It’s pretty standard stuff for important people to appear in our dreams. In high school a friend used to dream about celebrities. She went bowling with Prince (he cheated) and had a date with Jean-Luc Picard. I sometimes have dreams about my favorite movie stars: flesh-eating zombies, and I’ve been known to do a great high-kick sheathed in a Carrie-Anne Moss circa Matrix PVC outfit.
Lately our dreams have taken a decidedly eerie turn more in keeping with kids’ dreams of atom bombs in the 1950s. I dreamt about George Bush. My friend Bill dreamt about Saddam Hussein. The guy who owns a little restaurant in the neighborhood dreamt of Osama bin Laden, and another friend dreamt of toxic fairy dust sent through the mail.
What had I eaten to bring George W into my brain? I was walking the dog through beautiful, rolling hills. Off in the distance I saw a group of men in suits. Nothing strange about that. Then I heard a small, audible "click" — a familiar sound to any fan of action movies: the sound of a high-powered rifle being cocked. I looked down, and there, hidden in scrubby bushes, was an assassin. He was about to shoot George. I tackled him and with the help of my trusty miniature Schnauzer, we took him out. The G-men came running and took charge. According to my dream logic, George now belonged to me. I had saved his life and therefore he was mine. He had to listen to me. So I told him he couldn’t go to war, and in the wonderful illogic of my sleeping brain, he was obliged to obey.
Bill’s dream was a variation on the crazy-powerful-despot-forced-to-listen-to-reason theme. He was on a bus with Hussein. It was a city bus and the two of them were talking. "You’ve got to work on your image, man," said Bill. Hussein mumbled something in reply, but the general thrust of their discussion on the stinky, bouncy bus was that Hussein needed advice and Bill was there for him. Bill watches a lot more art movies so I suspect his dream was grainy black and white. Mine was glowing colour with lots of quick edits.
While I imagine there are thousands of dreams out there starring these morally-suspect men who are making monstrous decisions, I also imagine they are filtered through the realities of grocery shopping and bill paying and, in my case, dog walking after watching an action movie. To wit: the telephone company calls to warn of a bill in arrears. Bin Laden is the disembodied voice threatening to cut off your head and your service. Or, on a Taliban theme, you’re a woman going to a job interview and you are wearing your best suit. The interviewers are four old nutcases who don’t even get to your credentials because your outfit is all wrong. Instead they build a fire out of your resume and toss you on it.
But this is the world of dreams, where we have control, unlike the general anxieties caused by our current slate of war-mongers. So when bin Laden threatens, you get his name, ask to speak to his supervisor and have his ass fired. The four old Taliban nutcases are suddenly stormed by your back-up secret agents who tie them up and force them to march to your agenda.
George Bush argued with me when I laid down the law. He tried to convice me that he just wanted a little war pretty please. I held firm. He offered me a nice medal. No way, I said. He said I could have a ride in Air Force One. Nuh-uh. How about my own private think tank? Nope. Finally he gave up trying to wheedle a small police action. There would be no war. As for the dog who shared the role of saving George’s life, he was pretty happy with the walk in the park, but he likely dreamt he got a nice steak dinner too.
670 w. February 28 2003