A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
Today we are going to discuss a very serious problem. What should you do if your wife, husband, live-in lover, friend with benefits, or someone who just wandered in off the street, has a nightmare? I was faced with this perplexing dilemma early this morning. Somewhere in the wee hours Mary was having a bad dream, making sounds in her sleep that would suggest Putin’s forces were parachuting into our backyard, or worse, the Simcoe County School Board had called her back to work citing a little-known clause about foul language in the staff room. She was obviously under some sort of stress. Should I or should I not, wake her?
I had heard or maybe read sometime in the past that waking someone experiencing night terrors, or whatever sleep experts call dreams, wherein you are being chased by beasts, alien monsters, or representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency was not advisable. They could go into shock or get violent. As you might expect, being a tad chicken, I did nothing. But what I did do was Google the problem in the morning and it turns out doing nothing was the right thing to do – or not do – which is what I did. (Does that make sense to you, it doesn’t to me)
If your partner is deep in the throes of a nightmare and is suddenly wakened, they could go ape-poos as they say in psychiatric journals and act out – by act out I mean jump up and beat the hell out of you.
Apparently dreams, although not necessarily nightmares which can be reoccurring and need to be dealt with by someone who knows what they are talking about and not me, are quite natural and even represent a deep desire you have long suppressed. Here is where walking naked through Zehrs pushing an empty shopping cart comes in and is likely your body’s way of protesting Galen Weston’s $11,000,000 salary while the guy pushing those same carts around an icy parking lot in the dead of winter in his bare feet gets 35 cents an hour. Where the naked business comes in baffles me but then I am not a dream therapist.
So, I think we can all agree that waking someone who is screaming and bouncing off walls is not a good thing, but on the other hand, what if your bed partner is enjoying a dream and is smiling, sighing, or crying out “Ralph, you sexy little rascal” and your name is Fred? Let us just leave that one between you and your lawyer and move on.
Some people are gifted, or say they are, and can interpret dreams. That happened big time in the Bible. Joseph (you remember him, he looked like Donny Osmond and had a technicolored raincoat) became the trusted assistant to the Pharaoh of Egypt simply by telling the old geezer not to eat sauerkraut and corned beef on rye before he went to bed. (I know technicolored should have a ‘u,’ but it doesn’t look right. For once the Americans were right.)
If your partner is enjoying the dream, can you, or even should you, try to get in on it? After all, it is at the very least a serious invasion of privacy. Think about that for a moment. You have been awake for hours worrying about your constant rectal itch and she or he seems to be having a great time next to you, grinning, sighing, even giggling. You have a pretty good idea that you are obviously not one of the main characters in the dream since they are enjoying what is going on and not asking if you are going to be much longer since they have to get up in the morning. The question you should ask is should you try to join in knowing full well that your presence will not be appreciated? Putting it another way, would you want your partner to horn in on your midnight fantasy? Of course, you wouldn’t.
You, Sir, let’s say you are in your favourite dream where you and a 22-year-old Sophia Loren have just settled down for a long winter’s nap, or you Madam, are holding out your arms to an 80-year-old Mitch McConnell, would either of you want company – especially if both you and Mitch have waited the obligatory hour for the Viagra to kick in? I don’t think so. I know Sophia wouldn’t. She has wanted to get me alone ever since she wore that tight yellow dress and slunk down the stairs in Houseboat and I was asked to leave the theatre.