I must admit to being rather surprised when people inform me that they do not remember their dreams. There are many friends of mine I've chatted with, a palaver or two over coffee in the morning before the drudgery of the day, whom when reviewing the musings of the unconscious mind, they suddenly announce with curious indifference that they don't ever remember what they dream about. Some of them will come back with vague feelings initiated by their dreams - happiness, unease, sadness, but they also lack that crystal clear recollection that can so easily prove to be the popular water cooler distraction in a work day.
As you might begin to glean from this missive, I remember my dreams quite well. I often have vivid recollections, be they uncomfortable, sensational or absolutely ridiculous. Whether the ability to remember is linked to both my lucid waking imagination or my unconscious one is irrelevant. Irrespective of either, the imagery stays - etched into my thinking and more often than not, a topic that can inspire giggles when it chooses.
Oddly, I will first admit to having reoccurring dreams. Not nightmares, mind, but certainly tell-tale markers that maybe there's stress in life; that I'm unhappy about something; or that I'm realizing the implications of having a teenager. The first is about being late. Truth be told, I have a bit of a phobia about being late, drummed into me by successive Chief Petty Officers in the Royal Canadian Navy (I do the same now that I've reached that dizzying rank) and the reoccurring dream I sometimes have is about running grossly and irremediably late. Usually it is to work, and if my wife is the cause (as she most often is) I'll upbraid her worse than a recruit or a delinquent sailor. It's an odd dream - one of those if something, even the most obscure can go wrong to make me late, it will. A series of catastrophic events that cascade into a maelstrom of tardiness, I often wake up angry and annoyed (and somewhat relieved) and find myself a bit put off for the rest of the day.
The second is an odd little dream about showing up to a university class only to find out that I have to write a final exam (clearly a hold over from my university days) The kicker is, for some reason, I never showed up for the class at all during the year and the completion of my degree is dependent upon it. This often changes into a befuddling cram session that last a few minutes of dream time followed by haphazard guesses to the answers on my test. Did I pass? I never find out in my dreams, but like the dream of lateness, I wake up perturbed and wondering why on Earth I would have taken a class in math as I pursued my degree in Military History.
Not all dreams follow this path though, for I find my wandering imagination can come up with the truly bizarre. Take for example my dream of sitting beside her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II enjoying a Justin Bieber concert during her Diamond Jubilee (I assure you, she had a smile, but I did not. The idea of sitting through a concert with the 'Biebs' is no joy. I'd rather step on Lego) My wife had a long chuckle about that one. My friend was most amused when I told him the dream of Jimmy Carter dressed as a Hussar who, while trying to mount his steed from a balance beam and fighting a bad hip, hopped about for a moment before falling off and dying of a head injury (sorry Mr. President. If you read this, it's not personal) The state funeral that followed was spectacular, but the imagery of the aged president with his Hussar pelisse and sabretache still raises a chuckle. There are the dreams about my hopelessly annoying cat, Hector, who will sneak outside at a moment's notice to lead me on a merry chase; the oddly prescient dreams of sailing on a minesweeper when it appears a sea posting is in the offing; and the curious imaginings that I both still smoke and still have hair (both left me many years ago).
In the end, I thoroughly enjoy my dreamscape, as perplexing as it may be at times, and I truly pity those that are bereft of the joy of seeing Jimmy Carter in a fur busby cap or tight-fitting dolmen jacket hopping on a balance beam.