What Does It All Mean?

So last night I had a really bizarre dream. Really, really bizarre. And I didn’t remember it until I was about halfway through my morning walk, and it made me laugh right there on the sidewalk with my iPod playing and nobody around.

I dreamt that my ears were oversized.

They weren’t gigantic or anything. They didn’t fit into that song my mother learned as a kid: “Do you ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder like a Continental soldier? Do your ears hang low?”

(Since when, I am suddenly thinking to myself, does one throw Continental soldiers over one’s shoulders?)

No, they weren’t that big. That would be ridiculous.

But they were oversized. Decidedly so. Noticeably so. Long and Large. Big Ears.

In my dream, I consulted my appearance in the mirror. I had Bill stand next to me and look at them. I compared them to the ears of my friends, to the ears of my sisters. Mine were… Big.

They started where they do, I guess, but then they were Long. They extended down the side of my face to about, say, my jaw-line.

I’ve had dreams before about missing teeth. Really convincing dreams. Dreams so convincing that I wake just a bit and check out my teeth with my tongue to make certain they are all there. And this dream makes sense to me, because I have an artificial tooth right in the front of my face. It’s called a Maryland Bridge, and it replaces a tooth I was born without, and it occasionally– horrifyingly– becomes loose.

We’re going to take care of this someday, when we have the Funds.

But meanwhile, it has made me Nervous now and then. And once, when it was one of those Worst Possible Times, it Fell Out.

So I’ve dreamt about teeth. And now ears.

My grandmother, who was an artist and nurse so she Knew about these things, explained to me once that one’s ears and nose never stop growing, resulting in these features’ sometimes disproportionate appearance in the elderly. I’ve given that thought some consideration, and believe it does Not Bode Well for my nose. But what can you do?

Was this the reason for the dream? A long lost conversation with my deceased grandmother, seizing my sleeping unconscious and giving rise to New Fears? This, on the heels of my birthday, when I am considering anew what this aging process, this inevitable decay, looks like? Yes, I think about it. I consider it, noting intimations of age in myself, in those around me, watching the years tick by with increasing speed, thinking, in my quiet moments, “So this is how it happens.” And it does.

Or was it something Freudian? Could Carl Jung help me out here? Does my dream expose some kind of covetousness? or “covetise,” if that is a word? Do I want to have something in my life that is larger than anyone else? Is this a latent desire for Bigness? Some sort of misplaced miracle bra? No, never mind. I had a freudian interpretation of a dream once and it, to put it lightly, made me feel weird. If you’ve got Freud on the brain, I don’t want to know about it.

Maybe the dream was actually a nightmare.

But I think that’s a misnomer. I think we’ve got those reversed. Because a nightmare is something wonderful, really. Something we get to wake up from, and find out that all is right with the world or, at the very least, a good deal better than it seemed moments ago.

Dreams, on the other hand. Well, dreams are disappointing. Dreams are things you wake out of but you wish you wouldn’t, slowly rising into consciousness, seizing the sheets as if they could keep you sleeping and plunge you back into that Other World. That’s the real nightmare: waking up.

I had a dream last night. I dreamt I had Enormous Ears. And then I woke up, and dressed, and put on my iPod and went for a walk. And halfway through I remembered my dream, and laughed, and felt glad in a new way about my real life: nice, normal ears.

4 thoughts on “What Does It All Mean?

  1. Continental soldiers throw rifles or muskets or somesuch over their own shoulders…and by throw over they probably mean throw ‘on’. I don’t think it means throwing the soldiers themselves over YOUR shoulders. Though that is an amusing image…


  2. Yes, yes. I realize this. And this was always the idea I had– that of soldiers and muskets, I mean– when my mother sang it to me. It was just in the writing of it that I realized that the antecedent is all wrong, and I, too, found the image amusing.


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