Most people get anxiety dreams. I’ve never had the ones about being naked in class or at work, which are apparently common, but I get in spades the ones about not being properly prepared for something.
Most commonly, it’s about sitting a French degree exam on novels I had not actually read – and there’s an element of truth in that, because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened towards the end of my degree.
Another one that pretty much happened is the dream about being in a university G&S show, standing in the wings in baking hot costume and full makeup, hearing my cue, walking on stage, and then not being able to remember my lines. The closest I got to this actually happening was in Pinafore, when I totally dried when, as Sir Joseph Porter KCB, I was supposed to be singing the patter song. We’d had fewer than ten weeks of rehearsal, and no-one in the chorus knew the words either, so they were grateful when I managed to stutter out enough of a verse to give them a clue as to what their next words were. But not ideal.
Then there’s the occasional dream about getting to the end of a term at university and discovering, far too late to do anything about it, that there was an additional module I should have been turning up to for the last 10 weeks that just completely escaped my mind.
And even though I successfully completed two degrees many years ago, I still sometimes wake up in a cold sweat thinking, “If I don’t get this in to the office I won’t pass!”
The guy who writes XKCD gets it too, as do most people on the planet, I assume.
Since going on CDWM, I’ve started to have a new anxiety dream, and this one is just as vivid as all the ones about academic neglect.
In this dream, I spend all day cooking with the camera crew, entertain my guests, and finally put them all in taxis by the end of the night. I let the camera people derig, and I make the first tentative steps towards sorting out the bomb site of the kitchen – maybe even going as far as setting the dishwasher going.
Exhausted, at 4am, I finally lock up, turn lights off, brush my teeth and turn in, hoping for a long lie in the following day.
Just as I’m finally drifting off, the doorbell goes, so I haul my dressing gown on, pad downstairs… and it’s the film crew again.
“Didn’t we tell you?” the producer says, all big smiles and friendly like.
“You’re cooking two nights running this week!”