I recently stumbled across a website that will give you a word cloud of your blog, where the most commonly used words are represented in a visually pleasing way, with the most frequently used words in large type, and the less frequently used words in small type. It was kind of cool to get a little bit of insight into my own brain, and one of the things I discovered was that apparently I talk about sleep, and I talk about it a lot. I love to sleep, but I tend not to get a lot of it, or not a lot of good quality sleep, anyway. I lie awake, or I dream about stressful things, or I thrash around so much that Mike wakes me up, like I tend to do with the dog when she’s whimpering in her sleep and I can’t tell if it’s a good dream or a bad dream and decide to err on the side of caution because she’s my pal and I don’t want her stuck in nightmares about giant tennis balls chasing HER Indiana-Jones-style or mean orange cats that punch her in the face for no reason or whatever it is that dogs dream about.
One of the nightmares I have with some regularity is one where it’s the last week of a semester at high school or university and all of a sudden I realize with a sick, sinking feeling that I somehow forgot to attend an entire semester’s worth of a particular class, and the final exam is looming in an imminent and threatening way, and I have to either somehow inconspicuously integrate myself into class and learn months of material in a week or explain to the teacher that I know I haven’t handed in any of the assignments or written any of the tests or done any of the homework, but I need to write the exam because I need this class to graduate. How it all plays out tends to vary a little bit from dream to dream, but two things are consistent: the dream always ends before the exam, and the class I’ve missed is always biology. I wake up feeling panicked and unsettled and wondering what on earth it is my subconscious is trying to tell me I’m dreadfully unprepared for.
Because I have a tendency to focus on the wrong aspects of weird situations (last night while watching Lost, I turned to Mike and said, “How is Claire going to pay for all of that medical care when she has the baby? She’s a single mom from Australia and won’t have health insurance!” and Mike was more than a little confused about how it came to pass that I found THAT particular problem to be the most distressing and also weirdest part of the show) the part of the nightmare that gives me the biggest wiggins is the fact that it’s BIOLOGY. If it was a math nightmare, or even a chemistry one, and I was being chased by a giant parabola or held at gunpoint until I recited Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 10 to the 23rd power, for the record) it might make sense to me, but I took biology in high school and got a great mark. I can tell you that glucose is C6H12O6 and that protein-enhanced shampoo won’t do you any good unless you drink it and that the four stages of cellular mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase … but here I am, more than a decade later, waking up in a cold sweat because I have to write a biology exam that I never got around to studying for. What the HECK, subconscious?