My dreams seem to draw a lot on bits and pieces of media I saw during my formative years. Often times I’ll have a dream with imagery so bizarre I imagine it can’t have come from any movie or TV show, only to happen to see the clip which inspired it on Youtube.
That happened once with The Last Unicorn. I didn’t remember the movie, just the scene with the living tree. The less said about that, the better. The same thing happened with The Peanut Butter Solution, Flight of the Navigator, The Great Land of Small and various other movies from that period that I caught parts of when I was little.
Drives me crazy sometimes, not being able to find where a half-remembered snippet in my memory originally came from. But I was able to find the inspiration for a dream I had some years ago, and in retrospect I should have guessed it sooner. The dream had me on the playground of my elementary school.
I was maybe 9 or 10. I saw kids somehow lifting off and flying a short ways off the ground. Of course I had to find out how they were doing it. They were at first reluctant to share, but I talked them into it, and soon learned that there was a new brand of gum which reduced your weight until you could float up off the ground.
The effect was only temporary though. I was elated to take off the first time, though I couldn’t make it higher than a few feet. Then disappointed when I felt my weight gradually returning. I fought it, my flight arc sagging downward, but eventually succumbed and was back on the ground.
This is a recurring theme in every dream where I can fly. I have never had a dream where I could fly totally unencumbered. There’s always some limitation. Sometimes I’m able to pick my feet up off the ground and “glide” along without moving my legs, but no more than a foot or so high.
Other times I can jump off something and glide forward, losing a foot of altitude or so for every five feet I move forward. Yet other times I have to run in place or kick to gain “boosts” back up in the air, like someone who doesn’t know how to swim struggling to keep their head above water.
The playground itself was set up ideally for experimental flight. A series of concrete terraces, all at different heights which were great fun to fly between. There were drinking fountains everywhere for some reason. One of the terraces was, itself, a gigantic drinking fountain.
It activated as I flew under it, the water forcing me back down to the ground. A prank pulled by the other kids. I didn’t mind overmuch as they were kind enough to share the gum in the first place. As you may have guessed by the cover image, I’m 99% sure this dream was inspired by the scene from the classic 70s Willy Wonka film in which chewing Wonka bubblegum makes one float like a bubble.
I saw it at an age where I didn’t yet have a firm sense of what is or isn’t possible. So it seemed to me that the chamber they were in contained some sort of technology, perhaps in the walls, which could cancel out their weight while inside. Like a vertical wind tunnel without the wind.
What a magical frame of mind to be in, when it was possible to live my day to day life under such egregious misunderstandings of how the laws of nature work, and what’s possible to achieve with present day technology. I was reminded of this when talking to a young relative last year.
He excitedly informed me that dead people could be brought back to life if you electrocute them. Presumably having seen part of a modern adaptation of Frankenstein, mistaking it for a documentary as it was absent the context of the rest of the film. I asked him why there weren’t reanimated people everywhere if that were true, as everybody would avail themselves of such a service to bring back deceased loved ones if it were possible.
Didn’t matter. He’d seen it. It looked realistic and credible to him. But I remembered when I lived in that same mindset and left it alone, as time would do the rest of the work for me, and I hardly wanted to spoil that magic prematurely.
I suspect maybe stunted flight represents frustration with unreached potential. I feel financially constrained, it prevents me from living the sort of life that I want to and helping friends of mine who are even worse off than I am. That would be the most on-the-nose interpretation though, and I’m inclined to doubt my own analysis.
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