Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Devil You Know

I dreamed last night that I was in Venice with one of my friends and she kept walking off without me.  Well, in this case she was swimming out way past the lagoon into the Adriatic Sea.  The water was inky black and cold because it was night. Finally I gave up on trying to follow her and returned to the hotel we were checking into.  Somehow she was already there waiting on me.  

Two of my phobias arrived together in fine fashion, almost simultaneously.  According to my sleep tracking app, I had a 97% quality rest last night, which, considering that I was dehydrated and had a nasty headache when I went to bed, boils down to me passing out and being unable to wake.  

I had watched and read The Lovely Bones together for comparison, and I cried myself sick.  Again.  Somebody remind me to put it on my "never to watch again" list.  The movie conveniently glossed over the rape and murder, but the book spills it all.  And it hits far too close to reality.  If you have a daughter, you should read it.  Then, just maybe, you'll actually take those steps to fiercely protect her, instead of just saying you will in the future.

So I was trapped in a horrible nightmare.  Again.  With a horrifying inspiration piece to start me off.  Fortunately, my dreams didn't go there, but stayed within the bounds of tormenting me with my own phobias.  

After I was given my very heavy key at the front desk, I went to consider the elevator of this very colorful and elaborately decorated old hotel.  My room... was on the seventh floor.  

The elevator didn't have a door in the front, so everyone in the lobby could see the claptrap thing jerkily rising (and falling by several feet at a time) to the ground floor.  For a brief moment, I thought that I could survive to my floor if I got down in the middle of the floor and cowered with my arms over my head, holding my breath.  I didn't really care that other people would laugh at me.  I'd just explain that I have a debilitating fear of elevators. (But really, only in my dreams.  I can handle them just fine when I'm awake...  well, unless the elevator is really small, like the ones in Italy inevitably are. But that's a claustrophobic issue, anyway.) 

Then I just decided I'd schlep my bags up the seven sets of stairs and skip the elevator.  I only had two bags, after all, and one was a small roll aboard.  Easy. The first flight was fine.  Turn the corner, and it was normal stairs.  Another turn revealed that on the next flight, a step was missing, which created an ankle-breaker gap that was open all the way down.  At this point, I reasoned that the nice Asian couple running the front desk must have tried to save a few bucks on the stairs.  

Did I mention my dream phobia that even stairs are dangerous and inoperable?  2 phobias for the price of one nightmare.  Yay.  I should have looked up at that point.

On the way to the third floor, three whole steps were missing, creating a gap an adult could easily fall through, but people were carefully maneuvering the empty space and climbing to the next floor.  I did the same, but I could feel panic starting to increase my heart rate.

Approaching the fourth floor, five steps were missing, and while a few brave souls jumped or pulled themselves up, some fell and others gave up.  I was shaking while I climbed up the railing at the side, pulling my bags up behind me, feeling them grow heavier, and staring straight down through the hole in the stairs.  

When I reached the same side nearing the fifth floor, so many steps were missing that even an accomplished mountain free-climber would have had to hang by his fingertips from the nearest step available well over his head, dangling into a black abyss, and pull himself up literally by his fingers.  Two floors from my room and I was so panicked that it felt like I was being choked every time I tried to draw my breath.  I knew I would never make it to my room, and I found myself wishing I'd taken the deathtrap of an elevator.  At least I could see what was wrong with that up front, instead of taking my chances on the stairs.  

Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't.

Sometimes people say really horrible things to me about remembering my dreams, because they claim they don't dream, or they don't remember theirs.  I think they remember, and they're ashamed.  I write or talk about mine as a way to deal with them, and try to understand what's going on in my subconscious.  I think that I have to deal with these fears in nightmares because so many things in my life haven't been resolved, that's all.  I'm probably not the only one.

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