Written by Kathy Salaman


Dream a little dream of wee

It’s National Bed Month and Kathy Salaman‘s looking forward to having some good dreams. Ones where she’s not grown a beard or, you know, desperate to find a toilet.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the sofa while my dog snores, twitches and makes odd growling noises on my lap. She seems to be enjoying her dream, and I’m envious: I could do with a ‘good’ dream.

I had that one again last night: the one where I desperately need to use a toilet but can’t find one. Or I can find one but it’s overflowing/behind a glass door leading to a well-attended conference room/covered in shit. Or I finally get into a vacant cubicle only to find that the bloody toilet has been removed. (The ways in which I get around these difficulties are many and varied, and usually involve relieving myself in nearby but inappropriate vessels, or on not-quite-absorbent-enough material, but trust me – you don’t want the details.)

Toilet dreams are just one of many ‘anxiety dreams’, and among the most common. What I find really weird is a) the fact that so many of us can have the same dream and b) how these dreams evolve to suit the times.

One example of this is the telephone dream, which I first experienced in the spring of 1986, shortly before I was married. I was going to be very late to the church and needed to phone my intended to let him know I wasn’t jilting him, but every time I tried to dial his number, my fingers went in the wrong holes of the dial.

“The dreams in which I discover a new room in my house mean that I am uncovering new personal skills. The fact that these rooms are sometimes squalid, vermin-infested hovels is a bit of a bummer, but hey – who believes in dream analysis anyway?”

Over the years, dreams in which I have needed to contact someone in equally desperate circumstances have evolved to include my fingers hitting the wrong button on the push button phone; hitting the wrong keys on my Nokia; and pressing the wrong numbers on the keypad of my iPhone. That last one happens far too often during my waking life too.

One that thankfully hasn’t spilled into my waking life (yet) and one I know many of you will relate to is the being-in-a-public-place-without-your-clothes dream. The really disturbing thing about this dream is that my lack of attire appears to have been intentional: I don’t suddenly realise it’s a bit chilly and look down in horror at my bared bits and pieces; I seem to have deliberately left home undressed.

It seems as if it’s something I do quite regularly and it’s taken a while for me to realise that it’s not socially acceptable. (And what’s more, I never seem to be terribly well groomed.)

Then there are the other anxiety dreams. My teeth fall out; I’ve grown a full beard; I’m trying to run away from a murderer but my feet have turned to lead; I’m living in the house I sold years ago while the current owners are away; and I have to drag one leg around because it won’t work properly.

Two others I’ve started having recently are the ‘out-of-control-car’ and the ‘leaving my handbag in a stupid place’ ones. With the car one, I’m usually doing a manoeuvre, so not going fast, but for some reason I can’t push hard enough on the brake pedal to make the car stop before bashing into the smart Merc behind me.

With the handbag one, I realise that I’ve left it on a table in a nightclub (I haven’t been clubbing for bloody years!) and make a mad dash back there to find it. The dream has never finished, so I don’t know if I ever do find it, but again my waking life is spent clinging to my handbag as if every person I encounter is after my reading glasses and stash of snotty tissues.

According to online dream analysis sites:
• I have too many things going on in my life and am struggling to cope (true)
• I have drive and determination but feel thwarted at every step (God, yeah!)
• I don’t feel as if I have control over my life (again… )
• I am worried about growing old (no shit!)
• I feel as if my very crapness is on show for everyone to see (Well, I suppose it is now that you have read this).

Oh yeah, apparently I have intimacy issues as well.

On the upside, though, the dreams in which I discover a new room in my house mean that I am uncovering new personal skills. The fact that these rooms are sometimes squalid, vermin-infested hovels is a bit of a bummer and is probably related to my reluctance to do house cleaning, but hey – who believes in dream analysis anyway?

Something else that puzzles me: if my out-of-control-car dreams represent my drive to achieve, what did ambitious people dream before the invention of cars? Or what did those worried about being exposed as frauds dream before the invention of toilets?

And as for my snoring dog: is she chasing rabbits or drones?

Anyone share my bizarre dreams? Or do you have some that are even more weird and will make me feel normal?


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Written by Kathy Salaman

Kathy Salaman is a former teacher who would like to see a fairer state education system, fewer wrinkles and world peace. She loves teaching English and maths, telling naughty jokes and reading geeky stuff.