The case of the vanishing furniture

September 17, 2007

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The other night I had this dream that I came home, opened my door, and my living room had been completely emptied. As in, everything. Gone. Entertainment center, TV, DVD shelf, pictures off the wall, all my furniture, my filing cabinets with my most important documents. All completely gone as if no one had lived there. Who could or would steal everything?

I walked into the bedroom and all my stuff was still there, which seemed odd. I picked up the phone and called my mom, and frantically started telling her how everything had been cleaned out of my living room.

While on the phone, I walked back into the living room, and, to my shock, all of my stuff was back, albeit out of place. Shelves were disassembled, the furniture was away from the wall, and items were scattered about. It was as if a moving crew had just haphazardly moved all my stuff back into the room. This all happened in less than 30 seconds while I was out of the room.

Now, I've had far, far weirder dreams than this. But for some reason, the way this dream unfolded was truly unsettling. In the dream I was still on the phone as I walked back into my no-longer-empty living room, and now the conversation with my mom changed from how I had been robbed to how I must be losing my mind. I thought I was having some sort of psychotic episode.

Something about this was deeply disturbing, because it felt real and creepy and there was no way I could explain it. Eventually I woke up, but until I did, I had no sense that I was in a dream, and no explanation for what was happening.

It got me thinking that we're all prisoners of what our mind allows us to accept — or not accept. Why was this dream so convincing within its own constructs that I was sure I was losing my mind? I've had countless dreams where reality was much further bent or broken, where things made far less sense or veered into fantasy. What made this particular dream seem like it was actually happening to me rather than something I was watching like a movie? Is there some switch in our minds that allows us to dismiss the obviously false while being confused by the plausibly false?

To bring this all back around to a geek-culture reference, I was reminded of that scene in The Matrix where Morpheus first frees Neo from the Matrix, and asks him if he's ever had a dream that he was so sure was real. Neo reaches into a mirror and pulls out this liquid-metal stuff that starts covering his body. I've always found that to be a fascinating scene, because it taps into something true about dream states, about how they can occupy your mind and become more real than you would've expected.

Not to mention make all your furniture vanish and reappear. Dreamscape hooligan practical joker bastards.

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5 comments on this post

    I think you're right when you say that the mind can dismiss the plausibly false. We are more prone to acknowledge the plausible, and more likely to be frightened by it. You're right when you say that you've had weirder dreams. This is nowhere near the craziness you wrote about here: Now THAT's weird. Although I have to say, it's odd that you got all your stuff back, even if it was done haphazardly.

    Thanks for that Jammer, I always enjoy hearing about people's weird dreams. Sounded like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone...

    I think it's interesting how certain parts of dreams can stick out and intertwine themselves with real memories, thereby giving off the feeling that they seem like real memories too. I had a crazy dream last night, for example, but I can no longer recall the specifics of what happened. The one thing that sticks out, though, quite clearly and startlingly, is the head of B"Elanna Torres on the body of an octopus.

    There was this guy see. He wasn't very bright and he reached his adult life without ever having learned "the facts". Somehow, it gets to be his wedding day. While he is walking down the isle, his father tugs his sleeve and says, "Son, when you get to the hotel room...Call me" Hours later he gets to the hotel room with his beautiful blushing bride and he calls his father, "Dad, we are the hotel, what do I do?" "O.K. Son, listen up, take off your clothes and get in the bed, then she should take off her clothes and get in the bed, if not help her. Then either way, ah, call me" A few moments later... "Dad we took off our clothes and we are in the bed, what do I do?" O.K. Son, listen up. Move real close to her and she should move real close to you, and then... Ah, call me." A few moments later... "DAD! WE TOOK OFF OUR CLOTHES, GOT IN THE BED AND MOVED REAL CLOSE, WHAT DO I DO???" "O.K. Son, Listen up, this is the most important part. Stick the long part of your body into the place where she goes to the bathroom." A few moments later... "Dad, I've got my foot in the toilet, what do I do?"

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