This is All a Dream
As a group of nurses rolled my cot down the sickly-sanitized, white-tunnel-shaped hospital corridor, I laughingly acclaimed that we were all in a dream. I noticed one of the younger nurses was intrigued by my wild-eyed, nonsensical, poetically-loaded assertions.
“What’s your name?” the grumpy older nurse asked me.
“I don’t have a name.”
“Yeah, right… You have to have a name. Where did you come from?” the grumpy nurse sarcastically asked.
I pointed upwards… “From up there,” I replied with a wild smile. She became frustrated and sternly asked one of the EMT’s for my ID.
“HAHAHA, I told you, I don’t have one! I’m telling you! I’m lucid dreaming right NOW.
“Sir, we need to know your name and date of birth.” (For insurance purposes, of course.)
“I WAS JUST BORN… RIGHT *NOW*!”
I lucidly remember the curious younger nurse starting to bite the right edge of her right thumbnail as she quietly started to contemplate her own cosmically dreamy existence. I felt a brief wave of success pass over me as she reticently asked me… “What do you mean?” But the older nurse abruptly snatched her mind back from wandering off to wonderland by snapping at her: “Don’t listen to him! Don’t play his game! He’s just trying to bring you into his game!”
The grumpy older nurse just kept fueling my laughter. I started to think there was no hope in waking these “dream-characters” up. I’ve tried waking up dream-characters in lucid dreams before, but it never fully worked for me. These dream people always suspect you’re bullshitting them since they really love to reject the notion that they might actually be living in a dream. I feel that they’re too seriously caught up in their own dream to even consider my favorite nursery-rhyme notion: “LIFE IS BUT A DREAM.” This dream-like situation was no exception because everyone was behaving just as they would. So I thought to myself, “Either I waste my time trying to ‘wake these people up’, or I’ll just keep what I Know to myself and keep exploring this strange, random hospital dream-scene. Let’s just see where my cot-shaped boat takes me. I love lucid dreams…”
They continued to roll my cot down the hospital corridor when I sensed a subtle wave of reality coming over me… “Wait… I am lucid-dreaming, right?”
A couple of minutes after that the stolid-faced doctor came into the emergency room wanting to play twenty questions with me. He was trying to figure out what had happened to me, but I wouldn’t give him a serious answer. I remember feeling like an alien abductee as they hooked me up to an IV machine. I’ve never had that happen to me, and it felt like an authentically alien experience at that strange moment in time. I was so convinced that everything was a dream I even allowed one of the male nurses to extract blood from my veins. “Ouch. WTF? Why is this actually hurting? Where the fuck am I??” As they tried to force-feed me that black, toxic, vomit-inducing, charcoal drink that a couple of my alcohol-poisoned friends have told me about, I felt things beginning to get uncomfortably ‘real’. I was losing control of what I thought to be an in-control dream projection. It wasn’t until this point in time that the idea seriously occurred to me, “maybe this isn’t a dream…” I couldn’t wake up from it. I began to consider the horrific possibility that I was actually awake in my waking life. What a horrible Trip that would be! I couldn’t even imagine the scope of that disaster. My laughing quickly subsided as I began to accelerate my wonder, “Shit, seriously, Sebastian, what if you’re not dreaming… But that wouldn’t even make sense, how did I get here? Why am I here? I don’t even recognize this hospital, why would I be here??” I tried to get a chronological grasp of things, but time was still spread out in a cloud of dream-dust. “What do I remember? I remember a couple of previous dreams in a long series of ‘dreams’. But were they all dreams? Or were they all actual happenings that eventually led me to this hospital?”
As the nurses and doctor wheedled me to consider that this hypnogogic hospital scene was actually happening, I demanded to use a telephone before they performed any other medical experiments. The male nurse condescendingly handed me a blandly, tan corded-telephone. I dialed the only number my technology reliant memory could muster up: my Father’s cell phone number. As I dialed the memorable cell phone number my doubt began to dematerialize when I heard the familiarity of the phone-line ring tone… “pbrrrrrr… pbrrrrrr… pbrrrrrr”
“Habla y te salvas.” (Speak and save yourself.)
