Not all who wander are lost: Or, maybe they are?! My latest crazy dream, which ends with an interrobang.

Ok all you psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, mind readers, tarot card readers and fortune cookie makers, here’s a doozy for you. Please let me know what you think my latest crazy dream means. And no, I’m not going to accept “you’re insane” as the answer. Here goes:

I was still in school, either high school or college, or I was an adult going back to school. I was in a class that was culminating in some kind of performance later that evening. I wasn’t in the performance, but I had an important behind-the-scenes role, like maybe stage manager or AV or cue cards, so I was nervous. We were getting ready to switch classes and then . . .

I was somewhere else, very far away, in a busy city. I didn’t recognize it, so it probably wasn’t New York, but I felt like all I needed to do was get over a bridge and I would be able to figure out which way to go to get back to Cranford. (Why Cranford? I don’t live in Cranford.) I struck out towards a nearby bridge (I have no idea how I knew the bridge was there, or whether it was the right bridge), and started running.

Except that I couldn’t run. Something was keeping my legs from stretching very far, so I had to kind of hop and jump. Then suddenly there were people all around me, all running to get to the bridge, and I panicked because I was hobbled and everyone was passing me. Then I realized that I was wearing a jeans skirt that had slipped down so far that it was squeezing my legs. So I yanked it up and was very relieved to be able to run, then thought “Shit, my skirt was so far down that I’ve been mooning everyone behind me this whole time. Oh well, never mind, at least I’m running now.”

Then I wasn’t on the bridge. Instead, I was in a dark room with lots of fabric on the wall and there was a man relaxing on the floor, or maybe a bed, and he was eating some kind of huge souffle or bread. He looked a little like Harry Belafonte. A woman came out of nowhere and told me he’s a bike messenger and can take me where I need to go. But first, he needed to finish his breakfast. There was kind of a pimp/prostitute vibe to it that made me uncomfortable, so I told her I was in too much of a hurry and I wasn’t sure I had money anyway, and I ran off . . .

. . .into a place that was like a combination between a mall (what’s with malls in my dreams?), a game show set and a circus. I kept trying to get people’s attention to ask them which direction to go, but they were all too busy either running a game show, or a three-ring circus, or working at the stores. There were no spectators or shoppers, just people running things. I kept trying to find a path through the chairs and set elements to get their attention, but I was on the outside of everything and there was no way inside. I wondered how everyone on the inside had gotten there, and then I was . . .

. . . in an airport. Yes! I could get a flight! Except that I couldn’t figure out where the terminals were, or what the Departing and Arriving boards said, or where to buy tickets. And I realized that I also didn’t have my purse. However, there was a little wristlet dangling from my right arm (I took a moment to thank myself for preparing this life-saving wristlet before the dream began), so I checked inside and found my passport and some cash. Nothing else. No driver’s license, no credit cards, no phone. Knowing that I didn’t have enough cash to get a flight, I started running out of the airport.

Then bike messenger guy/Harry Belafonte showed up, and he had a second seat on his bike. How many tandem messenger bikes have you seen? I’m guessing one. I’ve now seen one. “Do you know how to get to Cranford?” I asked. “Follow me,” he said. Which seems kind of silly now that I think about it, since getting on the bike seat behind him would kind of require that I follow directly behind him at all times.

We got going pretty fast and I was feeling better about things, but suddenly we were back outside, in the same city where we started, and it was cold out. Mr. Belafonte stopped and made us get off because the sidewalks were icy and it was too dangerous to ride. I say “us” because there was now another person with us, a younger girl, maybe a teenager, very thin and pale. She started complaining that we weren’t riding, and I thought “Who are YOU to complain? This is MY ride! And wait a minute, why am I planning to pay this guy for the ride when all he’s doing is walking his bike beside us?”

I looked at my watch (suddenly I had a watch), and it was 1:00 p.m. I was so relieved. Even though I had missed the rest of my classes for the day, I could possibly make it back in time for the performance. Which I assume was in Cranford.

And then . . . I was in bed, the crazy dream was dissolving, and I heard someone splashing in the bath. Whoever it was came out of the bathroom and walked toward me, and I was embarrassed because I had a huge chunk of cheddar cheese in my hand and was about to cram it in my mouth.

Thankfully that whole last part was also in the dream, including the cheese. I woke up sweaty and panicked, my neck so stiff I could barely get out of bed, my jaws aching from (I guess) grinding my teeth.

I never found out if I made it to my destination . . . Probably because I haven’t made it there yet in real life.

Ok, never mind all you psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, mind readers, tarot card readers and fortune cookie makers, I think I just figured out the meaning of this dream and so many others before it. The question is, how many more of these awful dreams will I need to have?????!!!!!!

By the way, I learned this from a recent episode of the show “Explained”: A question mark and an exclamation point together are called an “interrobang.” I’m happy to have provided this explanation/exclamation for anyone who has always been wondering.

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