately, as I have never yet managed to understand a single clue in a cryptic crossword.

Nevertheless, I find that idea about the subconscious and its processes fairly believable. So occasionally, when it feels as if a dream is so, well, kind of mundane but weird at the same time, I try to think of a phrase that summarises the dream. It didn’t take long with this one – when I thought about the dream the next day, pondering what it could possibly mean, the phrase that instantly came to my mind was “tuna down the drain.”

So if any readers are good at cryptic crosswords, maybe they are able to make some sense out of that phrase, and let me know their interpretation.

Otherwise my take on it is…..the universe telling me that I should get more Omega 3 oils into my diet??

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There’s a gap in between

On week day mornings, I am hauled from the depths of some dream or other at precisely 6.45am when my alarm goes off (to the sound of Led Zepplin playing Whole Lotta Love), and back up to the real world, where it’s cold and still dark. It’s early July, and here in the Southern Hemisphere we are almost right in the middle of our winter.

The sky lightens imperceptibly while I eat toast and drink a cup of tea, so that by the time I’m almost ready to leave, around 7.30, you can see outside, although the color is still missing from everything in the grey, pre-dawn light.

When I left my house one chilly morning recently, I didn’t notice the unusually thick, low-hanging fog as I drove to the train station. Perhaps because there was about 20-30 metres of visibility, and that is the range of my focus when driving in the built-up inner Melbourne suburb where my commute by train starts. But as soon as the V-line (country) train pulled out of the station, I settled in to my seat and looked out at the view going past on the embankment above me, and saw a sight that is unusual in the city – only a few metres of shops and houses were visible, and the rest were  swallowed up in the white swirl of low hanging cloud.

Now, I am not good at sleeping on planes, trains or automobiles, but I can occupy myself quite happily by staring out the window of a moving train any time, as I always find it mesmerising to watch the landscape go whizzing past me at high speed. On this particular morning, the view was all the more fascinating. Yes, I was awake, but the world outside the train looked like a dream landscape, or landscapes, racing past like hazy images from my subconscious.

Since I was so inspired by the fog (?!) I scribbled some notes on the train, and those (edited and extended) are incorporated into what follows, accompanied by photos.

*

Staring out the train window now, we are skirting around the outside of Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and pulling into the last suburban station before we really have left the city behind. My view is of a strip of dirt, some brownish-greenish grass, and then just a haze of white fog that has hidden everything else. Usually from here I’d see the matching rooftops of suburban houses just across the paddocks, and city buildings even further away in the distance.

 

Foggy morning from train 16.06.02-3

 

On sunny mornings I’ve stared out those same windows across those very same paddocks, and marvelled at how clear and detailed the view is for miles – I can pick out telegraph poles, as tiny as specks, far away on the horizon.

I hesitated, just a moment ago, about whether to describe the fog as white, or grey. From here, its appearance is an off-white, which I think would be on the scale of greys. (As opposed to the scale of creams, for example.) I’m pretty sure if I was trying to capture this color in paint, I’d need to mix the tiniest bit of black into my white paint. Maybe the tiniest bit of black, and the tiniest bit of blue.

As the train rumbles swiftly along, all sorts of ghostly grey shapes can be discerned by someone staring intently out the window, i.e, me. I can just make out some dark, organic, curving lumps hovering in the mist – these are trees, bushes, and mounds of dirt where digging – for a new housing estate or a road – has taken place some time ago and then seems to have been abandoned.

I notice a group of birds – is three birds a flock? – fly into the fog and vanish. The dark shape of something I can’t quite distinguish looms in the foreground – I think it’s probably earth moving machinery, as we are still travelling past a patch where work has been taking place. A bit further on, two dull yellow lights glowing – a car driving slowly down a side road, towards a railway crossing. Then for a while there’s nothing, no shapes reveal themselves. Just the hum of the diesel engine and layers of cloud hiding the world outside from view.

We could be travelling in this train along a track that runs parallel to the edge of the world. There’s maybe 30 metres between us and where my vision can see to – the middle of that paddock there. Maybe that’s where the earth just drops away and beyond that, all there is, is a swirling mass of vapour.

