Friday, September 1, 2017


Normally I sleep well. At whatever hour I go to bed I fall asleep almost immediately, sleep uninterrupted for seven or eight hours, and get up when I feel like it (an advantage of retirement). Last night wasn't like that. I woke up anxious and angry sometime around 4:30. The reason was a dream. I was a teacher again, sitting at my desk in my classroom sometime after school, when I heard a commotion in the hall. When I got out there what I dreamt I saw was akin to bear-baiting. A big, normally good-tempered, mentally-challenged, kid was being harassed by a bunch of guys. He was red-faced, enraged, running one way and then the other after one or another of them as they ran away laughing. I knew them all. I tried to assert authority and end it but was entirely ignored. That's a teacher's nightmare. I woke up angry, still thinking of ways to get after those (imaginary) idiots.

From Patrick Kurp's blog this morning, `Steep My Senses in Forgetfulness':
One of the minor inconveniences of living through a hurricane is the unsatisfactory nature of sleep. Normally, I quickly and effortlessly turn catatonic after slipping between the sheets. The subsequent six or seven hours are erased as thoroughly as time spent under anesthesia during surgery. With a storm raging on the other side of the wall, with fears of water-logged books, drowning pets and family members, days without air-conditioning and no cold lemonade, sleep is a sweaty, Coleridgean slide show of distasteful visions. One night I revisited the worst boss I have ever had, who died more than thirty years ago, and she was unhappy yet again with the job I had done. In dreams, we all return to childhood, a terrible fate. Boswell, during his adventure in Scotland, and without the help of a hurricane, would have understood. In the entry on this date, Sept. 1, in 1773, he writes in The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1785):
“I awaked very early. I began to imagine that the landlord, being about to emigrate, might murder us to get our money, and lay it upon the soldiers in the barn. Such groundless fears will arise in the mind, before it has resumed its vigour after sleep!”
Like Boswell, my newly awakened mind is murky on the best of mornings, before it has “resumed its vigour.” ....
Normally in the morning my mind "resumes its vigour" rather quickly and if I have remembered dreams, good or bad, they fade from consciousness quickly.

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