The dreams are all basically the same, really. The occurrences change but the theme remains the same. It's always myself, driving my big rig
, on the way to a wreck in which I see the inevitable approaching in slow motion but remain unable to stop its inexorable arrival.
The dream finds me tooling down the road, looking for a destination. The road narrows to 2 lanes, traffic rolling in both directions, then down to a single lane. Sometimes it's paved, sometimes it's just a dirt road with little pull off areas to let other vehicles pass. There are trees and streams, houses and cars along the roadway. By this time I know I'm in deep trouble, the road way too small for my rig, and I sense there's not going to be an adequate area to turn around at the end of this road. The familiar gut-sinking feeling of a good ride gone sour straddles my mind like a drunk astride a rented horse, spurring me on.
The hill comes up, the slope enticing me to commit. I start down and touch the brakes. They don't slow me as they should but rather very lightly slow my progress. There is a curve at the bottom and I've got to slow down or it's going to be a rollover. I'm white knuckling the steering wheel, up out of the seat, standing on the foot brake pedal. It's slowing, but not enough. I let go the steering wheel with my right hand and pop out the parking brakes for both the tractor and the trailer, but it has no discernible effect. I reach and jerk the trailer hand brake valve down with the same result. I'm going down a single lane dirt road, down a hill, unable to stop.
I think I might just make it when a car comes around the curve at the bottom. I can see the young woman behind the wheel. I can see the baby carrier on the passenger seat. I can see the back seat crawling with little kids like a litter of wayward puppies. I can see me crushing them beneath my 80,000 pounds.
I try to slow even harder to no effect. I'm grasping the wheel so hard my hands ache. The muscles in my forearms are like wood from my grip. The woman in the car keeps coming as if she can't see me at all, like she doesn't know her doom is approaching. I hold it steady until the last second, then veer sharply to the right to miss her, and for a wonder she makes it past. I correct back the other way, feeling the rig tip, start to go over, but it's too late, too late. I feel the rig go up on the left side tires, go past the point of no return, balance there for just a moment, then slam into the ground like a clap of thunder.
Everything in the cab is flying about like a tornado turned loose in the interior of my truck. As all this is going on the thought creeps through my head, asking the burning question "Ok, champ, just how are you going to explain all this to dispatch?" The answer is I don't have a clue in God's green Earth how I'm going to explain this to dispatch, the police, the wrecker driver who's going to have to drag this mess out of this God-forsaken bottle neck. I can't explain to people why they won't be driving home because I've just blocked the road, or explain to others why they can't leave home for the same reason. It's just a series of bad decisions which have snowballed beyond my intent. After the impact, everything dissolves into an amorphous blackness.
I become aware again to the sensation of hands on my body, pulling me out of the wreck. I have no awareness of pain but I can't speak because my mouth is full of blood. I can't move my body any more than I can control my vocal cords. I'm helpless, at the total mercy of these people who seem to be rescuing me from the wreckage. I can see the wreckage, the road, and the people but I have lost the ability to act. The blackness sweeps in again like the surf of some dead night sea and I lose awareness.
I come to myself yet again. I'm lying on my back in a coffin and it's apparently at my own funeral. My vision is strangely bifurcated, one locus being the interior of the coffin, the other from the rear of the funeral parlor. From the rear perspective, I feel totally dispassionate, no emotion registering whatsoever. I look at the rows of attendees and experience a slight wonder that there are so many. I see myself lying in the coffin, my head supported by a white satin pillow. It's all very traditional, like almost every funeral I've ever attended, except this time I am the star attraction, a most unwilling one.
From the perspective of the open coffin, lying on my back with my hands folded at the waist, that location has plenty of emotion. I can see the people seated, recognize the faces of my wife, my children, other relatives and friends. I can see the pain, the grief, and the sheer weariness this event has caused my loved ones, and my heart goes out to them. I want to tell them this is all wrong, that I'm alive, but I am still paralyzed and powerless. No amount of effort or desire on my part seems to have the slightest effect.
A part of me takes note of who is in attendance, as if that's going to help me in any way, have any effect on the proceedings. I'm watching all this from my peripheral vision, looking at rows of sad faces over a horizon of pleated white satin. I want to scream "It's all a mistake, some horrible mistake!"
The music fades, the last mournful note of the organ fades away to echoes, then to nothing. I hear footsteps approaching and the men come into view, remove the flower arrangements, and start to close the lid. I'm seized with dread, knowing I have just seconds to change the course of events, shake off this paralysis. I'm absolutely engulfed in the desire to move, to say a word, make a sound, twitch a single finger of my folded hands. I fail, and lie there wallowing in that abject failure as the light fades to a crack, then to nothing. I am swallowed by blackness again, but this blackness is different. It doesn't swallow my awareness, oh no, not at all. It's a living blackness, and it's taken up it's abode with me. I'm aware, conscious, full of knowing that I'll soon hear the sound of dirt cascading down on the roof of my new residence. I'm alone, me and my mind and the awful silence, that silence which will never end.
When I awake from these dreams, I feel totally drained and deflated. There are no bizarre singing flowers, no fairies, nothing otherworldly to signal the underlying unreality of the dream. It is populated by real people, realistic events, real cause and effect. Sometimes, it takes a little time to shake it off, reassert myself into the flow of the living.