Imagine that: out there, in that paddock, hidden from me by the mist, is the edge of the earth, and beyond it, the unknown. I pretend that’s what the wisdom of the day tells me. How, in that case, do I imagine that unknown space beyond the world? Is it just swirling vapour, or is it a vast ocean, that the earth floats on, as some people thought hundreds of years ago?  Should we be afraid of reaching the edge, and seeing what lies beyond? When the mist rolls in, should we shiver, and huddle close, the hairs on our arms standing up, not with cold, but in fear of where the mist comes from, and what it brings with it?

Of course this is all daydreaming, and when not on a train staring out at the fog, I don’t believe any of the above, but on a morning like this, it’s easy to imagine how people living hundreds of years ago could think the earth had an edge, and that humans should be cautioned against the folly of exploring beyond it.

In those days, when mists came rolling in across the moors, or the fields, depending where you lived, it must have seemed as if they came from that dank and murky place outside of the edges of the earth.

Looking into a fog like this, hundreds of years ago, surely only the bravest amongst us could envision themselves striding out across the grass, disappearing into the swirling mist, and entering the gap that would take them across into the unknown.

 

Building in fog

 

Of course I’m not the victim of such fantasies. All the same, I’m glad I didn’t drive today.

 

This is not my beautiful house

Now, I have to say that I’m disappointed. All my life, I believed I had a special talent for:

a. dreaming, and

b. recalling the details of those dreams

Some may think it’s a rather pathetic thing to be proud of remembering your dreams, but please remember, we all have our own unique talents and not everyone is interested in sport.

Why, I’ve often amused myself for whole minutes at a time, recalling the details of what I was dreaming the night before. I’ve also entertained others (who were no doubt enthralled, as everyone is to hear someone else’s dream), especially if and when the dream involved halariously illogical, disjointed story lines, unrelated snippets of events, and people or animals who morph into other people or animals, or into something else, perhaps a mousetrap, an orange, or a rhino with boiled eggs for eyes.

Once, the whole process worked backwards. I woke myself up by laughing in my sleep, but then didn’t remember what I’d been dreaming. Maybe that’s not backwards, maybe it’s inside out. Anyway.

Lately, there have been two continually recurring themes popping up in my nightly (metaphorical) wanderings, which are so dull they are not worth mentioning to anyone. For this reason I thought I’d write a post about them. One of these themes in fact is so dull, it goes right off the Richter scale for dullest dream theme possible. It’s….paperwork. Pdfs, to be exact. Most nights I remember nothing else about these dull things. I just wake up feeling like I’ve been dealing with pdfs.

This is the cause of my disappointment. You’d have to admit, this Paperwork phase seems a real backwards step. When I compare it with previous dreams, suddenly even Rhino with boiled egg eyes begins to seem as rich and complex as Ulysses.

Why, just last night I woke up out a deep sleep, at 3am, with the red and white Adobe pdf icon looming in my mind. What, suddenly, my subconscious has nothing more interesting to apply itself to in the dead of night than compiling separate pdfs into a multipage document?

Adobe pdf icon

Not normally the stuff that dreams are made of.

In another dream recently, I’d promised a friend I would fill in some mysterious forms, but I’d left it too late, and was anxiously worrying about how I would tell her that I hadn’t filled them out.

At least the addition of guilty emotion into what I like to call The Paperwork Series provides a skerrick of fodder for a psychoanalyst – well, a bit more than a mundane dream about creating pdfs from word documents offers, anyway. Nevertheless, I am disappointed at the sad lack of boiled eggs, rhinos, handbags, my cat rotating around on a plate I’ve just eaten off,* or any other satisfyingly unrelated objects, or illogical plot developments that one would hope for in a dream.

If one must dream about pdfs, surely the very least that could happen in the dream is that the documents grow to gigantic proportions, tower over my work place, and start issuing commands to the tiny humans running around below them, in voices that sound like (old-style) Daleks. These current dreams, however, are so pedestrian that if there is any development to the series at all, it will probably be that I create a table of contents and put page numbers into the footer on the right hand side! Woo!

