I was so intrigued by the dream poll that I decided to try to remember my dreams more. I had a nice long one last night, full of sexual and work-related symbolism. I think. Would you care to help me interpret it?

I had gone to a police station to do some kind of research, and was sitting at a desk they'd given me with papers and notebooks spread out on it, rather messy. I had a view outside the station, of a wide veranda like they have in India. A guy came in, and I started to stand and said "Steve!" (Who is an actual cop I know, and who did let me come into his office once to do some research.) But the guy was not actually Steve, and I sat down in some confusion.

Then there was a commotion, and a young cop ran up to me, grabbed my hand, said something about an emergency, and started running down the corridors, fast enough that he was actually pulling me. He shoved me into an office, turned out the lights, and said, "Lie down on the floor and don't get up until some one comes and tells you it's OK." Then he ran out. I crawled under a big metal folding table, which had a lot of hard plastic chairs around it, and wondered what the hell was going on.

After a while two other women, dressed as civilians, came and joined me under the table. We didn't talk. I crawled to the edge of the table and held one of the chairs by its thin metal legs, making sure I could lift it that way. It didn't seem like much protection should a gunman come in, but there didn't seem to be anything else around. (It didn't occur to me to lock the door.)

Then a big man flung open the door and stood there, menacingly pointing a big gun. I leaped up, holding the chair in front of me, charged him, used the chair to slam him up against the wall, yanked the gun out his hands, pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. It was a complicated gun, longer than my forearm, and I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. (That strikes me now as the most Freudian sentence ever!)

Then the lights came on and more people came in and it became clear that it was just a drill. Next thing I knew, me and a bunch of other civilians, who were apparently cops in training, were all sitting down around the table to discuss how we'd done in the drill. We got evaluation papers and everything. I was surprised to see that I had the lowest rank in the class, because I thought I'd done pretty well-- I'd disarmed the "killer," hadn't I? But everyone was saying that I had been stupid to rush him and in real life he would have shot me and I was supposed to have just stayed behind the chairs.

"But if we were supposed to have stayed behind the chairs, they would have stopped bullets, so why not use them as a shield?" I said.

No one was convinced. Then the teacher came in, a cop in uniform. I can't remember if he was the same guy who had played the "killer" or not. He was a big, genial black guy who reminded me of, but was not, a hazmat specialist I once took a class in emergency management from in real life -- a totally cool guy in real life, I should add. The other students pointed out that I had the lowest score on the practice drill.

As I was irritatedly defending myself while trying not to sound too defensive, I realized something: I was the only person in the class who hadn't known it was a drill! Everyone else had known all along! But since I hadn't even come there for the class, I had been totally fooled and had reacted as if it was real. I explained this. The teacher continued to be nice but firm. The students were totally unimpressed. The class moved on to the next step, an odd "memory exercise" in which we were all given ten or so small polished stone discs, and had to lay them out and then had to say a coherent sentence with one word per disc. I thought this would be pretty easy, but the first person to try hadn't even started yet, and was pondering it deeply, when suddenly...

I got my period. A huge gush of blood suddenly poured down my legs, very visible because I was bare-legged and wearing a skirt. I leaped up with a cry of "Excuse me!" and dashed to find a bathroom. In the tradition of dream bathrooms everywhere, the door didn't lock. As I was cramming paper towels into my underwear, all the students came barging in. A red-headed woman named Pamela (not someone I know in real life) told me that I really ought to quit, since I was obviously unsuited and was distracting everyone else.

I said sarcastically, "Well, excuse me for having female parts that bleed!" Then (lying; I'd just forgotten): "Look, I'm three days early, how was I supposed to know?" I still thought the situation could be smoothed over.

But when I returned to the classroom, everyone but the teacher seemed so hostile that I decided to give him my resignation. "I never even meant to be in this class to begin with, and I now realize that not everyone's cut out to be a cop, and I'm one of the ones who isn't."

I was hoping he'd say, "No, you are, stay." But instead he said, kindly but immovably, "It's good that you realized that."

Disappointed, I trailed off, looking for a bathroom where I could change. When I found one (after the obligatory long search) I discovered that I had forgotten to bring my pants. Sidling out half-dressed, I got stuck on the stairs while a ton of cops saluted the entrance of a general (Indian, I think) in a white suit. I was relieved when I finally managed to get out of the station, and found that I was in New Delhi, with a very non-realistic expanse of water stretching out before me, and a very pretty dawn.


Real life info that might help:

Despite the widespread thuggishness of the LAPD, I have rather positive feelings about cops as individuals; I know a couple on an acquaintance level, and was very flattered on the two occasions when cops have tried to recruit me.

