Pangolo Junction
Life, arguments, and kunu... with Max, Nat and Zack

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dreams and Prophecies

Dear Reader,

If you are still visting this blog (and I can't blame you if you aren't :) ), then you'll see that the Junction is active once again, so sit back and enjoy as our trio ponder one of life's ponderables.


(Max and Zack are discussing animatedly in the Junction, while Nat looks on, struggling to keep awake. At intervals, he leans forward as he nods off, but he is jerked awake when his leaning body makes contact with the table. After a while, Max notices this and breaks off his conversation with Zack.)

Zack: So you agree that there's no way we can allow landlords a free hand to terrorise tenants with arbitrary rent rises, then?

(Max motions to Zack to be silent. Then he gets up and with much effort, keeping Nat stable so that he does not lean to one side, he slowly and gently moves Nat in his chair so that he is all by himself a few metres away from the table. Then he skips back to his chair in glee and waits expectantly. He is not disappointed - after a few moments, Nat leans forward again, but as there is no table to warn him of the impending disaster, he leans and leans until -)

Nat (sprawling on the floor in confusion): Aaaaaargh! Wha- whe- who - why am I here? (He looks at Max cracking up with laughter, and a look of annoyance comes over his face.) Sometimes, I think I agree with Zack - you can be very childish.

Max (still laughing): Come on, you're just saying that because you are on the receiving end of my little joke. I'm sure that you would have been killing yourself with laughter if Zack had been the one to fall like that.

Zack (scornfully): I should let you know that if I am disturbed while dozing off, I react instinctively and violently - so I cannot be held responsible for the broken teeth or cracked skull that you suffer if you are foolish enough to try that prank on me.

Max: You? Please don't make me laugh. At least Nat had the presence of mind to wake up once he fell off the chair. If it were you, you would still be snoring away on the floor. (Turns to Nat) Anyway, what are you doing sleeping during an interesting discussion on housing?

Nat (dragging his chair back to the table while yawning): Oh, I've been having problems sleeping at night.

Max: Problems? Is the bank thinking of another round of redundancies?

Nat: No, nothing like that. It's just that... well, I've ben having these strange dreams. In them, I'm holding a box and I'm walking through a forest.

Zack: Hmm... interesting.

Max: What do you mean, 'interesting'? Have you now started dabbling into prophecy like

Zack (rounding on him): Please do not under any circumstance compare me to that fraud!

Nat (raising a hand): Guys - can I carry on?

Max: Sorry, Nat - you were saying?

Nat: OK, so I'm walking through this forest. Then the path begins to slope downhill, and I find the undergrowth getting denser and denser with the canopy of tree branches getting thicker and thicker. It gets so dense that it becomes hard for me to pick my way through it... and the trees are almost completely blocking out the light.

Anyway, finally, when I can hardly see anything, I come across a hut. The door is locked, as I find when I try to open it, but when I knock on the door, it opens very slowly. I peer in, but all is dark. So I advance slowly, and when I am in the middle of the hut, I hear a noise behind me.

Max and Zack (expectantly): And...?

Nat: And I turn around and wake up.

(Max and Zack groan in dismay.)

Max: What kind of stupid dream is that? How can you go and wake up at the climax?

Nat (indignantly): Hey! Don't blame me. I don't have any control over the dream.

Zack (with his expression turning thoughtful): And... how long have you been having these dreams for, now?

Nat: Well, I've been having them on and off for the last couple of weeks. Why do you ask? Do you see any significance?

Zack: Well, from what I know of dreams, I would say that it means that you are about to go through a tough period in your life.

Max (mimicking Zack): "You are about to go through a tough period in your life". (Mockingly) Is that really the best you can do? That just sounds like those horoscope predictions that are vague to the point of being meaningless - the ones that say things like "your day will be filled with good fortune, unless it is filled with bad fortune, in which case it will not be filled with good fortune".

Zack (defensively): Well, why else would it feature darkness? A dark environment in a dream usually means danger.

Max: Danger my right buttock! How do you know the dream isn't simply telling Nat that there will be prolonged power outages where he lives? You're just making it up - if you're honest, you'll admit that the only thing dreams are good for is entertainment!

Zack: You're talking out of ignorance. I'll admit that I'm not an expert at interpreting them, but dreams definitely have deep meaning for those who can understand them. They may be a way of God communicating his message to you.

Max: More nonsense! If God wants to communicate his message, why can't he doing while I'm wide awake and paying attention? And why can't the message be direct - why does it always need a middleman to interpret it? I'll tell you - the only reason people give dreams the time of day is because they are so strange. If your dream made complete sense and you could relate it to what you did on a day to day basis, then you wouldn't take it any more seriously than you take blinking or breathing.

