The Norman Transcript


February 22, 2014

Women unravel dreams to dismay



And a lot of men don’t like to analyze things.

I’ve rarely encountered that problem with women: We crave the kind of weird details dreams deliver. We want to hear when old boyfriends and dead relatives show up; we want to decipher possible prognostications and omens.

Maybe this reflects my Sicilian and French-Canadian background — maybe WASPs haven’t done this kind of thing since Hawthorne was writing — but my aunts used to gather over morning coffee and talk over their nocturnal visions the way Wall Street financiers talk about the market forecasts.

In part, they also did it for the same reason: They would play any combination of numbers that appeared in somebody’s dream. Aunt Rose would start, “Last night, I was back at 3072 Emmons Avenue …” and before she could get in another word, Aunt Clara would yell, “I’m playing those numbers! They’re mine!”

Since most of the family lived in walk-up tenements, I don’t think dreams turned out to be as reliable an economic indicator as either, say, the Dow Jones or the price of copper futures (which the aunts measured by use of the penny jar), but that didn’t undermine the seriousness or regularity of the daily review.

It also didn’t prevent them from regarding any information they received from the “other side” as entirely reliable.

Somebody dreamt a toddler died in a car accident? That poor kid didn’t leave the house for a month. The fact that he didn’t die was then used as proof — proof you could not dispute — that the dream saved his life.

I used to think that was hilarious. Now, if I have a dream about falling down the stairs, I hold onto banisters.

Perhaps the dreams that come to us even while we’re on this mortal coil should at least occasionally give us pause — if only just long enough to write down the numbers.

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