This past weekend I ran my 500th mile of the year. In honor of this occasion, I’d like to share with you a dream I had recently.
In this dream, I was housesitting for my sister, who was out of town. I had just walked into her apartment when I realized with horror that the apartment had been broken into. Even scarier, I soon figured out that the burglars were still there. Instead of getting the hobnob out of there, I did what any respectable dream-self would do: I walked right up to the burglars.
“What are you doing in here?” I boldly queried them. They turned towards me, contemplating my mean mug, and then silently but deliberately approached me. Since these bad guys seemed unwilling to engage in an honest conversation about why in Beelzebub’s name they were in the apartment, and since I had nothing else to say at this point, I decided it was an excellent time to get on out of there. So I started running.
Here is the part of the traditional chase dream narrative where the protagonist feels stuck in mud, like time has slowed down, or as if her sluggish muscles are no longer willing to cooperate with her desperate brain. I’ve had several dreams over the years that are exactly like that: something is chasing me, but I cannot for the life of me move faster than a frog stuck in an especially slimy bog.
This dream was nothing like that. I spun away from those bad guys and headed for the hills, running as fast as I like to imagine I would run if I were competing in a middle-distance Olympic race. Outside the dream-apartment was a winding corridor, and I high-tailed it through that hallway.
I ran and ran, then looked over my shoulder to see how the chase was coming along. The bad guys were running after me, but they weren’t gaining any ground.
At that point, my dream-brain thought to itself, “I can run faster and farther than these bad guys.” And that’s exactly what I did. I ran until the bad guys got tired and stopped chasing me.
I have no idea what happened to my sister’s dream-belongings. While I ran my dream-heart out, the bad guys almost certainly went straight back to her apartment and finished their ransacking. Sorry about that, Meredith. My dream-self is a great runner, but a terrible housesitter.