I had the oddest dream last night.
I was standing in a small, plain house. It was in the middle of nowhere, in a very flat part of the country, like a Midwestern prairie.
I was looking out an old screen door into a large backyard.
In the yard there was a woman and a lot of children. I knew that they were all her children, her brood. I remember very clearly thinking that particular word. Brood.
Then the woman and all her children came inside, walking up a couple of wooden steps and through the screen door. There must have been at least a dozen children and they were all very quiet. Too quiet. The mother too. They were almost like zombies or, more accurately, Stepford Wives. No expressions, dead eyes, pale, creepy.
As they were streaming through the door and into the house my tuxedo cat, Angel, darted outside.
She is an indoor cat, so I ran after her. I searched for her all over the yard. I got down on my hands and knees, looking under the bushes that surrounded the house and calling her name.
The woman with all the kids stood beside me and asked why I was so upset. It was just a cat, she said.
I looked up at her and said that my cats were to me like her children were to her (A little SAT reference in my dream!) and even if she didn’t understand, she could at least pretend to be sympathetic.
My disdain for this woman was particularly vivid. I hated her for bringing so many children into the world, and I was angry that her stupid kids scared my cat into running away. In my dream I wanted to take her by the lapels of her pink cardigan sweater and shake her.
I stood up. She looked me in the eye and very simply said “I’m sorry.”
I was overwhelmed by her sincerity.
Suddenly I was in a theater, not the theater I run but a smaller one. I was standing on the stage, surrounded by platforms of all different heights.
On the platforms were hundreds and hundreds of black and white cats. They were just lying on the platforms calmly, not playing or sleeping. Just waiting.
I walked around the stage, looking at each cat very closely, straight in their faces. For every cat, I would say aloud why it wasn’t my cat, wasn’t Angel. “This one’s whiskers aren’t long enough. This cat has too much white on its face.”
I woke up before I found got through all the cats and I never found Angel.
Now, on the surface it’s pretty easy to figure out the elements of my dream.
This weekend I watched the final two episodes of Big Love. That’s the show about Mormon polygamists.
The staring polygamists are normal people, but many of the show’s scenes and much of the storyline revolve around a polygamist sect that lives on a compound and calls their spiritual leader “The Prophet.”
The compound scenes are filled with dreary women in pioneer style dresses surrounded by oodles of scary looking kids.
And later in the day I watched the Kitten Half Time Show during Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. Kittens everywhere, frolicking on a miniature football field, playing with confetti.
Kids and kittens. It’s a no brainer.
But I don’t usually remember my dreams so clearly. I dream a lot. Almost every night. But the details don’t stick with me. In this dream I can still clearly see the woman, the house, everything.
Because it was particularly vivid, I thought maybe it had greater significance than just mimicking the tv shows I had watched.
So I googled “dream interpretation.” It’s no surprise that there a lot of websites about this topic. There are a lot of websites about any topic you care to google.
I started with one called Dream Moods, which has a dream dictionary.
I looked up cat and it said:
“To see a cat in your dream symbolizes an independent spirit, feminine sexuality, creativity, and power. It also represents misfortune and bad luck. The dream symbol has different significance depending on whether you are a cat lover or not. The cat could indicate that someone is being deceitful or treacherous toward you.”
My favorite line is that a dream cat means different things if you like cats than if you don’t. For some reason I expected the subconscious to be less obvious..
Then I checked out what dreaming about children means:
“To see children in your dream signify an aspect of yourself and your childlike qualities. You may be retreating back to a childlike state and longing for the past. You are trying to still satisfy repressed desires and unfulfilled hopes. Perhaps there is something that you need to see grow and nurture.”
It went on with some touchy feely crap about taking time off to nurture your inner child and I decided this wasn’t the website for me.
I moved on to The Curious Dreamer and tried again.
This site said that cats represent Independence, having strong ideas, adaptability and mystery.
Ok, I can deal with that.
But then I looked up what it means to dream about lost items. It said that when you dream about losing a specific thing, it means you either have lost or fear losing what that item symbolizes.
So I’m afraid losing my independence? My strong opinions? My ability to adapt? I’m not mysterious, so it can’t be that.
I didn’t quite buy it, but I thought I’d try children on this site anyway.
More touchy feely, self-nurture crap.
I tried “too many kids” or “creepy children” but those terms weren’t in the dream dictionary.
These interpretations just don’t seem right. I don’t feel like I’m losing my independence or a need to take extra good care of myself, even subconsciously.
I guess I’m too practical for dream interpretation. I’m going back to blaming it all on the television.