The other recurring theme that keeps popping up at the moment is houses. It’s slightly more interesting than the pdf dream, but only slightly. Every now and then, I dream that we have just moved into a new house, and I look around, and then realise with a sinking feeling, that the new house is actually a bit crummy on close inspection, and that the house we’ve left (always this house, the one I live in) was much better. It’s the old “sinking feeling” dream, over and over, about the same thing.

dilapidated house

 

On the plus side, at least the crummy house we move into looks different in every dream. (I seem to have an extensive catalogue of imaginary crummy, run-down houses. I guess I’ve lived in a few.)

 

Houses in dreams are rich containers of symbolism (more so than pdfs in dreams are, anyway). I’ve read enough Jungian psychology, or, truth be told, enough third parties quoting a dumbed-down version of Jungian psychology for people like me to dip into, to know that in dreams, the house functions as a symbol for the self. When I was younger, my recurring house dream was of being in a house that was both familiar and yet mysterious at the same time. It was always my grandmother’s house, but I would always come across rooms that had never existed in her real house. In real life, my grandmother’s house was always quite dark.

I’d be stretching the truth to say I can remember much about how those dream-rooms felt now, but they were at least true to the real house in that they were dark. That and the disconcerting element of them popping up in an otherwise familiar house imparted a sense of foreboding to my younger, dreaming, self.

Pic: Blathering

Pic: Blathering

According to Jungian theory, finding hidden rooms can mean that there are parts to yourself that are hidden in your subconscious. I have no doubt that was true when I was younger and still working out who I was. Perhaps I should be grateful that recurring dream has moved on.

But, armed with the knowledge that the house is a symbol for the self, it’s a little bit alarming that I’m regularly dreaming about leaving a house that I’m happy with, and moving into a house that looked ok at first, but on closer inspection, seems a bit dilapidated!

Maybe it’s the anxious dream of middle age,* signifying worry about beginning a slow decline, and the cracks beginning to show. (I wasn’t conscious of that being a major concern just yet – apart from at those disconcerting moments where I find that I have absent-mindedly put the red wine away in the fridge, and then wonder whether I’m losing my mental facilities.)

As for pdfs, try as I might, I couldn’t find any guide to what Jung thought about those. I suspect it simply means I’m spending way too much time on put headers and footers into them in my waking hours at work at the moment.

Either way, this latest, recurring house-related dream has been popping up intermittently for quite some time now. The dream has developed a little in that time, because now it has a meta-layer, i.e, in the dream, I have a sense of deja vu, and think to myself despondently, this has happened before in my dreams, but this time it’s real.

Perhaps because of this, when I wake up from this dream, that too is a cliched dreaming experience: I always feel a sense of relief, and think to myself, just as if I was a character at the end of a creative essay written in 30 minutes by some hapless student during a year-12 English exam, despite their English teacher’s warnings never to finish an essay this way,

“Phew – it was all just a dream!”

 

*

Pic of house: The Quietus

*cat rotating on a plate was from last night’s dream. She was shimmying her bottom back and forth, like a record being spun by a DJ.

**or a bit past “middle age” depending on your interpretation of what that means.

Don’t Dream It’s Over

You know, if I was a different kind of person, I’d wake up bright and early – at 7am, say, even on a day off.

I’d stagger out of bed, lumber downstairs to the kitchen to make coffee, and sit at my kitchen bench, marvelling at the sounds of birds singing in the trees, while I started planning my day. By 7.30am I’d be outside watering the plants, or inside dusting the bookshelves, or heading off to the gym, or whatever early-risers do. I’d use my time to the fullest, every day, in ways that other people could see and appreciate.

But alas, I’m not that kind of person. I’m the kind of person who sleeps till 9am on a day off and thinks it’s extra nice to go back to bed with a cup of tea and a book until 12. No wonder I’ve achieved so little in life.

To anyone observing my sleep – ASIO for example, if I was under investigation – it would look as though I spend an average of 9 hours a night fast asleep. In reality however, on a weekly basis, a reasonable proportion of that time is spent lying in bed with my eyes shut, breathing slowly and engaging in encouraging, comforting self-talk.  It’s ok not to be asleep, just relaaaax. Relaxing is nearly as good as being asleep. Maybe I even am asleep, just really lightly asleep. I’ll count backwards from 100, here we go. 100. 99. 98. 97. 96. 95. …..

