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21 July 2008 @ 09:50 am
I woke up not long after this.  
Your eyes open when you realize you aren't breathing.

It's a reflex. Your brain is telling you that there's something very wrong, and that you need to give that something your full attention. At the same time, another department is assuring you that everything is copacetic, everything's under control, situation normal, how are you? You don't feel like you're holding your breath or like you haven't got enough air. You've simply not bothered to breathe in recently. Or out, for that matter.

Nevertheless, when two parts of your brain are giving you conflicting signals, your reflexes tend to err on the side of caution and bring you up to consciousness rather rapidly so you can go ahead and sort out which section is being more honest than the other. You will suffer from the mental equivalent of the bends for surfacing from the depths of sleep so quickly, but that passes, leaving you with the calm, soothing sensation of realizing that not only can you not breathe, but that you're looking at the world through liquid.

Let me reiterate, says the oxygen monitoring system, that we are not critical here. Everything is fine. Yes, you appear to be underwater, and no, we don't know anything about this not being able to breathe situation. Not our department. Perhaps you could take that up with the muscles? It might have something to do with this inability to move your head, so perhaps a quick check with them is in order?

Adrenalin is granted to your system almost exactly in opposition to ordering coffee in a diner. The more panicky you are in a diner, the less likely the server is to want to come near your shaky self. Your brain, on the other hand, shows the slightest sign of panic and hey, how about a nice shot of superspeed from your friends in the glandular system?

You might be wondering what good heightened senses and reflexes are when you are panicking and can neither move nor breathe. The short answer is, "No good at all." The long answer is a desire to start screaming and thrashing, followed by an attempt to do both. You might also wonder what happens when you realize that while your inability to move makes the latter impossible (and what a delightful circular feedback panic response that causes), the former happens right on cue, despite the continued lack of breathing.

Consider for a moment what you would do in this situation. You cannot breathe, but you do hear yourself screaming. You keep telling yourself that you need to breathe, but your brain insists that you've got all the oxygen you need just at the moment and doesn't seem terribly concerned about where it is coming from, or where the usual carbon dioxide waste is going in absentia respiration. It is at this same moment that you note the tinny quality of your screaming, a barely-audible buzz underneath the usual tone of your voice, and that while your mouth is moving, you feel no vibration in your throat nor, obviously, the passage of air associated with making a blood-curdling racket.

Adrenalin normally leaves one with the shakes when it passes, especially when cut off by a cold sensation eerily reminiscent of having a peppermint patty shoved into your frontal lobe. The inability to twitch any muscle above the jaw is the twist of lime in your drink of dawning confusion and horror. Your brain, attempting to lighten the mood, tries to decide if a new word is needed and if it prefers "corror" to "horfusion." Your brain rarely receives social invitations more than once and, remembering this, decides to shut up and concentrate on the matter at immobile hand.

For those who've never looked at the world from the underside of the surface of a body of water, there is a cloudiness, a change to the quality of light in even the cleanest water. When the surface of the water is coterminous with a pane of glass, the world just seems somewhat off-center, like looking through a two-way mirror in a funhouse. Your brain, having decided to attempt a moment of wit once again, wonders if this isn't how a jar of preserves feels, and quickly gives up the notion of a career in comedy.

Any possible humor in the thought of looking out on the world from the perspective of last harvest's cling peaches is abruptly lost when you note that the window of glass through which you are viewing a well-lit room seems itself to be sitting on bench or shelf. The realization that the shelf is at roughly waist-level to your normal height stops all other thought, leaving you with only one resounding, disturbing note:

You are a head in a jar, and you feel fine.
Current Mood: amused
Jeremiahjfargo on July 21st, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
That's disturbing. In a good way?
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on July 21st, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I choose to take "disturbing" as a compliment.
Kitsunekitsunegeek on July 21st, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, one doesn't always wake up when one stops breathing; which can be damnably inconvenient... Fortunately, I usually do, and I rarely sleep alone.

Regardless, wow... That is one seriously disturbing dream! Even by my standards! *twitch*
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on July 21st, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
I suppose I should point out that this write-up isn't a complete version of the dream, subject heading notwithstanding. The dream itself went on a bit longer and became progressively less disturbing. I remained a head in a jar, but I felt much more sanguine about it by the end. It presents solutions to a lot of problems, actually.
Ace Lightning: brainacelightning on July 22nd, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
preserving a head in a jar doesn't make sense medically - without a spinal column (and a body) attached, there would be a lot of things that wouldn't work. preserving a brain in a jar, and hooking it up to appropriate input and output devices, is far more plausible. although the first awakening after the brain is placed in the jar would be just as unsettling for the brain's owner - it seems to take more than a bit of learning for a brain to adapt to using "artificial" I/O devices and making sense of the signals.

(yes, i understand that you didn't dream it that way.)

Jake a.k.a Snoopy...a.k.a Snoopula ...et al.darcsyde on July 30th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
it starts out like a description of one of my many nights of sleep apnea. then it went totally sideways...I like that.