One of these happened, but I’m not exactly sure which.
1) I dreamed I was hiccupping and when I woke up I was hiccupping.
2) I was hiccupping in my sleep and the hiccupping infiltrated my dream.
3) I dreamed I was hiccupping and also dreamed I woke up hiccupping.
That last option seems the least likely, because the “waking up” part didn’t feel like a dream; it felt like I’d woken up. The problem is, no dream feels like a dream when you’re dreaming it. So maybe waking up hiccupping could also have been part of my dream.
Normally when I wake up from a dream, I do not find myself doing the same thing I was doing in the dream. Which is a relief, because what I am doing in my dreams is invariably life-threatening, embarrassing or disruptive to a marriage.
This time, however, I woke up – assuming I actually did wake up – engaging in the precise behavior I was engaging in in my dream. So there was no relief. Only confusion. And a continuation of the hiccupping.
(Note: It was not actually hiccupping, it was something else. But who wants to say “having an acid reflux attack” fifty times?)
After I finally stopped hiccupping, and abandoned the “chicken and egg” back-and-forth as to whether my hiccupping caused me to dream I was hiccupping or did hiccupping in my dream trigger a real-life hiccupping fit? – I began wondering if there was a movie idea in this, if I replaced “I dreamed I was hiccupping” with “I dreamed I killed a whole bunch of people.”
Let’s check it out.
“I dreamed I had killed a whole bunch of people and when I woke up I had killed a whole bunch of people.”
Though I am no expert in this format, it would seem to me, from a scenario standpoint, that this premise could take the screenwriter in several different directions.
Scenario Number One –
Did I actually kill a whole bunch of people and that deed made me dream I killed a whole bunch of people?
You could go that route, but it’s not very interesting. That’s just a guy having a guilty dream, after killing a whole bunch of people.
Scenario Number Two –
Did I dream I killed a whole bunch of people and when I woke up I believed I killed a whole bunch of people?
That question, it seems to me, could be easily resolved by the evidence. If I actually did kill a whole bunch of people, where are the dead bodies of the whole bunch of people I killed? If there aren’t any, it was a dream. And if there are, then I killed a whole bunch of people and then dreamed about it. (See: Scenario Number One.)
Perhaps I buried the bodies of the whole bunch of people I killed but I didn’t get to that part in my dream because I woke up too soon. In that case, even though there are no bodies, it is still possible I killed whole bunch of people.
The third Scenario – there may be others – like somebody else killed a whole bunch of people and they framed me so convincingly, that I started believing I killed a whole bunch of people – hearkening back to the “hiccupping” possibilities, is this one:
I dreamed I killed a whole bunch of people and the dream extended to my waking up believing I killed a whole bunch of people.
This is not new – “How do you know when you’re dreaming and when you’re not?” – but more importantly, from my standpoint, I hate those kinds of movies. Because they’re smarty pants manipulative and annoyingly ambiguous, sending me out of the theater with more questions than answers, making me a nuisance to all concerned, and leading all concerned to displace their dislike for the movie so that they are now disliking me, though it is possible that they dislike me and the movie.
What would make the best movie? It depends on the taste of the moviegoer. Some might enjoy the “straight ahead” version – the murderer with the obsessive dream. The more adventuresome moviegoer? – the “Did I, or did I dream I did?” version. And for those who enjoy movies shot from weird angles, actors with congenitally dazed expressions, and nerve-jangling musical accompaniment:
“Is it reality or is it Memorex?”
Unfortunately, this exercise did not distract me from my mid-night mystery:
Did I dream I was hiccupping and it made me wake up hiccupping, or did my real-life hiccupping infiltrate my dream, causing me to wake up?
This conundrum continued to perplex me. And I could not get back to sleep till I wrote about it.
And then I did.