I’ve been having wheelchair dreams since I was in high school. If you’ve read one of my dream world stories before, you may remember that I’m a lucid dreamer, and these can get very detailed. Today’s/last night’s was no different, and for some reason I feel a need to share it.
They go something like this, and it’s pretty much how it works every time. For some reason, I’m in a social setting, and I’m required to leave for a bit of time. I come back with my chair, and there’s some amount of awkwardness as no one wants to talk about it. For some, it’s just an invisible thing. Some actively ignore it, but on rare occasions there are those in my dream world who try to help me.
In this case, I’m watching a movie, with school classmates and some co-workers who do not like me. I come back to my seat after leaving it, and thankfully some patrons have left, making it easier for me to move into the same aisle and drag my folded chair behind me. I decide not to sit next to the woman who was next to me before, but several seats away. Only after I’m seated, and can hear her whispering to her cool kid friend while stealing glances my way, do I realize that directly in front of her there’s a gap in the seats where I could have just rolled the chair in and been done with it.
But why should I? I can walk, after a fashion, though sometimes I need help. The chair is a thing, part of my life I can’t deny. But it is not my whole life, and if I want to sit in an uncomfortable movie theater seat like everyone else I should be able to do so. No one is inconvenienced by the chair but me, but clearly nasty lady and her cool friend are affronted by the very concept that because of me and my chair, they might be.
Then I realize I’m wearing my bathrobe. I may or may not have come dressed like this, dream logic is funny sometimes. Further complicating things, the bathrobe is perhaps a size too small, and I, of course, am not wearing pants. What then, are the other theater patrons talking about? Which of my many imagined transgressions is it this time? One of the things I can control, or one of the ones that just happens?
It was none of the above. They keep talking, and I realize that I am invisible. Worse yet, I am slowly sinking into the seat, and no one is listening when I ask for help. Nothing halts this process, and when I am gone, the movie ends and people file out. The theater staff come and clean up after the show, taking my chair with them.
Dreams don’t always work out like you plan.
Sometimes, the wheelchair dream takes the form of a wheeled platform or a skateboard. This was a a fixture of the earliest ones, and in those dreams my hands and arms are remarkably strong. My and my wheels are faster and more mobile than anyone else, and can go places no one else can. In those dreams, it’s not a disability in any way. The cart/wheels/chair is just how I get around, and everyone accepts me for who I am.
A child’s dreams are different than those of an adult. Or a writer. A child dreams of a family who loves him, of acceptance, and of opportunity. An adult dreams about loss, and conflict.
Writers dream of messed up #%$^.
At a basic level, our dreams are ourselves, adapting to the challenges of the previous day and preparing us for our struggles to come. They help us work through our pain, and create better mind to shape the future.
Some day, I’ll be in the chair for real. I’ve already spent time walking with a cane, and these knees won’t last forever. I hope when that day comes, my world will be full of laughter and happy dreams. For now, I can stand, and walk, and dream what I want to dream.
P.S. I still have this comic book among my things. I regret nothing.