It’s universally understood that talking about your own dreams is entertaining, and listening attentively to someone else talk about their dream for more than 25 seconds is next to impossible. Having said that, quarantine dreams seem to hold our interest a beat longer than dreams would in average circumstances. They seem to be brimming with extra weirdness and symbolism lately, and somehow the bonafide Hieronymus Bosch garden inside our heads has become slightly more relevant to all parties.
My dreams haven’t veered too far from the norm—high school reunions, a return to the third-grade classroom, a ludicrous but urgent challenge to navigate some kind of labyrinthine house with people I haven’t seen in years, my recurring stress dream of packing my suitcase for a trip while the plane is already taxiing on the tarmac—but what intrigues and allures me most about my dreams is that right now they’re the only place where I can gather with other people, crowds of them, from outside my immediate household.
All the friends and family members I’ve talked to (at least those who’ve been able to summarize their dream in one exhale, before I tune out completely) seem to be dreaming in elaborate, pandemic-adjacent metaphors. Throughout these conversations, I’ve discovered that the trick to getting anyone to pay attention to your dreams is to summarize it in one absurd sentence.
Unlock the power of brevity. Take it from these MR readers, who deposited their coronavirus-era dreams into our virtual dream catcher:
• “Last night I dreamt I gave birth to a cat in a public restroom at the movie theater.”
• “My roommate brought a bunch of people who hadn’t showered recently into our very tiny spotless apartment and said they were here to stay. I almost jumped off the fire escape.”
• “Taylor Swift and I were acquaintances and she told me she wears a toupée.”
• “My grandmother and I did an elaborately choreographed routine to ‘Lucky’ by Britney Spears. I was a step behind the whole time but my effort was earnest and enthusiastic.”
• “I went to Disney World with Rihanna. Everybody was going on this ride that would catapult you into a river. I didn’t want to do it but I didn’t want to let Rihanna down.”
• “One night I dreamt that I found hand sanitizer at Trader Joes and was elated.”
• “I had a sick dog that I had to take to the vet. The vet turned out to be Chris Harrison, but from twenty years ago, before he hosted all of the Bachelor Shows. It was a strange combination of time travel, feeling like it was my audition for the bachelorette, and wondering when I got a dog.”
• “I went to the supermarket, but once I got in after queuing I forgot what I needed to buy. (I haven’t left my house in 16 days….)”
• “Chris Morocco from the Bon Appetit test kitchen FaceTimed me to help me clean my room. He was extremely helpful.”
• “I was at a rooftop bar with my sister. Because of the need for alcohol to make hand sanitizers, all the drinks were super expensive and being sold on weight. I remember placing an order for 4 vodka-sodas and the bartender told me that it would be $250. As I woke up, I was trying to do the math on the price difference for shots.”
• “I was part of the royal family but had to carry a huge carafe of gravy to the dinner table. Had to walk down many steps with it while members of the royal family watched me. Then I spilt the gravy all over me and Queen Elizabeth.”
• “I was hooking up with Timothée Chalamet, but he would ignore me when we were in public together and I was very upset with him.”
Have your dreams been different from subconscious-as-usual in quarantine? How so?
What? That’s crazy…
Graphics by Lorenza Centi.