Nat: Actually Zack, I agree with Max that not all dreams are about sending messages, but I also agree with you that dreams aren't completely meaningless either. I think that what's going on is that when we sleep, the mind does some housekeeping. In the process, it shakes up many memories and thoughts that we've accumulated over our life - some recently, some many years ago - and those show up as dreams. That's why we usually have dreams that involve experiences that we have had - after all, when was the last time you had a dream about Outer Turkmenistan?

Zack: Well, I actually did have a dream that came true once.

Nat: Really?

Zack: Oh yes. On that night, I dreamt that a coffin was being lowered into a grave, and I saw my aunt weeping. I woke up feeling very disturbed, but I thought it was just a dream. Then a few days later, I received the news that my uncle - my aunt's husband - had died after a short illness.

Nat: Well, perhaps you had already received information that your uncle was ill, and perhaps you had been thinking that he might die, so these thoughts of death that were in your mind at the time must have given rise to the dream.

Zack (shaking his head vehemently): Not at all. I hadn't heard from this uncle for a long time - so it was definitely nothing to do with that.

Max (sceptically): I'm sure it's just coincidence. How come you don't have these dreams everytime someone wants to die? And more to the point, what is the point in someone passing you a message that your uncle is about to die? (mockingly) It would have made more sense if the dream was from one of his creditors, and there was a message saying that you should quickly contact your uncle before he expires and there is no chance of this creditor getting his money back.

Zack (shrugging): How should I know? It's not everything that we experience that we need to understand right away.

Max: Anyway, I don't take dreams seriously at all. Some of the dreams I have had are so bizarre as to be completely meaningless.

Nat (amused): Really? Let's hear them - perhaps Zack the Prophet can interpret them.

Max (scornfully): If his interpretation of your dream is anything to go by, I don't have much faith in his abilities.

Nat: Oh, go on. Zack, please don't mind him.

Max: All right. In the dream, there was this passenger bus that was waiting at a bus stop, and many people were boarding it. The strange thing about the bus was that people just kept on entering without it getting full. Then the driver sounded the horn, and instead of moving the bus began to give birth to little buses.

Nat (glancing at Zack): I think this dream may be beyond your prophetic abilities o!

Max: Each of the little buses was the size of a human being, and it had two legs. After emerging from the bus, each little bus jumped up in the air, and landed on a motorcycle that had appeared out of nowhere. Then the bus revved the motorcycle and took off. So there was this huge sea of buses which were riding motorcycles on the road.

Eventually, the buses got to a junction with traffic lights. The strange thing about these lights was that there were four lights. The red light showed a picture of Obasanjo; the yellow light showed a picture of Atiku; the green light showed a picture of Yar'Adua... and there was a fourth blue light which showed a picture of Abiola. The lights kept on flashing on and off at random, but if a bus tried to pass when all four lights were on at the same time, it would disappear, and in its place there would be a motorcycle with two legs riding a bicycle...

Zack (clapping his hands over his ears): Enough! Are you sure you weren't under the influence of controlled substances when having this dream?

Max (sweetly): What? Are you telling me you can't interpret it?

Zack: I'm dubious about whether you really had this dream. For all I know, you might have made it up.

Max (in mock indignation): How can you say such a thing? Were you inside my head when I was dreaming this dream?

Nat (chuckling): But that your dream, e get as e be. Anyway, I wouldn't even want to know what my dream meant if it was a message about the future. I would rather experience the future directly, whatever it holds.

Max: Abi o! You don't know whether by running away from the danger that your dream is 'predicting', you might end up running into a bigger danger that your dream didn't foresee.

Zack: You're just being hypocritical, Max. I'm sure that if I could offer you a cast iron prediction of share prices over the next month, you wouldn't care whether you were running into a trailer load of trouble by listening to my prophecy.

Max: But that's just hypothetical - because you're yet to demonstrate your prophetic skills. Oh, all right - let me give you one more chance. I'll tell you about this other dream that I had. In this dream, the three of us were all in the Junction, and we were consumed by this raging thirst. Then you volunteered to get up and buy round after round after round of kunu for all of us. The strange thing was that as you bought each round, your wallet became fatter and fatter. (Gazes upward stroking his chin, as though deeply puzzled) Now I wonder what the interpretation of that dream could be?

Zack (laughing): It means that I should steer clear of con artists who are too miserly to buy their own drinks!


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