The case of the vanishing furniture
The other night I had this dream that I came home, opened my door, and my living room had been completely emptied. As in, everything. Gone. Entertainment center, TV, DVD shelf, pictures off the wall, all my furniture, my filing cabinets with my most important documents. All completely gone as if no one had lived there. Who could or would steal everything?
I walked into the bedroom and all my stuff was still there, which seemed odd. I picked up the phone and called my mom, and frantically started telling her how everything had been cleaned out of my living room.
While on the phone, I walked back into the living room, and, to my shock, all of my stuff was back, albeit out of place. Shelves were disassembled, the furniture was away from the wall, and items were scattered about. It was as if a moving crew had just haphazardly moved all my stuff back into the room. This all happened in less than 30 seconds while I was out of the room.
Now, I’ve had far, far weirder dreams than this. But for some reason, the way this dream unfolded was truly unsettling. In the dream I was still on the phone as I walked back into my no-longer-empty living room, and now the conversation with my mom changed from how I had been robbed to how I must be losing my mind. I thought I was having some sort of psychotic episode.
Something about this was deeply disturbing, because it felt real and creepy and there was no way I could explain it. Eventually I woke up, but until I did, I had no sense that I was in a dream, and no explanation for what was happening.
It got me thinking that we’re all prisoners of what our mind allows us to accept — or not accept. Why was this dream so convincing within its own constructs that I was sure I was losing my mind? I’ve had countless dreams where reality was much further bent or broken, where things made far less sense or veered into fantasy. What made this particular dream seem like it was actually happening to me rather than something I was watching like a movie? Is there some switch in our minds that allows us to dismiss the obviously false while being confused by the plausibly false?
To bring this all back around to a geek-culture reference, I was reminded of that scene in The Matrix where Morpheus first frees Neo from the Matrix, and asks him if he’s ever had a dream that he was so sure was real. Neo reaches into a mirror and pulls out this liquid-metal stuff that starts covering his body. I’ve always found that to be a fascinating scene, because it taps into something true about dream states, about how they can occupy your mind and become more real than you would’ve expected.
Not to mention make all your furniture vanish and reappear. Dreamscape hooligan practical joker bastards.