Another proportion of those 9 hrs is spent less calmly, tossing and turning while the self-talk changes tone to something like this: Well I slept from about 11 to 12, and it’s only 4am now so it’s still possible to get another 3 and a half good hours if I can JUST GO TO SLEEP RIGHT THIS MOMENT…..ok, calm down, that’s not going to help. Let’s think about words starting with P. Pumpkin. Porpoise. Particular. Pedantic. Personify. Personal. Patriachal. Puppy. Playful. Pantomine. Pendulum. Piston. Palpable. Pretty. Pod. Perfect. Plait. Plate. Pine. Pour. Pout. Prefect. Plum. Pudding….THIS ISN”T GETTING ME ANYWHERE, I”M STILL WIDE AWAKE!!!

At least one night a week I go to bed about 10.30 feeling tired, but find that I can’t go to sleep. Instead I toss and turn until my partner comes to bed at some time around 1am, and starts snoring about 4.5 minutes later. Meanwhile, I continue to toss and turn. On a night like this, tiny noises that probably occur every night, jolt me out of any semi-sleep state I might be about to drift into. But sometimes, I might only toss and turn for another half an hour or so, and finally nod off to sleep about 1.30am. Hurrah, success!

But not for long. Inevitably after a bad night of sleep, I wake the second it starts to become light outside. Noooooooooo!

One moment I’m lost somewhere deep within a dream, the next moment my mind is awake and conscious that there is light in the room. I don’t want to register that fact! I keep my eyes closed, and try to calmly grasp onto that feeling I had one second ago – that warm, comfortable, sleepiness. Stay comfortable, stay relaxed.

What was I just dreaming?

Don't even start me on that damn violinist who wanders through my room. No wonder I've got a hat jammed down over my ears.

How’s a girl supposed to sleep with  that damn violinist wandering around the room?

pic: Wikimedia Commons

I desperately try to manipulate my mind into slipping back into the dream I was just having, as if it’s as easy as taking the pause button off on a movie. But of course on this particular morning, when I’ve had little sleep at the other end of the night, there seems to be no in-between state available. My mind has gone from unconscious dream-state to switched on in an instant. At one level I know I won’t be able to get back to sleep but I try for a while anyway. Ok, this doesn’t matter. I’ve thought before that I’ll never get back to sleep, and I have. I”m sure that’s happened. At least once. Just relax. Relaaaax. Relaxing is almost as good as being asleep. Listen to the birds. Soon it will be time to go to work. Don’t think about work. Of course today I’ve got that meeting with that difficult client who – shhhhh. No thoughts about work. Relaxing thoughts. Deep breathing…..OH BUGGER WHAT”S THE POINT??? I may as well get up.

All of us wake up all through the night, but those people lucky enough to sleep soundly usually don’t recall waking. Most mornings I recall multiple times where I woke up through the night. To me it’s a good night’s sleep if I woke up multiple times but got straight back to sleep. Having had periods in my life where I had chronic insomnia, I feel pleased if I can get to sleep in less than an hour, or if total sleep over the night equals 6 hours or more. It doesn’t mean I feel great the next day, but I take some comfort from getting those 6 hours because I know from experience that being awake night after night, until 5.30am, when you have to be up again at 7.30am, is very bad for your mental health.

The bonus is that all the failures in my ability to sleep make sleeping a valuable pastime that I appreciate. Man, I do love to sleep! I love the creative time that my mind takes to wander in that hazy half-world known as dreams. Almost every morning I wake up recalling a dream, or multiple dreams from the night before. I think it’s partly because I wake up throughout the night that I recall my dreams so well, because when I wake out of a dream in the night, for a second or two it enters into my conscious mind.

We know that the brain is very busy at night, connecting neural pathways, storing away memories, and categorising and filing information, and that dreams play a part in all of that. But I also just simply enjoy recalling dreams. Frequently they interest or amuse me. “On paper”, the content of a dream may seem nonsensical, or banal, yet often the memory of a dream is accompanied by feelings that are harder to convey or even recall accurately, and that fade quickly from the memory. It could be a feeling of cosiness, or security, or a sense that something interesting is happening just outside of my focus. Perhaps the dream was of an ex work colleague of mine, but with only one eye, which was big and bejewelled and possibly had a laser beam coming out of it. (*True recent dream). Yet this weird image could have been accompanied by a feeling of anticipation that something exciting was going to happen. (*feeling is fictional and concocted for the purposes of illustrating this point.) It’s often that feeling that makes me want to go back to my dream on waking, so that I can continue on with it.

