For the first time in more than 15 years, I had a dream last night in which I had gone back to school–the University of California, Riverside, where I got my undergraduate degree–and I forgot to go to my classes.
I was wandering around a campus that was very different than the one I remembered. But recall walking into the library. There polished marble floors. Tall pillars holding up domed and arched ceilings. It was quiet and virtually empty–nothing like how I remember the Tomás Rivera library at UC Riverside. I knew the books were “downstairs” but I couldn’t find my way down. I ended up going outside, and getting lost. But as I walked the campus, I remember this serene feeling that I was doing the right thing, going back to school. I was at peace with it.
That peace did not last long.
I found my way to a group of people. Among them was Scott Edelman, who pointed out that the way to get back to the library was to follow the metro tracks across a small grassy area. At this point, I had two large suitcases with me, and had to race along the tracks a la the gang in Stephen King’s “The Body1” before the train knocked me off. I made it.
It was only while I was searching for the doors to the lower entrance of the library (no longer with suitcases–apparently, my imagination conjured them only to make that track crossing more exciting) that I realized that while I had been at the school for nearly a full quarter, I had only attended the very first day of classes.
I was sort of bewildered by this. Hadn’t I had dreams about forgetting to go to classes for years after graduating. And now, here I was back in school and I had actually forgotten to go to my classes.
I woke up at this point, relieved that it had all been a dream. But also troubled. I hadn’t had an anxiety dream of this particular sort in 15 years at least. I’ve had others, most commonly, one where I am getting current with my pilot’s license, and take off, only to realize that I have forgotten to contact air traffic control. But it has been a very, very long time since I had the dream about forgetting to go to class.
- Or, if you prefer, the movie version, Stand By Me. ↩