The Brown Trapeze

At one point, I knew the common name of the spider. It had the word “brown” in there because the spider ranges from brown to white in coloration, though the mature ones are more brown. When full grown, they are all a uniform size of a little under two centimeters in diameter, including the legs. These spiders are able to swing on a strand of their web and attack that way, so the other word in the name either reflected their belligerent nature or their ability to swing as though on a trapeze. For this narrative, I will refer to them as the brown trapeze.

Researchers were able to get them to pass confetti to each other, while swinging on their webs. I saw a photo of fifteen or so spiders each holding onto colorful bits of confetti while they hung from their individual strands of silk. Unlike other spiders, these spiders often worked together. However, they release a toxin that makes people sick. It was either in the form of venom from bites, or the spiders were a breeding ground for bacteria, which produced toxins.

I had been assigned to live in one big room, as opposed to a smaller bedroom, that looked like a small auditorium with yellow walls. Several families were already residing there. I was the most recent addition. There were news reports that the people living in Unit 26 Room 17, the large room, were constantly sick, one symptom being a sore throat, and it was being investigated. Wait, that is the room they put me in! And I constantly have a sore throat! I had to get out of there.

Later I discovered those spiders among my food in the refrigerator. I was creeped out, but I smashed each spider with my shoe as they emerged. There were six in all. I also killed a smaller one with a tissue.

While talking with one of my neighbors, he said he had killed four of them earlier. They were also in his food. There was no doubt that there were more of those spiders in the refrigerator.

As the day went on, I heard that some of the people had been treated with various antibiotics, but were still sick. It was possible that investigators would need to take a throat swab from all the residents to study the bacteria. Uh oh, I hope they don’t have MRSA, I worried, Why the heck are they still kept here? They should be quarantined. I decided to spend my afternoon away from the building.

I was in a room that looked like my sister’s bedroom in my parents’ house. There were brown trapeze spiders hanging from the ceiling there. That was when I first witnessed their ability to swing on their webs. One swung at me. I blew at it to swing it away, but it came back at me faster. I jumped out of the way, but there were at least three others suspended by their silk, nearby. The spiders were also in the bathroom across the hallway. The tiles appeared to be falling off the walls.

Room 17 was scheduled for demolition the following morning. So was the house. My sister decided she would just leave tonight. After all, she had just rented an apartment. She asked me to help her gather a few things. I was surprised by how little she was taking with her. “You know, everything you leave behind, you’ll never see again,” I reminded her. She figured that there were too many things and some she rarely used, so she’d let them go. She agreed to take my old plush bear with her for safekeeping. I wanted to leave with her, but I wasn’t packed, and her apartment was a 24 minute drive from my work. While deciding what other things of mine that she could take for me, I woke up, very glad it was all just a dream!

This was the unpleasant dream that I had this morning right before I woke up. I was experiencing anxiety since spiders creep me out. Lately I have been waking up with a sore throat every day, so I am concerned about it. Most likely, I was experiencing discomfort in my sleep.

Dream Places

Several ancient civilizations believed that dreams were the result of soul travel, hence, waking a sleeping person might kill them if the soul didn’t have enough time to return to the body.1 It’s obvious that the latter part is not true, and perhaps neither is the first, but I have wondered if some of my dream imagery is from places that I’ve never been to, but do exist.

I often dream of magnificent places that I have never seen (in person or picture) and they seem so real, yet impossible at the same time: a library with a glass tower from which there is an extraordinary view of the city; a small, cozy village up in the hills by a bay or lake; a cemetery on a hill with colorful, intricately painted grave markers that stand four or five feet tall. (Hm… I notice a recurring trend of being in higher elevations.)

I found this picture in a photo blank from a Photoshop class. It was the closest thing that resembled the colorful grave markers.

As a kid I used to wonder if people (that I knew in real life) who appeared in my dream were also having the same dream at the same time.  I have since confirmed that that doesn’t happen. I also used to think that when I woke up, the other people in the dream would witness me disappearing (Oh, she’s gone now), so if I were being chased, my pursuers would suddenly lose the one they were after.

My belief is that people have souls, and I do think it would be neat to visit places in my sleep. However, if dreams really are just the result of random rapid firing of neurons in lower areas of the brain with the higher areas trying to make sense of them, as the activation-synthesis hypothesis suggests, then there goes all the possibilities of my dream places being real.

1. Van de Castle, Robert. Our Dreaming Mind. 1994

Original post 11/12/10 1:10 PM