Sometime last night, I fell out of bed. I can't be more specific because, being asleep at the time, I did not note the time before hand and the clock radio was defunct afterwards. ("Before hand?" Is that a real phrase?)
I was blissfully dreaming at the time. Free entertainment nightly, directed and produced by my subconscious. Last night I was, once again, hanging out with a beautiful young woman who has been enthralled by me almost nightly for a few months now. She makes me laugh. She's affectionate although it's not usually about sex. I'm pretty sure we're engaged. Her family is usually around and seem to have adopted me as one of their own. Of course, they all change in age, nationality, personality, etc. from night to night -- this is dreamworld, after all -- but the underlying theme and foundation is there. And it is great!! Thank you, subconscious!!
So last night, my fiancé and myself were out in the woods clearing out some dead limbs and brush on her folk's land. Well, actually, I was doing the hard work and she was motivating me -- dancing around in khaki cargo shorts, flirting, teasing, taking my picture...
She became still and said, softly but clearly, "There's a snake near your left foot."
I was not alarmed. I get along pretty well with snakes, alligators, and reptiles in my dreams. When I was a little boy I used to have nightmares about trying to run from animals -- dinosaurs, wolves or bears, snakes, giant spiders. But gradually over time, I made my nocturnal peace with them. First with dinosaurs, then with mammals, and finally with reptiles and fish. Insects still bother me some in dreams.
I have a very loose theory about this. (All theories about dreams should be loose.) On the hypothesis (also loose) that everything in a dream represents a part of yourself, I kind of feel that becoming comfortable with animals sort of represents my maturing and becoming comfortable with my baser instincts. First the wild Bagman-like mammals whose trust I won over in adolescence. Then the darker more primitive reptiles. I don't know about the deep click-lacking mechanical DNA-based insects that still sometimes briefly freak me out in dreams but I assume that's coming.
BAGMAN: "Thanks for comparing me to a bear, but get on with the bleeping dream!"
So the snake at my left foot did not bother me even though it was a huge, fat copperhead. I simply nodded at it and gave it space by pulling myself up onto a stone wall with the help of an overhanging branch while my fiancé took a picture and giggled.
Then the branch snapped and a boulder on the stone wall came loose and I started falling backwards, hitting my elbow on...on...on the bedside table. Waking up can happen in a micro-second when you find yourself lying prone on thin air in pitch darkness.
Even though I am now an old fart, overweight and flabby, I still have muscle-memory from years of martial arts. I am very adept at falling down and my body always reacts (not that I do it all that often) by relaxing instead of stiffening up. A good way to avoid a broken wrist. So I submitted to gravity with a resigned grunt and waited to hit the floor beside the bed.
I didn't have to wait very long. Wham! And I was down. But it wasn't over.
The bed table had been hit by my elbow hard enough to topple over on top of me, spilling out a cup of pencil, two television remotes, the telephone, the clock radio, and a large lamp which no longer has a big ornate shade. I was lying on the floor under a downpour of objects.
There was a yelp from Daisy, our terrier-opossum mix mutt who sleeps half-under the bed and had been struck by the telephone. And there was hysterical screaming from my wife.
"Are you all right?!!!"
"Are you all right??!!!!!"
"ARE YOU..." etc. etc.
Karen was naturally more frightened than I was. From her perspective, she had heard a loud grunt and sigh and then the sickening sound of a body striking the floor and, naturally assumed that I had had a heart attack or stroke. This was followed by the succession of loud crashes and she assumed that the bed table had struck me and I had suffered a concussion. This was followed by Daisy's yelp and she assumed that I had killed the dog as well. "Are you SURE you're allright???!!!!!!!"
By then I was tired of trying to convince her that I was fine and just lay on the floor hoping that I would just fall back asleep and rejoin my lovely photographing nymph in the woods.
And then I heard Daisy growling at the phone. It had some off the hook and out of the receiver was coming the alien, female, robotic voice calling out in the darkness: "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and dial again. If you'd like to make a call..."