Some people claim not to dream very frequently, or at least they don't remember their dreams. I dream a lot, especially during the hour of gauzy, late morning half-sleep I'm able to will myself into as the garbage truck bangs up and down the street.
Sometimes my dreams are totally cuckoo for cocoa puffs (ie: the world's cat population is trying to destroy all other forms of life, and I have to jam my family and as many dogs as I can find into my car so we can escape to a cat-free zone). Sometimes my dreams are totally mundane and boooooriiiing (I'm applying lip gloss, or scrubbing my bathroom sink). Other dreams are more legit, and they feature stressful, slightly modified real-life situations that are most likely freaking me out too much to thoroughly process during my waking hours. And there is yet another category of dreams wherein the specific events are preposterous, but the intensity of the emotion they provoke leads me to believe they are highly significant in some symbolic or veiled way.
Monday night I had a dream, the events of which were pretty unlikely... but it was extremely intense, and each of my senses were very much involved. I'm unclear as to where exactly I was and why, or whom I was with. But there I was with a handful of people, and we all had these bowls of food that we had to eat. So there I am, sort of munching and crunching away, when it dawns on me that the texture is a little funny.
What I am eating is not normal food.
It is all the discarded animal parts that you don't usually think about when you are eating a chicken sandwich or pork fried rice or any type of "normal" food items one might encounter as a carnivore.
To my complete and total horror, I looked down and saw that my bowl was filled with little eyeballs, chicken beaks, lobster claws, a pig's snout, and the thing that really sent me over the edge -- a delicate little duckling's foot. It was just as I picked up the little webbed foot that the horrible stench of all those random parts hit me. The odor was sour and vast and clinging -- like dumpster and vomit and the inside of the milk refrigerator at my old elementary school. My stomach turned like Brian Boitano in a triple-flip triple-toe loop combination.
Suddenly I realized that not everyone had to eat the nauseating appendage melange. After further inquiry, it became clear that anyone who was a vegetarian was excused. The rest of us were under punishment for being choosey about which animal parts we thought were ok to eat. If we chose to eat animals, we were stuck with the whole package: bones, beaks, tails and all.
I woke up from this dream completely drenched in sweat, with the foul stench still sort of lingering. I don't know if I believe any hoodoo about people getting important life messages through dreams or visions or burning bushes or talking walnuts, but the whole experience has left me traumatized enough to think maybe I should become a vegetarian, at least for a little while. I sort of doubt I could stick with it indefinitely, as I have all the willpower of a bar of soap. But for now, I can't pass the refrigerated meats section at Trader Joe's without imagining myself gnawing on a marinated chicken foot, and then my stomach gets all queasy, and my face contorts in ways that send small children screaming for their mothers.