Restive Work

Last night I dreamed of work: it was a place like a quarry, like a mine, like a desert. It was at once in a cave and out in the open, but wherever it was, a stifling monochrome dirt surrounded me. Everyone there lied, and I don’t know why. In my wakefulness it has escaped me what all happened, but catastrophe seemed always looming.

I think that’s what tipped me off, the problem was always unsolved: matters, incursions of chaos requiring immediate handling, would be dealt with without correcting that continuous sense of foreboding. The dream hopped from one crisis to another, from ghosts—I think it was ghosts—to an invasion—possibly aliens—to a riot, and all the time it was my responsibility, it was my job, to fix it.

Then some authority again presented itself to me, angry and fearful, ordering me—and why hadn’t I already taken care of it—to take care of some vague, undefined it. That’s when I saw it, the problem that needed to be solved, the real problem I needed to solve: I wasn’t enjoying the dream, it was work. It flooded my mind, this world, this continuous striving, was a dream of which I wanted no further part.

It was also a lie, every crisis manufactured to keep me busy, to keep me from thinking. The angry demanding bosses imprisoned me in a tyranny of immediacy without a moment to breath. I had to rise above. Dissolving the world, I ascended, its overarching layers melting into one. The sleepiness fought to send me back, to trick me into thinking I was awake, but I knew my eyes weren’t open. I was almost free, feeling my bed, the pillows, the sheets, but my eyes stayed closed.

When I opened them I could see my room, and a skull in front of my face, its image formed in the dancing purple static[1] of my eyes. I waited for it to leave, and then returned to a dreamless slumber, tossing through the night.

(As an aside, my mother is always a fun one off of whom to bounce ideas. She has a peculiar way of saying things, and good judgment. I had a chance to ask her about the image chosen for this post, and as I tried to show her a few other options, she emphatically replied, “One skull in my head is enough.”)

[1]
I don’t know if anyone else gets this, but in very low light settings, I see this sort of weird flowing stuff. It happens regularly enough that I assume everyone gets it, but have never asked. It’s most notable when going from bright to dark suddenly.

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