I get by with a little help from my Friends
In a dream I had in September 2003, Chandler Bing from Friends is attempting to write a screenplay or novel of epic proportions. However, he is advised that he would have more success if he wrote about his bashful bladder syndrome: the inability to urinate on demand or in the presence of others.
Next, Chandler is alone in an upscale dining car on a train. He has already finished his meal and paid the waiter. The waiter returns with his change, which is all in coins, and stacks them in two large piles on the tablecloth. Chandler starts stuffing the coins into his pockets but realizes he does not have enough room, and that he cannot stuff them up a third "pocket": his penis.
Chandler clearly represents me as I have similar writing ambitions and have had the same bladder problem. The dream seemed to suggest that there is something about shy bladder syndrome (avoidant paruresis) that is more important than anything else I have written on this website.
My presence on the train suggests my life is on a predetermined track. Traveling by train is also an old-fashioned form of transportation associated with romantic liaisons. Alas, since I am traveling alone, this dream does not bode well for my love life. The piles of coins suggest stinginess or hoarding and my inability to shove them up my penis may reflect a kind of vagina envy. Women can use their sexuality/vagina to "collect and store" money. I don't have that "third pocket."
Strong voices In a dream from January 2004, I am in my own temple or church, which has dramatic lighting and other "special effects." People who stand up and speak in the temple find their voices are like thunder. Three of my followers enter small, round columns from which huge eyes emerge on top.
Ross Gellar arrives to debunk this magical temple. He pulls open large curtains to find contraptions that explain the phenomena. Gellar shows that he can also change his voice. At this point, even I am convinced and wonder if I have wasted all my time on my spiritual endeavors.
Ross starts looking for a woman hiding in the temple. She must emerge soon, says Gellar, because she can only breathe for five minutes while hiding. He opens various large wooden cabinets around the altar but they are empty. I then see a plaque that shows the profile of a woman and her daughter who disappeared a few years ago in the temple and were never found.
If Ross, like Chandler, represents me, then the dream indicates that I am skeptical of my own spiritual abilities and beliefs. The machine behind the curtain suggests that scene in The Wizard of Oz in which the wizard is revealed to be a mere mortal. I have three followers or three aspects of my being who have great perception, as indicated by the prominent eyes on the columns. The woman in hiding may be the dark goddess who figures prominently in many of my theories. The plaque seemed suggestive of a Madonna and child tableau.
Mismatch In a dream on April 15, 2005, I am at my wedding in what seems to be a courtyard of a mountain resort. As the ceremony draws near, I pick up a gray sport coat off a bed in the courtyard and put it on. Apparently, I will not be wearing a tuxedo.
In the distance I see Rachel Green confiding to someone that she would have married me if I had told her how I felt about her. Instead, I will be marrying her friend (but not one of the Friends). The bride approaches. She appears to be wearing a cream-colored or light pink wedding gown and veil. I barely recognize her. She appears old, unattractive and unhappy. Now, members of the wedding party start to hug. My mother joins the group and gives and receives hugs. I then remember that I had forgotten to introduce my mother to anyone.
At the time of this dream, I had met a woman through Match.com. After three dates, we were on the verge of a more intimate relationship, though I was not emotionally involved. The dream seemed to suggest I should be looking for something more, so I called off the relationship. I did have an off-and-on, hot and cold, Ross and Rachel-type relationship with a woman who lives in Southern California. The dream may have been suggesting I should marry her.
On the other hand, when I posted this dream on a dream forum, a woman replied that all wedding dreams are "bad news." That assessment seems to reinforce my experience of finding that the subject of marriage engenders extremely high expectations, an ongoing low-level anxiety attack, and an unpleasant breakup. I have always been puzzled by this predicament. I was never a person looking for a string of sexual conquests. I always felt I was a level-headed person who would have no problem "settling down."
Strange poker In a dream on May 28, 2005, I am at a long, narrow table playing poker. Each player gets nine cards and must discard four to leave the best five. Because of the shape of the table, I cannot see the faces of several of the players.
The cards, even the number cards, all have pictures on both sides, but the card designation is split. For example, the five of diamonds would have the number five on one side and the diamond on reverse. Thus, it is difficult to quickly tell the quality of your hand. It occurred to me later that your opponent can see at least part of your hand.
The chips seem translucent, in neutral colors. I don't know their value and ask the player to my right, who says they are each worth 1,000.