When I was nineteen I pulled a friend out of a burning car. I thought that I was a hero, and was very pleased with myself. She was not so pleased, neither was her boyfriend, nobody ever said I was a hero or even had done the right thing, and the incident led to the permanent end of our friendship. This is such a long, complicated story that I used to tell it as a 20-minute performance piece. Years later, I told an abbreviated version of this story to Steve, the cop who does not actually appear in the dream though I briefly mistook someone else for him, and was extremely gratified when he said that if I'd been one of his people, I'd have gotten a medal for valor.

Finally, the overall mood of the dream was not anxiety or fear, but annoyance at no one appreciating me the way I felt I deserved.

...interpretations? Other than that I think people should appreciate me more?

From: [identity profile] loligo.livejournal.com

No interpretations to offer at the moment, but now I am very curious as to how your friend could possibly not be pleased about GETTING PULLED FROM BURNING CAR.


From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

It's a long story, but her stated objection was that she would have gotten herself out perfectly easily, and my panicked yanking and dragging caused her to sprain her ankle.

I think the real issue was that her boyfriend, the driver, ran for the hills "to get help" and if she'd admitted that I saved her she'd have also had to admit that he hadn't. Therefore, he had to have been sensible and I had to have panicked unnecessarily, and also the situation had to have not been all that serious.

In my defense, my recollection is that she was asleep in the back seat, and her seatbelt jammed and wouldn't unlock (a problem it had had before), which is why I yanked her out without unbuckling her. Also that the engine was entirely aflame, and burning oil was dripping down and forming burning pools under the car.

From: [identity profile] loligo.livejournal.com

I can pretty safely say that even at the drama-prone age of nineteen, I'd have picked you over the boyfriend.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

I wish you'd been there! Unfortunately, that was just the most dramatic of many incidents in which various female friends picked their boyfriends over me. In fact I don't recall anyone ever picking me over their boyfriend, though perhaps people often have and I just didn't realize there ever had been a choice.

...Yeah, I'm still bitter. I blame the patriarchy.
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (just crazy)

From: [personal profile] genarti


Yeah, uh, I'd take your intervention over supporting my fleeing boyfriend any day of the week, especially in an ACTIVELY BURNING CAR. Even if I actually could have gotten out more easily myself, I would not begrudge a friend's panicked help in, as stated, an ACTIVELY BURNING CAR.

I call you a hero for that one, too.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Thank you!

Yeah, that was basically the way I felt too.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

What a... carefully constructed mental world she must live in. That can't be healthy, for her or potentially for people around her (I'm no expert, but it sounds like the same sort of mentality that can ignore child abuse, because clearly the person one knows couldn't have done that, so it didn't happen).

I think it's pretty clear your actions were correct. I mean, just do a simple upside/downside analysis:

1. Pull friend from car with burning engine
Upside potential: if the car catches fire (all over, that is), friend is alive
Downside potential: pulling friend out of car may cause her a minor injury

2. Do not pull friend from car with burning engine
Upside potential: no risk of causing friend a minor injury
Downside potential: if the car catches fire, friend is dead or severely burned

Pretty much any kind of sensible analysis you do on this problem will tell you to pull the idiot out of the car if there's any significant chance that the car as a whole will in fact ignite (I could do it as a game theory table, too).

I don't imagine you did this kind of analysis in the event, but clearly your instincts are good.

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com

I thought I'd done pretty well-- I'd disarmed the "killer," hadn't I?

I endorse your dream-logic.

The double-surprise scenario -- being betrayed by withheld knowledge and then by explosively weird biology -- looks like a straight-up paranoia/anxiety dream, in a lot of ways. Nobody in the dream appears willing or even able to accept contextual factors; and judges you based on preconceived categories that don't relate to your actual skills and actions. I find it interesting that the first dismaying scenario is classically masculine (police station, guns, fighting) and the second classically feminine (period, unsupportive women using words as weapons). As if you haven't got a side to turn to, you know? The end of the dream, with hiding and sidling away in quasi-defeat, and then emerging into a place that is weighted with childhood memory, suggests this is a dream about feeling systematically alienated and unappreciated.

(I should say, I have recurring dreams about rescuing people. But in my dreams, it's always about that emergency rush of the during, and I often wake up before any aftermath can occur. So even if any of my dream-rescues had gone unappreciated, I woke up before I could tell them, "Well fine! Go DIAF for all I care!!")
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

From: [personal profile] cofax7

Next time I have a crazy dream (that I remember!), I'm totally telling it to you for interpretation.

