The wrong side of the brain -- 02/12/10
I find that when dreaming it is not possible to perform certain tasks that are generally left side of the brain activities. (Yes, I know, there is a bunch of pseudopsychological pop culture stuff floating around about brain functioning that is not scientifically sound, but there have been some scientific studies that actually support what I just wrote.... and, besides which, I'm talking about my experiences, your mileage may vary.)
When I'm dreaming I can "read" something only in the sense that I look at some text and I know what it says... but if I actually make myself look closely at it and perform the act of reading (yes, I often do have lucid dreams... and the ability to have lucid dreams has been established) I find that I cannot read it, that the print is too blurred or consists of random letters and struggling to decipher it may cause me to wake up. The same thing applies to performing arithmetic in a dream. If math is involved in a dream, such as counting objects or adding numbers, all is well if the number just comes along as part of the dream, but if I find myself attempting to actually perform the mathmatical process, I may soon find myself awake.
So... last night I was dreaming that I was at work and it appeared to be at Link Flight Simulation (where both Nancy and I had worked, although in different jobs -- I was in the information technology department, providing support to manufacturing and engineering, while Nancy was actually programming the flight simulators themselves). We were at some office counters with lots of paperwork and lots of people working on their paperwork, having to fill out some kind of form with hours worked on which project to be charged to what account number, etc. -- which required looking up obscure reference numbers and codes.
Then I took my paperwork over to a one of a series of tables along a windowed wall, apparently some kind of coffee break area, and I was trying to finish filling it out when a woman at a nearby table began to talk to me. She was someone I had worked with several years earlier... and she was asking me what I was doing now, what department I was in, what projects was I working on.... And I couldn't seem to answer her... that is, I did not know what I was doing (despite the fact that I had apparently just been filling out reports on what I was doing). Then Nancy came over and was talking to me, saying that she was finished with her work and was read to leave and I was telling her that I would be ready to go as soon as I finished my conversation. Actually, I wanted her to go back over to the other part of the room because if she stayed with me I would have to introduce her to the person I was talking with and I was embarrassed because I did not have a clue as to the woman's name.
So Nancy went back to the middle of the room to wait for me and I was trying to tell the woman what my current job was and what part of the company I was working in... and I did not know... I kept coming up with vague terms like "analysis" and "design" but I could not remember who I reported to nor what my job title was nor my department name nor even a simple one sentence description of what I did. I remember having the thought that "maybe I don't do anything?" -- and I was getting increasingly frustrated that I did not know what I did.
And then I suddenly remembered my manager's name, my actual manager in real life with my current employer -- but the trouble was, at the very moment of his name popping into my conscious thought, I also realized that I was awake in bed.
The most annoying thing was that I had deliberately gone to bed early so that I could get more sleep. I tend to get by on about six hours a night and I keep reading reports about that not being enough sleep. I had been in bed by ten and was reading until I began to realize that my eyes were really closed more than they were open, so I dropped the book, took off my glasses, and turned out my light about quarter to eleven. That would have given me almost seven hours of sleep before my alarm went off. Instead, I spent about an hour failing to fall back to sleep, so I gave up, went downstairs, was met by a cat who wanted to be fed, gave him food and water, and then I fixed myself a nice breakfast and spent almost an hour enjoying reading ( Cory Doctorow's Makers) before it was time to wake up Nancy and then Jeremy and then my computers.