I was shocked when I heard my Father’s distant voice at the far end of the line. My suspicions grew to the size of a climatic tidal wave... “No way… Pop? Is this real? I thought this was a dream? Where are you?”
“Ja, Aqui en el hospital. Donde estas? En que handas, bro?” (Ha, I’m here working at the hospital. Where are you? What are you on, bro?)
“Ummmmm… I’m at the hospital. This really isn’t a dream?”
“Que te pasa, bro? (What’s up with you, bro?)
I rummaged through my mind to revisit those recent ‘dream scenes’ again. “I’m at the hospital right now. I don’t know how I got here… Is this really happening?!”
I felt my dad’s worry exponentially grow for me. I heard him panic for the first time in my life: Si, mi hijo! No estas sonando! Esto es real! Estas hablando con migo. Que te pasa? En cual hospital andas? (Yes, son! You’re not dreaming! This is real! You’re talking with me. What happened to you? What hospital are you in?)
I was in complete disbelief. I felt nothing but shock. I asked my dad to remind me what happened earlier. I wanted to know what happened to me, although I already did. I wanted to know how and why I woke up in the hospital, although I already knew. But I needed confirmation: “Why am I here? What was the last thing you remember me doing?”
He confirmed my previous “dream-scenes.” He reminded me that I came down from Syracuse to visit that Columbus Day weekend, and that I was supposed to go back to college tomorrow. He also reminded me that I was at a Saturday garage sale with my mom earlier that day, and when I got back home I left the house to go see a friend. That was the last they saw or heard of me.
That’s when everything quickly snapped back into place. Everything popped up as a coherent chronological picture; I literally snapped back to ‘reality’ (or ‘reality’ snapped back to me). This shit wasn’t a dream… It was the worst life-scenario of my life.
I spent the next four hours going through medical procedures (CAT scans, blood tests and urine samples) trying to convince the hospital staff that I was ‘back’, and trying to remember how I got to the hospital. So as I lay in the hospital bed with an IV needle injected up my right arm’s vein, I started flashing back at my shattered reality. As I waited hours for my Father to get off work and pick me up at the hospital, I proceeded to put the pieces of that mid-October day back together again…
I came down from SU that Columbus Day weekend with a “soul” motive: to eat a bag-full of psilocybin mushrooms a friend managed to score for us that weird October month. It was a relatively rare occasion to find mushrooms at the time, so I blindly jumped right into the opportunity. We had it all planned out; I would go down to Jersey for the three day Columbus Day weekend, we would go to the woods, and we would eat the mushrooms. It was a simple plan, with zero of the ultra-statistical psychedelic variables taken into consideration.
So fast-forward to that day—I was at Home Depot when my friend called me. “… Man, I’m telling you the old man who sold them to me said to eat no more than 2 grams. If you eat more than that he said it’s your problem.”
“You have to at LEAST eat an eighth, man! Either we eat 3.5 grams, or forget it, bro.”
“Na man, I’m telling you, you’re going to go crazy. The guy warned me, these are crazy mushrooms! He warned me not to eat more than 2 grams.”
“Aw, come on, man. Are you serious? Whatever, man, I’m eating an eighth at least. ”
“Alriiiiiight, your funeral… Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“I’ll pick you up at 4. We’ll eat them at that forest in Warren.”
The kid calls me before 2 PM and told me he already ate his portion. Already, we began to deviate from the original plan. I began to feel rushed. The last thought that went through my head as my sick ass stupidly downed a glass of water with pseudofeds was, “Shit, maybe this is a bad idea. I should just take these mushrooms up to Syracuse and eat them at some later point in time. Something feels disastrously weird, here.” I headed out to the white Envoy, started the car, and headed out.
By the time I picked him up a couple of blocks away, I could tell he was already entering his Trip. Again, the plan changed. He needed to drop something off at a friend’s house, buy some rolling papers at the store, and drop off his belongings in his car. After running those errands we realized that time was against us, so we changed the plan again and decided to settle for the local trails in my town.