Also, Rachel, I totally think you're a hero. Go you.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

That makes a lot of sense.

Upon reflection, another interesting thing is that in the dream, I was convinced that I was right -- that jumping the gunman had been the right thing to do, that bleeding in class shouldn't disqualify me -- and I think maybe that's the key element: not just that people don't appreciate me, but that, in jobs and relationships, they're ignoring me in favor of inferior parties because they don't actually want excellence.

...I think I am annoyed with my employers. And with men who don't want to date me.

From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com

Sounds to me like hindbrain is sick of the "No, but..." crap that women get all the time. "No you still aren't really valid/worthy of respect/A list Player because you just..." "you only..." because you bleed.

From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com

Anxiety dream? I have that "no one believes me" thing and am always distressed by it. But the pretty dawn means you're really past whatever it is? Or else you're not, and the pretty dawn was your brain soothing you. And why was that tied up with New Delhi?

I suck at analysis.

From: [identity profile] green-knight.livejournal.com

Your 'friend' is unbelievable. I'm sorry, I know that in real life people act like that, but this is not how human beings *ought* to react. FWIW: you judged the situation, you acted to minimise damage. Getting it wrong in the direction that the car woulnd't blow up and she'd twist an ankle is *far far better* than getting it wrong in the way that the car _does_ blow up and she can't get out. Your reaction was, whatever the circumstances, one hundred percent sane. There are times when you can't stick around and wait, and even if your judgement of the situation had been wrong your action was not. I'd like to think someone like you would be around if I got ever stuck in a burning car.

Jumping the gunman sounds like an exact translation of that situation into a different symbolism: You're in one reality - the one where the situation is dangerous and someone needs to act and you have the means to act and you succeed, while everybody else is in another (it's only an exercise/oh, nothing would have happened). Only this time your dream says that 'they are right' (see, here's the trainer to proove it was an exercise) and you were obviously wrong.

I'm finding the second part much harder to interpret. In real life, if you hadn't been informed and got it wrong and then messed up some more: would you have quit?

From: [identity profile] thecityofdis.livejournal.com

Okay, so, I originally missed the disclaimer at the beginning that this was a dream, and I was like, Damn, I always knew she had chutzpah.

I'm a horrible dream analyst, but [livejournal.com profile] veejane sounds like they might be on to something. Or several somethings, in fact.

Also, I wish we lived closer because you are totally the kind of person I would want to hang out with all the time in real life. Is that weird?

From: [identity profile] thecityofdis.livejournal.com

I'd love to, and I'm certainly planning on it. Unfortunately, the way my schedule's running right now, I'll be headed for India (July 15) much sooner than I make it to Cali.
chomiji: Shigure from Fruits Basket, holding a pencil between his nose and upper lip; caption CAUTION - Thinking in Progress (shigure-thinking)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

Hmmm ... there were a bunch of uncooperative doors in this dream, weren't there ... or least doors you didn't control. A door was slammed behind you when you were pushed into the room, the door on the bathroom didn't work, and then you couldn't get to the door to leave the building. My favorite dream thingies say doors "typically represent possibilities and options," but if that's what's going on here, you didn't much get to exercise your options in this scenario.

To me, this feels like you may have recently chosen to get involved in some operation/situation that had an appeal to you - cops make a difference? cops save lives? cops are empowered to act? - but that's turning out to be less fulfilling and more stifling/mindless than you had hoped or expected. When you aggressively take on the very stereotypical masculine threat, you're told that's not what you're supposed to do, and then when your female side calls out for attention (while you're being made to do something rather stupid and pointless), they don't want you take care of that the way you think you should either. You're reluctant to leave, because you have some investment in what's going on (look, they are on the right side of things - they salute the guy in white!), but when you do take steps to escape, you have a new morning and your imagination/life force (the water) before you.

Anyway, that's how my brain wanted to play with what your brain produced. Any of it ring any bells?

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Hmm, maybe. Though there's been so many things like that in my life, I'm not sure which one I'm thinking of.

From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com

Wow. I think everyone else said the kinds of things I would have said (I liked the gendered stuff especially); you aren't able to function with a [male?] gun, the game is rigged and everyone knows but you so they 'know what to do', BLEEDING is some big deal instead of normal (and you feel like you have to lie to explain it away?), you 'give up' but secretly want the guy to ask you to stay.

BUT you GET AWAY. New Dehli is pretty and not the same as in real life. You have the chance to work out [whatever it is] outside of the constraints of gender limitations and lies!

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