Reading Katy's post on her strange dream reminded me what I first remembered when I got in the car to go to work this morning - that I had a pretty odd dream last night too.
I've never had the same dream twice, or really even a similar one, but I do have one major element - plot device? - that has been showing up in my dreams since at least High School. When I dream, I frequently find myself driving a car in which the breaks don't work properly. The breaks always mostly work, but typically even when I have the breaks pressed the whole way to the floor, and I am pressing as hard as I can, the car will still be moving slowly, and I am unable to get it to stop. Nothing bad has ever actually happened as a result, but in these dreams I'm always very nervous or scared.
Last night the car was a minivan, and I was taking care of someone else's baby, but this baby could talk and reason like a regular person. So as I'm putting the baby in the car seat in the back of the car, I realize that the car is drifting forward slowly. I close the door and get in the car myself, but someone else is driving, and since neither of us can get the car to stop despite braking hard and even turning off the car, I direct her to pull into another parking space that's on a steep incline. It works, and the car stops, but when I go back to make sure the baby's all strapped in correctly, I find that it has moved itself to the other seat in the car, and it is laughing at me because it tricked me! This whole time the baby has also been talking to me, but I have no idea what it was saying, just that it felt a little weird and I was exasperated that an otherwise cute baby was ruining my afternoon by acting like a sarcastic adult. The car eventually started drifting backwards out of the new parking spot, but I must have woken up before I figured out how to fix that problem.
I feel like Katy's dream fits pretty well with some of the stresses she talks about on her blog, Bonnie Hunt aside; but I really haven't ever thought of a compelling explanation for this car-that-won't-quite-stop-even-though-I'm-breaking-as-hard-as-I-can theme. I don't think dreams are ever predictive, unless it's of something we already know subconsciously, and generally I think my dreams are completely random amalgamations of my subconscious's mental diarrhea during REM sleep - often including elements of my recent experiences or stresses, but just a meaningless garble that has no potential to tell me anything about myself in my waking life. However, this one recurring element is hard to ignore after almost ten years, so I'd be interested to hear anyone's ideas.
I know I'm having this dream on the brink of probably the biggest stress-inducing event of my life so far, purchasing a house. But I've been stressed about that for weeks now, and there's still a few days to go, so why last night? Plus, I'm pretty sure I've had this dream plenty of times when I wasn't stressed about anything...but now that I think about it, that would be a good thing to start keeping track of - what else has been going on in my life when I get these dreams? I'll start writing it down, starting with this one.