We parked the car, took our belongings and headed into the scene of doom. I started chomping down the mushrooms as we walked into the dirty North Plainfield trails. Once we found a proper ‘groove’ we sat down and started rolling giant cannabis joints. Mosquitoes were in a rampant buzz around us; biting at our napes, arms and hands.
“These mushrooms work like clock-work,” he said. “You’ll start feeling these at the 30-minute mark, exactly. Watch.”
Mid-way through the first J I started feeling the wavy psychedelic effects ripple right through me. I started feeling the overpowering beating moments of NOW. Everything, at every beating moment, was *NOW*. Youknow? *NOW* … *NOW* … *NOW* “What are we always waiting for? THIS IS IT. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. No more waiting… I’m feeling the blaringly blatant beat of *NOW*… *NOW*… *NOW*… Y’KNOW?”
I observed in wonder as the mushroom started projecting full-blown, supra-dimensional mandalic majesty. I remember laying out in the middle of the forest studying the beautiful Islamically-symmetric geometry scintillating in the back of my eyelids. I thought to myself: “This is what they’re talking about. This is what they mean! They had it right!”
Moments after that I started waiting for the elves to come marching in. But 4 grams of these mushrooms paired with cold-medicine was far too much for me to handle. I remember being crouched down in the garbage-filled North Plainfield woods a couple of miles away from my house with the eeriest, “plasticy” October feel filling the air. I was entangled in a web full of weird. My mind literally zoomed out and existentially looked down at me along with the other billion plus germ-like people in the world; past, present and future. Time melted away at one point and I was looking through the freaked out eyes of ancestral tripsters before and after me. Then there was a distinct level of disassociation like I’ve never felt before.
This is what I was tripping on before my mind went tabula rasa:
What did I get myself into? Oh, no why did I do this to myself again? Don’t you ever learn, Sebastian? And what is this kid looking at!? Why is he sneering at me like that? I hate that familiar, mocking gleam! ‘What are you laughing at?!’ Are we ‘in’ the same Trip? No… Is he looking through my mind? No way, does he ‘Know’? Do we Know?
Then the very last freaked-out moments of thought:
Oh, no, we’re being watched. We’re in some sort of futuristic galactic-television. A future species is looking back in time at us right Now. Oh, no. I KNOW this feeling. I HATE this feeling. This feeling of web-like surveillance. This feeling of paranoiac de-ja-vu. We’re so helpless... I need to try and get out of this spider web! But it’s too late... They ‘KNOW’!
Those were the last freak-out moments before I completely lost touch with this reality. Looking back, all I remember is briefly waking up during specific, dream-like scenarios. Some of these flashbacks include: wandering around a frantic woman’s Halloween-decorated porch, being approached and questioned by the cops, laughing at the cops, spitting at the cops, laughing facedown in the back seat of a police car, handcuffed to an interrogation room table, telling everyone we were in a dream, recognizing an EMT I used to go to high school with, being pushed around by a bully-cop, pushing back that bully-cop, getting tackled by another fat, furious-looking, short-fused, pink pig-skinned cop as I fell laughing to the floor, thinking everything was a hilarious dream-scene, riding around in the back of an ambulance, and then being rolled down that tunnel-like hospital corridor I mentioned above.
So what did I learn from that horrific 2008 Columbus Day Trip? Don’t ever disrespect the Mushroom. I think Andrew Weil also learned this the hard way. Don’t ever take Mushrooms or any other type of psychedelic simply because they’re there. You have to be completely conscious of your actions. You have to approach these experiences with the ultimate respect. I was obliviously anxious that weekend. I was sick. Irresponsible. And those little garbage-filled trails by my house was probably the worst possible setting to be in. Financially, it was the most expensive Trip of my life. I spent more money paying off legal fines than I did on my two week trip to Brazil. So, please, be smart. Be conscious. Don’t disrespect a psychedelic.
Oh, and life IS a dream. It's simply that most of us, including me, just haven't woke up to it yet.
When I finally got back to my abandoned car that early morning, I noticed my phone had one million missed calls and texts. I immediately dialed my friend's number: "Yoooo man WTF happened! Do you wana know where I woke up?!!"