I went skydiving a few weeks ago, but it turned out to have only been a dream. I wrote about it. It was really scary. A couple of days later I got into a really bad car accident. It wasn’t even my car, it was my sister’s, and I was really drunk, and the cops were making me take this field sobriety test, because in my belligerent state, I took the breathalyzer out of my mouth and threw it into the woods. And so everyone was really pissed off, they were cuffing me, someone was trying to get my sister on the phone, but then one of the cops started blinking red and saying, “Beep! Beep! Beep!” and then I woke up in my bed to the alarm clock, it turned out that it was all a dream.
So that was kind of a relief, until a day or two after that I came home from work and my house wasn’t there, it had been burned to the ground. And my wife was standing outside, she was crying, obviously, and she turned to me and said, “Didn’t I tell you to make sure my hair dryer was unplugged? Didn’t I? The fire marshal said it was an electrical fire. It’s all your fault Rob. It’s all …”
Dream. That was a dream too. It was also a dream that same night, after I finally managed to get back to sleep, I had a dream that I was in the emergency room, some doctor was like, “Well, you shouldn’t have taken so many Tylenol. Why did you think ten pills was a good idea?” and I couldn’t give a good answer, because of course I know you’re not supposed to overdo it on Tylenol. Advil’s OK once in a while, you can take three or four, but Tylenol will mess you up. But like I said, it was a dream, even though I didn’t know it at the time, even though it felt so real, the priest being called in to deliver my last rites as my liver and kidneys started to fail at the same time.
The next day I got home from work, the next thing I knew I was right back at the restaurant, I felt like no time had passed at all, and the place was crazy. “Rob!” my boss screamed, “I need this side of mayonnaise out to table thirteen right! This! Second!” and I was trying, I really was, but I couldn’t remember when they’d installed the moving sidewalk in the middle of the dining room. If it was supposed to be a convenience, it wasn’t, and all of the customers kept fighting it, walking upstream, and I was trying to get to table thirteen but all the table numbers had changed, and my boss was just standing right next to me, I don’t even know how was managing the crowd when I could barely stand up straight, “Rob! What’s wrong with you! Table! Thirteen! Now!”
And I turned around and I slipped and I was lying down face first in a really shallow puddle. It was so shallow, only an inch deep really, just barely enough water to cover my mouth and my nose, but I couldn’t move my body, I could only barely rock it back and forth, but only if I used every ounce of strength I could muster, and still it wasn’t enough to break free from that puddle, and I couldn’t breathe and I felt the life slipping away, all while my boss kept yelling at me about the mayonnaise.
Finally I managed to get to my feet, but I had been struggling so hard, every muscle in my body was clenched, including my jaw, which was unnecessary, and unfortunate, because I’d chomped down to the point where my teeth crumbled, it was just tooth-sand in my mouth, tiny pebbles falling past my lips while I futilely tried to keep everything in, like maybe I’d be able to fix this, all while more pebbles got in my throat, I was choking, I couldn’t breath again.
And then I woke up in my bed, it was all a dream. But I couldn’t move yet, because I’d woken up too suddenly. All I could do was open my eyes and wait for the movement to return to my limbs, all while the sleep-paralysis demon sat grinning on my chest, in the middle of the night, staring down at me, whispering incomprehensible threats in his sleep-demon language. And everybody in the classroom was pointing and laughing. Because I was naked. And it was all a dream.