I try to stay cheery as much as I can. I avoid being serious as much as I can, and even when presented with attacks on my character I often try to disregard them or make jokes. This often has the unintentional effect of making me seem weak, oblivious, or daft, but I allow it and move on with my day. It’s not that I fear confrontation, that I can’t stand up for myself, but because I’ve found that by making this change, I’ve created a very friendly environment, at least in my own headspace.
I like acting unaware sometimes because it detaches me from the monotony of everyday life. During finals, college applications, or other stressful moments in my life, I find that I myself am never as stressed as my peers, often they go on about how late they stayed up studying and how stressed they are, and I’ll chime in occasionally, but all-in-all I don’t contribute much because it isn’t the case for me. I feel as though my seemingly carefree attitude has translated into the parts of my academic life that don’t affect my performance, thankfully.
But I stray from the main idea of my post – I don’t like to take myself too seriously. I like being able to laugh at things that some friends would otherwise correct me for, trying to change me for whatever reason. Because of those little things, the incoherent gibber-jabber I have with myself walking down the stairs from lunch, the little dance I do on the curb by the hill of the English classroom, all these things keep me sane during the most stressful time I have ever been through in my life.
This method always works perfectly well until it doesn’t. It could be a few simple things throughout the day. I get blamed for the failure of something that I did for a group, I get called out for something I have to defend myself for, something that forces me to drop my jokes and get angry, that’s when it all comes flooding in, the test scores, the admissions calls, the loaded commitments. It’s moments like these I have to pull over on the side of the mountain road leaving school, I have to roll my window down and watch the sunset as the lights turn on over Ojai Ave. as the road clogs with headlights of every vehicle in town, and call my parents. My parents taught me to live my life embracing the positives, they reflected this idea in their own lives, making jokes and keeping me calm throughout all the hardships that they encountered when I was a child. After a few minutes of this, I hang up the phone, roll up my window, turn my music back on, and I’m ready to keep on chugging along.
Last year, something horribly tragic occurred on a large road about a quarter mile away from my house. In the early morning, around 4am a car crashed into a tree carrying four teens, three of them dying on impact. It was horrific, I didn’t learn about it until later that day. However, the night of the accident I had a horribly lucid dream in which I woke up in my bed and it was pitch black. The only reason I could see anything was because of the pale blue tint to the pitch black night, my windows were open and I could see out into my street. All of the sudden a shuddering scream arose in the distance, so prominently loud, accompanied by millions of other screams; the world was crying around me, falling into indescribable chaos. I was confused to begin with, until I could feel the feel screams shift as if they were a wave, the amplitude approaching my street, and it was in that moment that I completely froze. It felt as if every soul, petrified in doom, burst out in a thunderous cacophony of deafening terror, a vocal representation of the gothic interpretation of hell. I was unable to move. It felt as if the screams were searching, surveying the world for a single living thing, for me, and any movement I made would lead them straight to me. So I waited, I sat there and waited as the apex of noise approached, peaked, and as it passed I simply awoke. I checked the time to see if I could return to sleep and I saw that it was only 4:30 in the morning so I could get back to sleep, it took a while but I returned to sleep peacefully, although still bothered by the dream I just had. I woke up that morning with the dream lingering in the back of my mind but without much worry attached to it, so I went about my day as if nothing had happened, because to me, nothing had. We went out to lunch, on a different road from the wreck, and when we returned we came down that road where my father told me about the conversation he had with one of our neighbors earlier about the wreck and how it had happened there early in the morning yesterday. And as the words left his mouth the feeling of dread became so strong that I couldn’t speak. I just sat there dumbfounded as we approached the site of the crash where a candlelight vigil was being prepared.
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Recently I had a dream no different from most, I was at a grocery store with an old friend of mine. It used lightbulbs that just made the store appear sickly (obviously not LED), the flickery hospital lighting that evokes the smell of latex gloves from nowhere. Anyways, apart from the lights that bothered me a lot, the shelves were only partially stocked, but they were all stocked wrong and without any tags. This made it especially difficult to find the ramen that my friend and I had gone in there looking for. After wandering through rows of of tall, black, and poorly built shelves with pretty much anything thrown on them, we finally came upon the milk section. Now this was a bit of a problem because we had gone in there looking for ramen, and I was now browsing cartons of milk that looked as though they smelled like goat urine. After my brain had somehow remembered that the dream had begun with the task of looking for ramen, we began to move away from the milk and towards the rest of the store.
Now, personally I do not know why I so vividly remember this dream. I can only attribute it to me having had a boring day, and the dream being the only interesting thing that had happened to me since the morning.
When we finally came across the ramen, it was behind some boxes of Chinese snacks that I can only describe as milky bread sticks. The ramen was also sub-par because it was the off-brand Korean kind that was made to burn your eyebrows off that once made me sneeze chili powder. I was upset but still willing to take it, because after an extended period of time in a poorly managed grocery store that I have dreamt about many times before, I was getting fairly irritable. However, this is when my hulking, pigmy of a friend decided to grab it and run off.
I was furious, I had just wasted so much time staring at milk, wandering through aisles of nothing, and putting up with stress-inducing incandescent lighting, all to have my crappy ramen stolen away from me. Normally, this is where I would wake up, barge downstairs, and make myself food, but my dream-self was feeling particularly determined tonight. I continued searching for ramen, I spent hours searching the shelves of the store, running into half-asleep janitors, and many soulless patrons, destined with the same fate as I was.
After my search of the store came up empty, I somehow stormed myself to the loading dock in the back of the store that for some reason was also the location of the dumpster. It was beside this dumpster that I had found almost exactly what I was looking for, garbage bags full of contaminated ramen noodles. I do not know why I thought to look in the trash bags, I do not know how I knew they were contaminated, and I also do not know why I eventually took two bags home, but I do know that the story did not end well for me.
I don’t remember exactly how the dream ended, I eventually woke up, and I remember being fairly put off by the end, but as is common with dreams, I quickly forgot it. I didn’t find much meaning behind this dream. This is by no means the first dream I have had about grocery shopping, those have always been quite common for me. I didn’t think about the dream again until I came home that day from school, and saw that among some of the things my mother had bought from the grocery store was a few packets of ramen. Needless to say, I did not eat the ramen. That was the night I discovered that perhaps store bought ramen wasn’t for me, that was also the night that I discovered I was clairvoyant. So if there’s anything you should take away from this experience, and I seriously doubt there is, I’d say it’s probably to use LED bulbs, because they won’t cause irrational and dangerous decision making like incandescent bulbs do.
Photo Credit: Imgur.com