Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Double Fantasy


I’ve got a copy of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams that I keep meaning to get around to, and now might be the time. Because while I can usually figure out where my dreams have come from, I have zero idea about the one I woke up from this morning.

The dream had two narrative elements. In one, I was hugging an actress I did a number of shows with back in the 90s, and I pressed myself very firmly against her, and she pressed very firmly back, and then we both knew we were off to the races. Mind you, this is a woman who stirred nothing in me at the time (and whose memory still doesn’t) and whom I’ve given absolutely no thought to in probably 25 years and whom Facebook now informs me lives outside the continental United States, so I’m unlikely to run into her. What was she doing suddenly in my dreams?

Even more baffling is the other narrative. In this one, I’m driving my car, and in the passenger seat is someone I’ve known for more than 10 years, and whom I wrote off about two years ago. I usually try to keep friendships (who doesn’t?), but at some point when I found myself deleting yet another shitty comment or retort or message to me off of social media, I had this sudden insight: “I’m friends with this person why, again?” And realized: Hey, I don’t have to be. So I unfriended and blocked her and that was that. But this morning, there she was in my dream in the passenger seat of my car; even in the dream, I couldn’t figure out why she was there, because I was done with her and happily so. Now she was in my passenger seat harping at me! Moreover, no matter which way I tried to drive, there was construction or a narrowing of roadway, or obstructions, or other things that kept me from actually getting anywhere closer to where I was trying to go. I kept doing k-turns, backing up, swerving, turning around, and otherwise making every attempt to get away and make headway on my (our) destination despite what looked like the aggravating and never-ending construction maze encircling LAX. Finally, our car got wedged in on both sides by mammoth k-rails that loomed over us and formed the tiny tip of an isosceles triangle of cement that I was now stuck in. My car, and we, were completely jammed in, our doors unable to open, and no way to turn or back out.

Without having read Freud’s treatise on dreams (yet), I believe I recollect that he’d theorized that dreams are “disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes.” If I have a repressed wish to see either of these women, it’s truly a revelation to me. Because I believe I don’t. He also wrote about manifest content, which is as it seems, and latent content, which is symbolic. If there are hidden meanings in these dreams, they are truly hidden, because I can’t figure how they relate to anything going on in my life or in my thoughts.

Which is why I’ll stick with the more recent and scientific explanation of dreams: that they result from a random reshuffling of our thoughts while we sleep, for easier retrieval later by the brain. Kind of like an automated backup system to the cloud.

In that context, I think I’ve just figured out just now while writing this where these came from.

On Friday night, I’m having a close, longtime friend over for dinner. He and I did shows with that actress, and have spent many many hours together over the past 25+ years, but during COVID I’ve seen him just once, and that was only a couple of weeks ago and briefly… which led my mind to extrapolate to the other woman, representing another friend who’d drifted out of my orbit.

Still not wish-fulfillment, though. Sorry, Dr. Freud.

3 Responses to “Double Fantasy”

  1. Dan Says:

    I used to make a living taking elderly & disabled folk to medical appointments, driving 8 to 10 hours a day, which is as close to the LA lifestyle as you can get in Ohio. And I often had dreams of having my way blocked by improbable architecture.

    That means something, but I don’t know what.

  2. Trey Says:

    I’m no medical professional, but in my humble opinion the Wochnerian interpretation runs rings around the Freudian. I hope you and your friend had a nice dinner!

  3. Lee Wochner Says:

    Oh, we did!

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