So in reality, I may appear to be much lazier than the energetic person who leaps out of bed at 7am, goes for a half hour run, and by 8am has had a coffee and a shower and sold some shares, but I actually expend a lot of effort on trying to sleep, and on trying to dream. I hope that my efforts at sleeping to the best of my limited abilities will put my neural pathways in at least equal condition to early risers, by the time we are both 85.

Of course, that probably won’t be the case, since I notice that those annoyingly cheerful, early-rising, high achieving people are always inevitably the ones who never have the slightest bit of trouble sleeping, so they probably do all of that hard brain work too, just without ever waking and being aware of it. Damn them!

 *

**In keeping with the frequent-but-not-always theme of this blog, this post is named after a song. This particular song is by popular New Zealand band Crowded House.

Dreams

I realise with a jolt that I left my backpack sitting on the ground, right out in the open air, in an outdoor carpark at university. I rush back to retrieve it, but of course it has completely disappeared. A rising sense of anxiety and stress overwhelms me as I tell my companion what was in my backpack. It seems that included my laptop, so then I move on to listing everything that was saved on my laptop, with a sinking feeling.

Fortunately, just then I wake up. A sense of relief washes over me, on discovering that it was just a dream. My university days were about 20 years ago and at that time, the only Notebooks that students carried around at uni were the spiral bound type.

Losing a bag seems to be a recurring dream for me lately. A quick Google search reveals that losing a bag in a dream symbolises loss of identity, and/or fear of losing control – depending whose answer you prefer.

Dream interpretation Google search

Neither of those interpretations suddenly throw light on anything that I’m consciously aware of, but I do think that recurring dreams have some significance. A while back, I had recurring dreams of losing a bag but then finding it again. But recently, the pattern has changed and it’s become a regular scenario that I lose my bag in dreams but don’t find it again. Damn!

Way back when I had first given birth to my daughter, I had a series of dreams in which I had just realised my VCE/Year 12 Maths exam was that day and I had forgotten all year that I was enrolled in that subject. Those dreams would pop up intermittently but with a serial-like quality to them – for example, in the first I realised the exam was coming up and I’d forgotten to attend any classes, the next time the dream popped up, I was going into the exam, totally stressed out about not having done any study, etc.

On that occasion, I didn’t need the internet to interpret those dreams, because it was glaringly obvious to me what my subconscious was doing: coming up with a scenario that captured how unprepared I felt for finding myself with a newborn baby.

So this morning I felt some relief on waking up, to realise it was just another of those pesky, stressful dreams. After the second or two it took to orient myself, I reached over for my phone to check the time. 7.30am.

7.30am on Boxing Day. What bliss! I had no plans for the entire day. It seemed unnecessary to even get up just yet. Why not have a little bit more of a snooze? Perhaps I’d be able to have a more upbeat dream to end my slumber and put me in a better state of mind for the day. With that plan in mind,* I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Next thing I knew I was waking up again, out of the same dream. The carpark, the backpack, the people shrugging their shoulders and saying they hadn’t seen it, my rising stress, my thoughts that I would have to start cancelling all my cards.

Twice in one morning! I looked at my phone again – 8.30am! I figured it was time to get up and actually relax!

 

* I have no ability to control what I dream about, as is pretty clear from this post.

 

*

Though my dreams it’s never quite as it seems

never quite as it seems

Dreams – The Cranberries

Looking Inside My Own Eyeball

Last week I saw inside my own eyeball. What I saw was… veins.  No, I wasn’t high (although my pupils were dilated, it was with special drops the optometrist put in for that purpose).

Nor was I the guinea pig in some kind of futuristic science experiment that involved removal of the subject’s eyeball for close examination by the subject (using their remaining eyeball). I simply went for an eye test.

I booked the eye test because I have a tiny speck in my eye that I initially thought was dust. After about 6 months, I realised that it was still there in the same place, and it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be removed with a finger or even via eye drops. The eye test began ordinarily enough with me reading through the usual small letters on a chart about a kilometre away. I felt pretty smug to be able to read the bottom line, and  read out the letters briskly and confidently,  until the optometrist told me to change eyes and when I did, I realised I’d read a “U” as a “V” (or the other way around.)

