Pat popped up in bed in a cold sweat, his heart racing. He fumbled around for his phone on his nightstand. It was only 12:38am.
“Oh my God, it was only a dream. Oh, thank goodness,” Pat said to himself as he tried to collect himself. It took almost an hour to shake the horror, but eventually he was back to sleep.
The next morning Pat went to work as usual. While standing at the coffee machine, Brenda from Payroll walked by. Suddenly, Pat remembered…
“Brenda, am I ever glad to see you today!” Pat said.
“Oh, well that’s nice, Pat! Glad to see you too!” Brenda replied.
“No, you don’t understand,” Pat said. “I had a dream last night about you. I was up until almost 2 trying to get back to sleep. Oh, it was awful. Hence, the coffee today.”
“Oh dear, I’m not sure I want to hear it!” chuckled Brenda. But Pat jumped right into the story anyway.
“You and I and my old grade school principal, for some reason, were all riding in some rickety old canoe down the Erie Canal. You kept tossing chocolate chips overboard, and we kept warning you that pelicans would swoop down and try to bite your hand. So I got out my bird almanac, which I guess I had with me for some reason. Oh, and to back up for a sec, this was all taking place in, like, the 1930’s, because you kept commenting how I was dressed like Clark Gable, your favorite actor.”
Brenda regretted going to get coffee. She was now forced to stand here awkwardly while Pat rambled on about some asinine thing he dreamt up in his sleep that was totally meaningless. Pat was only thirty seconds into the story, but she had already mentally checked out.
“And this almanac was huge, like thousands and thousands of pages. I swear, like every time I turned a page, the book grew like a hundred more pages. It was so big by the end that we had to rip pages out and throw them overboard because it weighed too much. So anyway…”
Brenda leaned onto the break room counter and pulled her phone out. She nodded hello to others who passed by. These actions were totally lost on Pat, who continued to tell his bizarre story with great passion, waving his arms and smiling ear-to-ear. Brenda feigned the occasional interjection like “oh” and “really” and “wow”.
Five agonizing minutes passed. Pat was still telling his dream story. Brenda was about to just walk away, when Pat grabbed her arm.
“And I grabbed your arm like this, but you were so slippery I couldn’t hold on, because of the fish blood. My principal took this, like, harmonica sorta thing out of his pocket and started playing a song, like the band when the Titanic was going down. Except he was playing it with his nose. I think it was actually the Jaws song! And that’s when I knew you were gone. I was yelling ‘Brenda, no!’ as you slipped out of my hand and sank to the bottom of the canal. And then the killer whales with monkeys on their backs all swam by and ate the top half of your body.”
Brenda really had no response. She stood, mouth agape, unsure of how to react.
“I know, right? I don’t have any words for it either.” Pat continued. “That dream was insane. They say that the average dream only lasts like, three seconds, too. So how do I remember all these inane details? And the weirdest part is, when I think back on the part about the curling iron, it’s especially weird because–”
“Enough!” Brenda yelled, her coffee sloshing out of her mug. “I–I’m sorry Pat. I have a conference call right now. Let’s finish the story later.”
Brenda vowed never to cross paths with Pat again, for fear of having to endure another of his dream stories. She also warned her other co-workers from Payroll about Pat in case he ever tried to tell them a dream story.
So, how can you react when someone begins telling you about their dream and you don’t want to hear it?
There is only one real answer to this problem: make yourself appear as annoyed as possible that you are subjected to listening to the story. Physically make yourself look as disinterested as possible, all the while giving the most uninterested-sounding “uh-huhs” every few seconds, especially talking over the person. Take out a phone or nail file. Make it clear to the dream story teller that their story is of no interest to you because it didn’t really happen.
If the person doesn’t get the hint and tells the whole dream story anyway, remind yourself afterwards to tell the person to give them the ten-second version next time. Better yet, ask the dreamer to tell his story to an enemy of yours, or someone you simply want to punish or annoy. “Dude, you know who loves a good dream story? Tori in Shipping. Seriously, just go tell her exactly word-for-word what you told me. She knows how to analyze dreams.”
My Hot Take:
I normally find people’s dream stories pretty boring, unless they are adult in nature. Then it’s kinda funny to listen to. I tend to tune out as soon as people start telling me a dream story unless they can give it to me in one sentence. “Last night I dreamt you ate a live blackbird and it made you lose your singing voice.” Great!
If someone tries telling you a long story about a dream they had, look annoyed and try to make them get the hint that you’re uninterested.