This is why I’m not allowed to sleep in

I awoke the other day some time before my alarm. Unfortunately, this is somewhat usual, even—no, especially—when I’m extremely tired. But somewhat unusually, that day I rolled over and immediately fell into a deep REM state. What followed was the most elaborate, weirdest dream I’ve had in a long while. I don’t remember much, but I do recall the last scene, indicative of the whole. (Also, for some reason, the Skyfall theme song underscored this entire dream as background music, so it might set the mood for you if you put that on in the background.)

In the dream, I had long golden hair that fell down below my shoulder blades. However, these were not Thor’s golden locks:

Thor's Golden Hair, title "Thoreal"

My hair was a little frizzy and not exactly elegant—bushy, a little greasy. I appeared a little hippyish, and I was very conscious that I didn’t look as nice as I could, which might explain why I was desperately searching for a hair tie to pull my hair into a ponytail. My wife and I, still married, were high schoolers. She was helping me look for a hair tie, but also very anxious about being late for school. We lived with two roommates (played in the dream by two real life childhood acquaintances whom I’ve never been close to), and they were impatiently waiting for us to be ready, slumped on our living room couch. I was the driver for our group, so we couldn’t leave until I was ready—and I wouldn’t leave until I tied my hair up.

During the search, it occurred to me that I didn’t actually own any hair ties. Only my wife did. That explained why I couldn’t find any that weren’t girly, and while I wouldn’t probably care about that now, those kind of things matter when you’re in high school. So, exasperated and late, I decided there was no other option but to take a shower and shampoo my hair, even though it would make everyone even later. I told my wife that I’d be super fast in the shower, that she could even start a timer because I would be in the car, ready to go in two minutes.

I walked into the bathroom, and my wife followed me in, as did one of my (real life) friends from high school, whom I’ll call Mr. F. Mr. F sat down on the toilet to go to the bathroom, and so my wife asked if I was sure I wanted to shower while he was in there. You see, our shower didn’t have walls or curtains or glass or anything, just a wide open circular shower, about 20 feet in diameter, with one giant shower head in the middle (why we would need so much shower space is beyond me, as is where we’d set our shampoo bottles down). Like this, but bigger:

Frameless round shower

“It doesn’t matter,” I told my wife. “Mr. F’s seen my junk before. We have gym class together.”

And then, in that magical dream way, the walls of our entire bathroom weren’t there, which wasn’t strange in the dream. Our bathroom was in the middle of a luscious courtyard, with greens everywhere just beyond the tile floor. And behind the sink area, where there now was no mirror, three or four “no-face” spirits were benignly loitering, slightly obscured by a few large bushes that were behind the sink and full of ennui.

No Face demon from Miyazaki's Spirited Away

Two of my other (real life) friends from high school were there, Mr. B and Mr. R. Mr. B was unmemorable, but was having a conversation with Mr. F while the latter sat on the toilet. Mr R, however, was an undead demon with scary red eyes and giant, unworldly hands. His fingers looked like rounded, slightly wet parsnips.

He was standing next to Mr. B, and, as if to contradict his outward appearance, stood there quite politely, almost as if he came out of a Jane Austen movie. (Aside: It’s probably not entirely unrelated that, in real life, Mr. R committed suicide a few years ago.)

I took in this scene, of course, within a matter of seconds, as I was still quite in a hurry to get washed and then get to school. I took off all my clothes—all that is except for my brown wool dress socks—and got in the shower. It felt nice to wash my luxurious golden hair, though I was worried that my demon friend Mr. R would kill me while I wasn’t looking.

And then out of the blue, who should show up? But of course, Willow and Frodo.

Warwick Davis as WillowElijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

They walked into cavernous shower to address me, and Willow said that he’d like to pray for me. I knelt down, conscious of both the water falling all around me and that my dress socks got little traction from the wet tiles underfoot. Willow put his hand on my shoulder and delivered an amazingly lovely, rhyming prayer. His words were very heartfelt, and while I can’t remember them exactly, I recall that the gist of the prayer was that he hoped I would get my book published very soon, though not by one of those liberal “house” publishers (which, in the dream, were like house churches and just as eccentric—I knew what he meant). Then Frodo said he’d like me to meet a few of his friends, distinguished doctors and scholars, so they came into the shower and shook my hand. I was thinking that maybe I should ask one of them for a note, being as I was now really late for school. Their authority might carry some weight with my teachers. Before I could ask, Mr. R came up and shook my hand with his giant demon parsnip hands, and Willow and Frodo and all their doctor friends left.

I got out shortly thereafter and immediately, right before I woke up, found a Charlie Brown Christmas–­themed hair tie in my jeans pocket, meaning the shower was completely unnecessary. But the dream, I hope, was not.