Suddenly my smugness changed to humility and a sense of failure as I realised I wasn’t someone with perfect 20/20 vision anymore. I realised that I’d deluded myself into thinking all these years that I had 20/20 vision, when in fact my vision was deteriorating so rapidly that I was lucky to be able to see the optometrist, let alone her chart. I realised that from an optometrist’s perspective, I was just another, almost-blind customer, stumbling around trying to pretend she can still see, in order to avoid wearing glasses.

Having realised this, I decided that while I still had my eyes – and could see out of them – I would make good use of them, by attempting to surreptitiously read what prognosis she had tapped into her computer. Alas! My deteriorating vision couldn’t make out what she’d typed on the computer screen only metres from where I was sitting! (I suspected it was probably something along the lines of “suffers from a psychological condition known as phantom vision – she thinks she can see, but it’s all just her imagination” or, “complete removal of both eyes required immediately – Taxi required for trip home.”)

www.boingboing.net

Don’t worry, this one is prosthetic and not mine.

Then the test became more like a sci-fi experiment, as I had to put my  head in a clamp and have light shone into my eyes while I looked at a white spot. I suspected she was doing more than just checking my eyeball out, and perhaps she had access to more than just a view of my retinas. I thought it might be possible that I emerge from the optometrist’s office with my memory modified – or totally eradicated –  or with the decision to blow up the Reserve Bank planted in my brain.

As she whizzed and whirred away with lenses, lights, lasers and other gizmos, I was also distracted by the fact that I could see,  in the corners of my eyes, the veins in the back of my eyeball. It was quite surreal, seeing into the back of my own eyes!

Anyway, for anyone wondering, it turns out that the little speck of dust in my eye is called a “floater” and is not a speck of dust but part of my eye -a bit that came loose, or something.  Eww! Apparently it’s nothing to worry about – unless I also see flashing lights, in which case  I should worry a lot as it could indicate that the retina is detatching! (Ewww again!) Apparently a “floater” is quite common and rarely indicates anything more serious, and should just sort of “dissolve” after a while.

BTW, The picture above is from Boing Boing. Apparently this woman has a prosthetic eye and is hoping to have a camera installed inside it. Sounds kinda cool! But when googling for images of “eyeballs” I had to cover my own eyes! I can’t look at people doing icky things to their eyes! (Even when I know it’s a tatoo or computer generated trickery)

PS.  Writing this post I realised that a theme is emerging, as this is now the third post I’ve written about eyes. (see Rhino with boiled egg eyes, Girl with avocado eyes) I might have anticipated it would be writing, or music, (which I’ve barely mentioned) or art, that might become themes on this blog, but no, so far it has been moustaches and now eyes. There you go.

Maybe that dream about a rhino with boiled egg eyes was telling me something back in October. That I needed to have an eye test.

The girl with the Avocado Eyes

A reader, Flitty McFloobster, was intrigued with my post on my dream about the rhino with boiled eggs for eyes. She was intrigued because she has a recurring dream of herself with avocados for eyes. This dream has been recurring for so long now, that she secretly started to wonder if she would look better with avocados for eyes! Because of my expertise on rhinos with boiled eggs for eyes, she decided to see what I thought, and  sent me a photo of how she would look if she had avocados for eyes.

Inspired by the rhino with boiled egg eyes, Flitty McFloobster tries out avocados for eyes

Hmmm, I don’t know Flitty, it looks a bit silly to me, to be honest.

In any case, avocados are a pretty silly idea if you are thinking about having an eye transplant, because apart from not being able to see out of them (if you’re considering cosmetic surgery anyway, this minor fact may not actually concern you), they would go off, and that would just be revolting.

*Disclaimer – Alright, so Flitty McFloobster doesn’t exist and that picture was actually in the Herald Sun, 15.11.10. Phew – hope that covers me in the case of a copyright issue!  I feel pretty safe, as Flitty McFloobster was my only reader anyway. Apart from the fact that she doesn’t exist, she was considering an avocado eye transplant, and with avocados for eyes she would not be able to discern that I’d used the Herald Sun photo to make up a new identity for her.

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