My dream this morning was a contagion/zombie movie. It went on longer than any dream should naturally persist. Usually my dreams are random vignettes that morph into each other; this one was different in its thematic tenacity.
We’ve all seen zombie movies. A germ spreads through contact from infected people to new hosts. Social interactions take on a new paranoia, everybody’s wary of who might be infected, who might be out to spread the disease, who might be safe (and you can never be too sure). As a result, people live and move alone or in trusted circles. Society falls apart, but some functions of it still go on at a new level. Food production still has to go on; transportation still has to go on; cities have to organize eradication campaigns; bridges become checkpoints; people mix and mingle, but only after proof that they’re clean.
As a result, I think this dream became something of an allegory for my own life. Walking along to some standard of solitary. Safer that way, I guess. Disturbing to think of it in this light. People are icky, and you’ve gotta sniff out who is out to do you harm. You need systems, tests, methods to keep yourself and everybody near you clean and safe. No sharing, no trust, no groups larger than 5, no exchange of fluids, no physical contact, nothing that could accidentally spread the contagion.
You’d think this would be inspired by every zombie movie, but you’d be half right. There were elements of them all in there. But it was my inner struggle with trust in others that fueled this mental screenplay. That it hung on and clung to me is the truly scary part. But really, in the end, it was only a dream. Right?