When you’ve had your license for many decades, there is that innate sense of control that comes with the autonomy of being a driver.
In some of my uncomfortable dreams, I am behind the wheel. The unpleasantness arises not from a loss of control over the vehicle, but from a sense of being directionless, lost, or not knowing the way back home. The scene may be a narrow dirt road through the bush, winding, and with many potholes to avoid. I’m trying to reach some unnamed, but important destination, to which I have been before. Sometimes, I have to stop, get out, and move a fallen tree, or shoo away an animal. After what seems a long time, the urgency grows, and so does the fear that I have taken the wrong road.
My Dream Self, the inner critic that scolds me for stupidity, says things like “You don’t recognize this path, do you? How long are you going to spend on this foolishness?” I respond angrily, self-righteously, “It IS the right path, I’ll show you!” Whereupon another seeming eternity passes, and it ends after a final turn in the road, when, in front of me, there is a gigantic rock fall, or a flooded bridge. Impossible and impassable.
Usually, this is the point of awakening.
What’s peculiar is that in recent episodes of this repeating story, and as my age advances and the body is not what it once was, I seek, through imagined strength of will, to challenge these impossible barriers. At the rock fall, I find a fallen tree trunk and use it as a lever to topple those stones one by one into the river. Next time, if it is the flooded bridge, I gather dead trees and lay them across the stream.
I awake with a sense of accomplishment, but also with a memory of the struggle, and I have managed to silence that critic for a time.
What all of this signifies, only Freud knows. I have my own suspicions, but that’s for another time, and perhaps a more private place.