On the days where enough has gone right in my tiny sliver of our grim shared reality to dredge up the now-nostalgic emotion of insouciance, I’ll make it a block or two from my apartment before realizing, oh right, the pandemic didn’t end, and I forgot a mask. I run back, embarrassed and deflated. This happens, on average, once every 10 days.
Evidently, I’m one of the lucky ones because the momentary panic of masklessness only makes its irritating little cameos during my waking hours. Some of you, it seems, have been forgetting to wear a mask in your goddamn dreams.
Dreams, generally, are something I experience with extreme infrequency—whether my brain generates and then forgets them or they simply don’t happen is immaterial to me. No freewheeling adventures while I’m sleeping, but no nightmares either? Net neutral! Then I start to see some unmeasured swath of the population experiencing a dream trope this traumatically mundane, and it pushes the needle a little farther towards the positive.
Of the semi-random sampling of individuals tweeting about this experience, some likened it to other stress dream tropes (realizing you’re wearing the wrong clothes/no clothes, being back in school, etc.)—another thing that doesn’t ever happen to me and that I hope will remain the case.
In a small way, I feel a bit left out, in the same way everyone seemed to be rewatching The Sopranos and the same time and I had (and have) no opinion at all on, say, the fight between Tony and Carmella in season 4, a plot point I’m only aware of because I Googled “best character arcs in the sopranos” while writing this.
Similarly, Twitter is both connecting me to the shared conscious anxiety of an apparently large number of people having mask-based dreams, but not really delivering the experience itself. (One which, again, I still would prefer not to be having, but in uniquely human contradiction, I feel left out of nonetheless.) That’s partly on me for wanting it both ways.
If you’ve had a mask-related dream, the comments section is yours tell your terrified fellow travelers on the good ship Pandemic all about it.