Yesterday Gary dreamed he was a spy being beaten in a North Korean prison. I said, “Oh, you had the radio on,” because I imagined NPR could easily infiltrate his subconscious with some expose of Korean work camps.
”I don’t listen to the radio anymore,” he said huffily, and then I realized that any alarm would come from Alexa and not the radio, and then I realized, “Alarm? Why would a retired man need an alarm?” So unless the Alexa is bored and lonely and begins whispering Prison Camp Facts to him if he isn’t awake by eleven a.m., I can’t see what prompted this dream.
I wasn’t worried at first (sleeping man has dreams, whoa), but then Gary told me that it took him a long time to ge back to reality. According to him, he had to strip down and stand in front of the bathroom mirror for a hour before he concluded he had not been beaten (and, assumably, was not North Korean).
I think everyone’s had the dream that stuck with them all day — some friend betrays you in a dream and you can’t get past it until lunch — but this seems like an advanced case.
He thinks these new hyper-realistic dreams are a result of the medications he’s taking for his thyroid, migraine, and epilepsy. I hope so. I don’t want to have to mount one of those nursing-home signs on his bedroom wall:
“The day is SATURDAY, Your name is GARY, Your nurse is ELLEN, You are in the UNITED STATES.”