I looked around for familiar landmarks in a part of town I’d never seen before. It was an old, rundown neighborhood near the south city limits. Weathered, decrepit houses and abandoned farmsteads could be seen in the distance. A large red brick warehouse stood to the left, the odor of incinerating garbage wafted past my face. I picked up my walking pace to escape the stink only to find myself lost even further.
I halted to see if there were any clues to help determine what part of Norfolk was nearby so I could walk home from there. I could turn around and retrace my steps or I could continue forward to explore the previously unvisited area of the county.
It was at the point of decision that the voice inside my head told me I was having a lucid dream. I could turn around to retrace my steps and immediately wake up or I could proceed ahead to find out what lies ahead. Lucid dreams are an extreme rarity for me, especially because I do not normally try to have them. So naturally, I chose to continue with the dream.
There were Internet memes displayed on billboards along the graveled county road that reminded me I’d have to make some decisions. At every turn, I’d have to make up my mind about which direction to walk. My dream voice said there would be obstacles and appealing choices to make. If I became indecisive, the dream would come to an end.
So I decided to trudge forward through a field of dry corn plants. I found a row and followed it to an arid landscape that looked like Southern California or Utah. Do I want to go to California or do I want to go to Utah? Feelings of indecision began to course through my body. I wanted to continue the dream so I made the snap decision to turn right and explore Utah.
This was a great choice. The desert was filled with rock formations and mysterious outcroppings of abandoned campsites. I started down a steep path towards a circle of large stones. The voice in my head warned that I could explore the circle but would forget the dream, or turn left and remember the dream. I looked away from the large stones because I wanted the dream to continue.
I didn’t have to walk very far until I came to a rocky ridge that overlooked a shallow valley scattered with tumbleweeds. I had to choose between chasing the dried up weeds or turn right to continue the dream. My feet and legs felt fatigued so chasing tumbleweeds seemed like a bad idea, I took the right turn.
Dead ahead was a grouping of three, ramshackle storefronts that looked like they were part of an abandoned set for a cowboy movie. I decided to continue towards the dried up old stores. I soon realized the old buildings housed retail businesses. The center building turned out to be a grocery store. I glanced to the right and discovered a large concrete parking lot filled with cars and pickup trucks.
An elderly Navajo gentleman pushing a large chrome shopping cart waved and greeted me. He asked if I wanted to use his cart or not. I thanked him but refused his offer. As I looked back towards the grocery store, I noticed that it had an automatic glass door. This was a bad omen. I panicked and woke up.
My eyes opened to the completely dark bedroom. The furnace fan whirred warmth from the vent register. I grabbed my glasses in order to read the clock. It was much earlier than my normal wake-up time. Should I resume resting or should I get up? I knew if I drifted back to sleep, that I’d forget the details of the lucid dream. I decided to climb out of bed and outline the decisions within the dream. It would be good to share the description with an audience and save it for posterity.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the medieval Jewish philosopher, Maimonides. “The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”