Dear dream journal,

last night, I had the craziest dream. It probably has something to do with me having to go back to school in a few weeks from now. You see, I was sitting in a classroom – which reminds me, the lay-out looked very familiar. I think it reminds me of my music lessons during high school; boy, did I hate those! The teacher was a real jerk and I had zero skills playing the recorder!

But anyway, in this particular classroom, the learning desks were all put next to each other – forming two square rings, basically. I was sitting in the outer ring… Come to think of it, that used to be the exact spot where I’d sit during music lessons! Ugh. I don’t even want to talk about that any more. Luckily, the door was in a different place (in the wall facing me, rather than the wall to the right of me). And none of the people surrounding me looked familiar, either. I’m not even sure how old I was supposed to be; it was like a cross between high school and college… although the way the teacher approached me, it might just as well have been primary school.

Here’s the weird thing: after sitting down, the teacher (a woman of about 60) would ask us to open up our exercise books and show our homework – but this was the very first lesson of the year! How on earth did anyone expect us to have done any homework yet? There was a slight muble and groaning among me and my fellow-students; things got a bit exciting, then. I guess everybody has experienced the feeling before, when the majority of the pupils feel like they’ve been wronged and “revolution” is in the air. In my dream, this atmosphere died down quickly, though: people just packed up their stuff, only to leave the classroom shortly thereafter. Their chatter died down a few seconds later and there were only three people left, including myself.

It’s not like I had done my homework or anything. Perhaps I was preparing to address the ridiculous situation to my teacher, or maybe I was paralysed just for the heck of it (this seems to happen in dreams a lot). Well, anyway, I noticed the girl sitting next to me had left her exercise book on her desk; it was full of notes and scribbling. All the blanks had been filled in too! This girl had worked on her homework fanatically, even decorating it with cute little drawings here and there.

“Very good,” I heard the teacher say, praising the kid sitting to the left of me. In a few seconds from now, it’d be my turn to be judged – and I was about to show up empty. I actually thought about copying a few snippets from the exercise book lying next to me – just to make it look as though I’ve at least done some of my homework. Before I even got the chance, though, my teacher (I believe she was wearing glasses with a cord attached to them) was standing next to me. “Well, well – haven’t you been a good boy!” she said with glee. Then, she moved my right hand to the centre of my desk; my neighbour’s exercise book slid along, placed underneath my fingers. Every few inches its cover would resist being scrubbed against the desktop; a few seconds passed before the old lady picked up my hand and gently put it on the side of the desk.

We both looked at the exercise book; its owner had used a dark shade of pink to write everything down with. Her handwriting could pass for that of a man, if only barely – the l’s and g’s had nicer curves than I’d ever be able to write myself, although her vowels could use some touching up. “So you did all of this by yourself?” the teacher asked in a polite yet rather ominous voice. I felt uncomfortable, with cold sweat starting to run down from my arms (somehow), causing the pink ink to run and leaving a few superficial stains in the top-corner of the right-hand page. There was still room for manoeuvring; I could just tell her the truth and be done with it. Somehow, though, I decided to run with the story – insisting that, yes, all of this was my work indeed.

To add to the absurdity of homework on the first lesson, apparently there was a lot of it too! Miss Teacher-person kept flipping through the book for ages ; all in all, I’m guessing there were twenty pages worth of exercises. This poor girl next to me must have been working for at least a couple of days to get this stuff finished – and here I was, claiming all of it as my own. I can still feel an awkward sense of shame as I’m telling you this right now.

“So what’s this?” she asked, pointing her finger at the top of page 21.
There was this little drawing of a heart-shaped figure there; underneath it, the girl had scribbled something about “Love this-and-that”. Next to it, there was another doodle of a circle with a dot in it.
“Uh, yeah – I dunno, I felt like drawing, I guess.”
“How cute!” laughed my teacher, as she went on to say something about how tidy and organized the rest of my work was, and that I was allowed to draw stuff as some sort of a reward. Yeah, dreams are weird like that.
“So you did this all by yourself?”

A second later, the principal came barging in, accompanied by a large gathering of students. “It’s ridiculous you’re making your pupils do homework before classes have even started,” he bawled at his 60-year old colleague. The pair of them got into a bit of a quarrel, while my fellow-students went back to their desks – the girl next to me was the last one to do so. She looked at the principal, nodding her head my way while tapping her fingers on our shared desktop. A minute later, the guy came over to me, placed his chubby arms on both sides of my table and tilted his face, so as to get a better look at the exercise book in front of us both.

“What you did was very bad. This is going to cost you at least 129 points,” he said. I remember the exact amount of points for some reason – not sure what the implications of losing 129 points would have been, though.

Anyway, now it was my time to leave the classroom, feeling all panicky and depressed. Darkness crept onto me like a converging death-ray and after a while, I was completely alone, surrounded by a deafening darkness. Naturally, what followed was a wild adventure of me being chased by a knife-wielding guy while clearing several obstacles in some sort of Mexican pyramid-thing. That’s happened to me a lot after classes.

Dear dream journal, is there a meaning to what I’ve just told you?

Dear Robert

Thank you for your query. Yes, there is a meaning to all of this. The classroom represents a missed opportunity from the past – I say you stock up on recorders, as prices are low now with demands likely to sky-rocket any time soon. Make sure to get the plastic models, though, as timber has gone up quite considerably due to excessive fires in Russia.

The teacher is obviously your mother. She’s far too protective of you, letting you get away with murder (and stealing) – so much that it’ll get her into trouble eventually. Tell her anti-depressants are a safe investment and advise her to outsource her book-keeping to a third party. Finances are the main cause of family fights, after all.

The (missing) girl next to you is someone who once fell in love with you, feeling too ashamed to confront you back then. When she did come back to take a quick peek at you, the poor girl noticed how much you’ve exploited her. She then snapped and turned on you. What can I say? You’re an arse for doing that to her. The least you can do is rub some talcum powder on your greedy little tentacles; that’ll keep you from sweating all over her homework again in the future.

The principal is just a moron, I think. If you run into him again, make him buy a replica watch.

Those “129 points” probably refer to the Sensex, a 30-stock value-weight index used as the domestic pulse for the Bombay Stock Index. It fell 129 points late July, 2010. There’s your dream’s time-frame – apparently, you were in summer school. Tsk, tsk.

The murderous chase in the pyramid-thing refers to you owing me $18.72 for this session. Oh, and try eating more meat.

Yours,
Dream journal

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