Around August of 2020, my dreams became very small.
Maybe it’s the quarantine. The world has become very small. Can a brain run out of things to process?
It could be my stress levels.
For whatever reason, my dreams have become very small.
And I have become very aware.
There are places I can go to in my dreams. The same ones, over and over, cobbled together in a city that is at once Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, the French Quarter, downtown Las Vegas, and New York City all at once. There’s a lake. There’s a place that’s a cross between Disney World and various video games; last night, I spent quite a bit of time in a farming simulation that was also my high school and a community theater performance. Along with the familiar locations of my high school (often mixed with my middle school) and the community theater that is a jumble of both theaters I volunteer at, I can attend a nightmare mashup of the churches I attended as a child. There’s always a funeral going on! I can also go on vacation with my friends, ride jet skis, visit my grandparents’ lake house, or simply stroll the streets of my own village, which isn’t an exact replica but does contain the most anxiety-inducing grocery store ever designed.
Or the shopping mall.
It is every shopping mall and none. It is a closed-down mall, a 1980s throwback mall, a glitzy Detroit suburb mall, all in the same enormous building (one side of which is a second-run discount movie theater, another, a seedy strip mall).
Because I am lucid in these dreams, but still obviously dreaming, I occasionally treat myself.
But because I am lucid in these dreams, but somehow still awake, I occasionally treat myself. I wake up the next morning, confused as to why there are notifications that Wish has received my payment.
The first time this happened, I panicked, until I saw that I’d only spent three dollars on a charming little ring instead of eleven dollars for a set of ten crack pipes.
I don’t know why those always pop up in my recommendations.
The second time it happened, I’d spent twelve dollars, total. Nothing alarming. I’ve done this five times since August and as it turns out, I’m just as cheap in my dreams as I am in real life. Otherwise, I would have to seek some kind of treatment.
Most of the time, what I buy in my dream is nothing like what shows up in my mailbox. One night, I bought a huge potted plant and tickets to a Billy Joel concert. Waking in a panic, I found that all I’d ordered was a correction tape that prints little owls over your mistakes. Total cost: $3.87 after shipping.
Other times, I’ll dream of buying something adjacent to the product I’m actually sleep-buying. Nail polish in the night becomes an eyeliner/eyeshadow combo in the morn. Brass knuckles become a silicone mold for casting self-defense keychains from resin. They make sense. But none of them have been literal.
We’ve come through a lot of words here to get to my point: I have literally had a dream come true.
It is a hoodie. And it is beautiful.