Dreaming of Whales Dreaming

I have long been fascinated by that narrow borderland between consciousness and unconsciousness. It’s a surreal place indeed. The creativity there is something I could never duplicate in the waking world.

Whenever I’m roused just as I try to make my way toward REM sleep, invariably the image that’s in my head at that moment is as surreal as a Salvador Dalí painting. Things defy gravity. They do not behave as one would normally expect. One time a ringing phone woke me up and caused the image in my head to pop like a soap bubble. That was disconcerting.

The archway to dreamland is an uncanny place where I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I lingered too long. The waking me prefers it when things follow the rules of physics. I like being able to predict outcomes. And if I’m honest, that border region feels slightly ominous. Like the old maps used to say, “Here there be dragons.”

One time, back when I was a freelance closed-captioner, I was desperately sleep deprived but trying to meet a deadline. One minute I was watching the movie and typing in the text across the bottom, and the next minute I was drifting. When my head bobbed down it woke me up.

When I looked at the screen, I noticed that I had typed, “Dreaming of whales dreaming.” This had nothing to do with the medical documentary that I had been captioning, but it had everything to do with the world I pass through every time I go to sleep.

Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí

8 thoughts on “Dreaming of Whales Dreaming

  1. Angiportus

    That’s dreams for you. I sometimes have nested dreams, in which I wake twice before I’m really awake.
    Always liked that Dali pic. I recall making a crayon copy of it when I was 9.

  2. lyn sutton

    Dragon dreams can be opportunities of exploration and enlightenment if you can get past the fear. I find lucid dreaming helps with that by giving me some control.
    I wonder what dragons dream of. 🙂

  3. lyn sutton

    It’s a strange feeling to be aware that you’re dreaming. I don’t take complete control or the dream would cease to be a dream and I wouldn’t learn anything new. Comes in handy with nightmares though…if it gets too scary I wake myself up and if a dream gets interrupted, but I get right back to sleep, I can pick up where I left off and complete it.

  4. Okay, here is my response to this post. I so relate. The weirdness of the worlds colliding when the veil is thin between sleep and waking most often occurs for me in the 5am-7am hours…and I have learned to not overthink my dream interpretations. I do have a question though and that is HOW was it to be a closed-captioner writer? Wow, another cool job to have done, bridgetender!

    And, there have been some dreams that I have had repeatedly, in bits and pieces, or day after day. The one of waking up eating a banana (that went poof upon waking) always intrigued me as a child.


    1. My dog Quagmire often wakes me out of REM. I sometimes wonder if he isn’t sitting there waiting to see my eyes moving back and forth under my closed lids.
      Captioning was kind of fun! I’ve blogged about it a few times if you want the details. I liked making extra effort to give the movies more meaning for people who can’t hear. But the pay was HORRIBLE. Like, a dollar an hour horrible. It’s mostly done by third world people. But I was working graveyard shift in Florida on the bridge, and had nothing better to do.

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