I enjoy hearing other people’s dreams. When someone tells me they had a strange dream, I pester them until they describe it. Some of my friends know this, and they email me their dreams, whenever they remember them. This is quite considerate, since it saves me the energy from pestering. Very often, their dreams have something to do with the activities or T.V. shows they indulge in, something related to their job, or something they are afraid of. I hear a lot of dreams involving teeth falling out, being chased, falling, and being naked in public, which are all among the top 10 most common dreams people have. In movies, people who suffer traumatic events have recurring deams about that one catastrophe. While I sometimes have a few dreams that fall into those categories (see teeth), more often than not, the dreams I remember do not seem to be connected, in any way, to what I’ve done, or what I’m currently interested in. Instead, I have dreams about robot conspiracies. This seems odd to me. Why am I not dreaming about American Idol, or Vince Vaughn, or dark tornadoes smashing my house to smithereens? If nothing else, you’d think I’d dream about something scary that happened when I was little. Something I think about a lot, but have never dreamt about, is an incident that people in my family refer to as “The Accident”.
In 1983, my parents and I were in the car, driving home from Bath Middle School, where my mom was doing her student teaching internship. My dad was driving our light blue Plymouth Volare, that they had purchased from my grandparents, and owned for 2 months. My mom was in the passenger seat, and I was in the back seat, sitting behind my dad. I remember being promised some McDonald’s fries from the drive-through. This was a pretty big treat, since my parents were somewhat strict about what I ate (They only let me eat sugar cereal once per year, near Halloween. How excited I used to get about Count Chocula! Note: They gave this strict nutrition policy up by the time my sisters were born). It was dark out, as we were leaving a night-time event (School carnival? Curriculum night?). As we were driving, I heard my mom draw a sharp intake of breath and then say my dad’s name “….CHUCK!” From the way she sounded, I knew something was wrong. But, I had no idea what it could be. I was sitting in the back seat, so couldn’t see what was going on up front. My 3 year old brain imagined someone throwing a brick at the windshield. A few moments later, a huge crash occurred, and our car stopped moving. I didn’t realize it then, but we had been hit by a drunk driver, who swerved into our lane and hit us head on. I also didn’t know that my mom wasn’t wearing her seat belt, but I did know that she wasn’t okay. I couldn’t see her anymore, but I could hear her. She was moaning. “Ohhhhhhhh…………oohhhhhhhh”, a horrible sounding noise, over and over. Her head had smashed into the dashboard upon impact. I could still see the back of my dad’s head, and from that vantage point he looked okay (I couldn’t see the abrasions across his chest from the shoulder strap seat belt. With his shirt off, you could see right where the seat belt was, even though he was wearing a thick suede coat when the accident occurred).
He asked me, “Christine, do you have your seat belt on?”. I answered yes. I was the only one in that car who was perfectly fine. Then he asked me again, “Christine, do you have your seat belt on?” I answered yes, again. He kept asking…and asking…over and over. I guess that’s one of the side effects of being in shock. Scary, but a whole lot better than moaning. I’m not sure how many times he asked, and I answered, until I yelled at him, “DAD! I HAVE MY SEAT BELT ON!” I don’t remember if he ever stopped asking or not.