As a kid, I would have this recurring dream. It would happen unexpectedly. Any time. Like at the end of a beautiful day when, under cloak of darkness -- suddenly -- here they would come again: those ominous dusty grey aircraft flying low overhead, wings clutching tenuously to crimson tipped bombs, just waiting their release upon an unsuspecting populace below.
That was my Cold War childhood nightmare. And it was prompted by the politics of the time, articles in Popular Mechanics on how to build your own backyard bomb shelter (the debate of which was actually the subject for my college freshman English 101 research paper) and those memorable grade school rehearsals of sudden terror driven dives under my desk to save my ass from being fried. Things like that.
Thankfully, those dreams eventually faded. Until just recently when a funny thing happened!
Pleasantly picnicking with others on a grassy knoll fronting a massive governmental edifice, serenity was suddenly shattered when puffy white clouds parted to herald the return of those decades old dreaded bombers of my youth. And they were heading straight for us! Facing certain annihilation, my only escape was a sudden retreat to consciousness.
While a curiosity, I didn't think much about that dream other than as a kind of time piece from an earlier era. Until a few weeks later when I had the opportunity for a pleasant evening with Dwight Eisenhower.
Adjourning to a post-dinner parlor, I was really looking forward to visiting more intimately with our former President; of getting his impressions on the military industrial complex of which he had warned us, our current point in history and perhaps his take on where everything is headed. I would write it up and post it here on my blog. What a scoop that would be!
It was a setting that also included, besides Ike and myself, former Representative Gabby Giffords seated between us, and either John F. Kennedy or J. Edgar Hoover (I'm not sure which) across the room. But my much anticipated visit with Ike was unexpectedly interrupted when glancing out the window I saw with astonishment those same damn bombers returning again!
Arcing high overhead as they turned southward, there soon arose a glow on the horizon accompanied by the flourishing blossom of mushrooms from distant explosions.
But our terror of the bombers was suddenly replaced with a greater urgency: dodging the bullets from flocks of F-16s dropping from the sky to strafe us. Their underwings bearing the distinct markings of our very own United States Air Force! (Apparently the bombers had been our own as well.)
While I didn't manage to get my much anticipated interview of President Eisenhower, I reflected on my common dreams separated by six decades. But I didn't miss the metaphor. Nor did I miss its meaning.
Addendum: Further evidence of the surfacing of a mass cognitive dissonance?
In one weeks time following this last dream, I had the following three interesting encounters, perhaps portending a foreboding future from the collective unconscious:
1.) During a visit to our family physician of many years, he took a first time departure from his always professional demeanor to ponder the fate of his patients dependent on prescription medications should "the channels of supply breakdown" from a sudden economic collapse. (I found this a curious aside from our usual conversations of prostates, colons and cholesterol.)
2.) Two days later in a routine visit to my dentist, whose professional demeanor always includes talk of markets and investment in them, he asked if I had read Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis ("Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics.... At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence")? Saying I hadn't, he went on to reveal his recently growing economic pessimism.
3.) This past Monday, overheard in a grocery store from an employee restocking produce shelves to a customer, "I wanna be around to see the end of the world." Irresistibly curious, I inquired: "Ooh, and when does that happen?" He responded, "Four, five years maybe," mentioning war with Iran, chaos of the impending global financial collapse.
Sharing common dreams?