I play a second hand, but feel rushed because it is hard to figure out the cards. I put in one chip and play what seems to be a heart flush, although I wonder if one of the cards was actually a diamond. Nobody examines my cards to confirm I have a winning hand.
The poker game is followed by a short party or some other social event. As I leave and walk though the courtyard of what seems to be a castle, I am intercepted by Phoebe Buffay, who is wearing some kind of medieval costume. She asks, in an annoyed tone, "Are you sure you want to come to another of our events? You don't believe women should plan their own pregnancies."
I am trying to reply with some statistic like, "For 90 percent of history, 90 percent of women didn't choose when to become pregnant," but a carriage suddenly pulls up and I step inside.
Inside the carriage, a seat and shoulder belt automatically close on me. I assume this is a horse-drawn carriage though I never see any horses. In front of me, in a dark compartment, are two people facing forward, their heads and shoulders covered by a single blanket. I suspect something is wrong. I call out to them, demanding an explanation, and they make some reply or gesture that confirms I am being kidnapped.
I manage to struggle out of the seat and shoulder belts and I am about to force open the door of the carriage when the dream ends.
The poker part of the dream could mean that the rules of the Game of Life are arbitrary and easily misunderstood, and other players may see a side of your life (the two-sided cards) that is not readily visible to yourself. There seems to be an historical dichotomy: A woman from the Middle Ages making a contemporary statement about abortion, and a carriage that has features of a modern taxi. The kidnapping may indicate that one is abducted into and out of the dream world; the journey in the spiritual world is not in your control.
Phoebe's "right to choose" statement had me confused for a long time. Are the spirits speaking to me in my dream all pro-choice? I had an epiphany on January 1, 2006. If I am certain abortion is wrong, I don't need to go to the dream world for validation. Dreams address uncertainty and doubt. Phoebe was telling me to stand on my own. If I am sure of my convictions, I don't need dreams as a crutch.
Party pooper In a dream on June 1, 2007, I am at a "black tie" dinner with Friends cast members. We are seated at a large round table in the banquet room of a hotel. It is time for me to leave. Joey Tribbiani has promised to drive me home but he protests, "It's only 6 p.m." Nevertheless, he relents and we leave the table.
In the hotel lobby, I am a few steps ahead of Joey, who has fallen back and is walking among a group of people. I exit the building and wait on the sidewalk for Joey. He doesn't show up. After waiting some more, I walk to his car in the parking lot and wait for him there, but he never shows up.
The dream seems to suggest I am a "party pooper" who can never be a spontaneous, sociable person like Joey. However, since I am the incarnation of the Egyptian sun-god “Re at noon,” I must be home before the sun touches the earth, so leaving at 6 p.m. is not unreasonable. I can never be a "night person."
Like duh In a dream on October 4, 2010, I am in the living room of a party or gathering with several women. I see a naked woman on the carpet but her breasts seem fuzzy and they appear flat with no nipples. When I look again, though, I see full breasts and nipples. Next, a girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, is sitting next to me on a sofa. She lingers close to me. I don't know how she got into the dream. Perhaps she slipped into my subconscious a few days earlier when I read the first few paragraphs of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, which I found on a shelf of the local Target. In the book, Chelsea Handler describes how, when eight years old, she attended a sleepover party where girls got "the feeling" by "violently rubbing their vaginas."
Next, in the dream, I go alone to a bedroom. My mother is on one side of the bed, concealed under the sheets. She says, “Sit down.” I sit on the side of the bed and say, “When this crowd leaves in two or three hours, we can go back to our own bedrooms.” She says, “There were a lot of women in there.” I lie down. She turns to me and says, “Like duh.” But it’s not my mother. It’s Courtney Cox in lingerie. As I am about to embrace her, I wake up.
The “like duh” seems to be an admonition that I should recognize the obvious symbolism: I am projecting my mother onto the women I see, which is causing a problem in my sex life. While I had a seemingly satisfactory relationship in the 1980s, that was with a woman more than 20 years older than me. The Courtney Cox in the dream seemed to be the actress of today, not the younger Monica from Friends, perhaps a suggestion that I need to put the past behind me. By "coincidence," Cox stars in Cougar Town, a TV show about older women dating younger men.
A dream like this would have been more helpful 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. Oh well, better late than never.
Images Friends © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., fair use; Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, fair use