i was recently reminded of this (damn, i forget where), this recurring dream i had for a good twenty years. i’m back at school, usually high school. i don’t know where i’m supposed to go, or i’ve forgotten where my locker is, or i show up to class utterly unprepared — i know nothing! and there is a test! in most of these dreams, i’ve also forgotten some vital item of clothing, pants for instance, or sometimes i’m totally nude, trying to cover up with whatever unlikely thing was handy: bushes, books, scraps of things. naked in school! again and again.
twenty years of this. and i end up in an internship program through the local community college, almost three years ago. taking a couple classes, visual basic and intro computer science, and working as an apprentice webmistress at the company i’m still working for.
my life was a mess, i was a complete and utter flake, and it’s a miracle i still have this job, but i digress. in any case, i knew when the first day of school was, and i should have gotten decent sleep that night, but did not. i woke up late, leapt into my clothes, and headed to the campus, hoping i’d somehow find my way around, using only the odd memory abilities i’ve developed over years of disorganization. i tend to remember images of things, not photographic, but something like that. maybe like a visually phonetic memory. works better than you’d think, with exceptions, of course.
yes, it was only a community college, but the freakin’ campus was enormous, much bigger than i’d imagined even though i’ve lived in this area forever and i know, i know how huge it is. big. i’d hoped i’d see something that would would ring the mnemonic bell in my mind, but no. so, i was lost. and i’d forgotten my paper of what classes i was in, hell, i didn’t even have a pen let alone a notebook. thank goodness i remembered to wear pants. i was actually rather well dressed for the occasion, i looked like i belonged there, just a little older than most of the others, but still. i had the fashion aspect down.
but i was lost. and i panicked. i found the admissions office. it was late august, i had just walked several miles in circles, hyperventilating. i’m sure the stench of fear was upon me. in hysterical, hiccuping breaths i babbled to the first person behind the first desk ?i’ve had this dream a thousand times, i go back to school and i don’t know where i’m supposed to be and i don’t even have a pen and…?
the nice lady didn’t call the psychiatric assesment team, didn’t hit the security emergency button, didn’t make light of my predicament. in calm tones, she assured me that it would, indeed, be ok, and looked up my schedule on the computer. she handed me a printout, and when i went on about the no paper/not even a pen issue, she assured me that first days were not heavy on note-taking, but still handed me a nice legal pad and a pen. she gave me directions to the building i was already supposed to be in class in, and off i went.
i was so late at that point that my i missed my first day of my first class. it got better after that, thankfully.
and i never had the dream again.