I don’t keep a dream journal, but with my odd sleeping habits I’m thinking maybe I should. You see, waking in the middle of a dream is a good way to remember it. Often I bolt awake in the middle of the action. Well, I assume it’s the middle of the action, but how would I know? Dreams are that way. Whether in the middle or at the end, I wake up able to remember them in some detail for a few hours. I have noticed a pattern over the past several months. Not surprisingly, the characters in my dream worlds know about the pandemic. It often plays a role in the story. I have yet to remember a dream where the people are wearing masks, however. They sometimes talk about it, but never do it.
The subconscious is a slippery place. Although psychologists are often fascinated by dreams, nobody can say for sure what they mean. One class of dream that I often have on an annual basis is the AAR/SBL anxiety dream. The American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting has been a fixture throughout my professional life. Usually I have a dream where I’ve forgotten something important for the conference, such as forgetting to stop in the exhibit hall to see the new books. I recently had my annual conference anxiety dream. This year the conference is virtual so I’m not actually going anywhere. In the dream I did. And nobody was wearing masks. The dream, however, was mainly about keeping my boss happy. That’s simple enough to understand.
Most years I get several blog posts out of the conference (which takes place in November). The virtual conference has been postponed until after Thanksgiving, and lengthened out by over a week. Accommodating all those papers (thousands of them) via Zoom must be a logistical nightmare. Since editors go to these for meeting people, there’s no reason for me to sign up. Instead, I’ll be right here in eastern Pennsylvania, huddled down waiting for the pandemic to be over. I’ll be wearing a mask whenever I venture off my own property. It is my hope that others might do the same. I read of covid-weary people burning their masks, putting themselves at risk as the number of infections continue to rise. In my subconscious mind I’m somewhere else. Perhaps I can convince them to wear masks in my imaginary world. After all, anything is possible in dreams.