I was dreaming that I had to talk to my boss about my schedule. In the dream some sort of family emergency had come up and I was doing to have to take some time off, but we had deadlines, so we were strategizing on what I could squeeze in before leaving and how many hours I could reasonably try to work while dealing with the issue. And in the dream a woman — not anyone I’ve ever known or worked with, so far as I could tell — was explaining to someone else with a whiteboard how the reason that teachers and nurses and such don’t get paid as much as they deserve is because Hollywood is leeching all of the money out of the economy by overpaying actors. And dream me interrupted to explain that was merely a case of pitting one kind of working against another, because while some actors make incredible salaries, most of the people working both in front of and behind cameras are paid significantly less, and that the real problem is the diversion of vast amounts of capital into things like stock buybacks and so forth. When the woman in the dream told me I was interrupting a private conversation, I started to argue…
…and then another me grabbed me and shook me and said, “I don’t want to dream about me being a mansplaining jerk to a stranger!”
And I woke up.
For what seemed a minute I was very angry at myself for being rude and a mansplainer to that woman. Then I realized that I had been dreaming, and there wasn’t a real woman who I had been rude to. Which started this argument in my head about whether me dreaming about being a jerk was ethically any different than actually being a jerk to a real person. Because, for instance, if I write a story in which a character is a jerk to another character and I write the story in such a way as to portray the jerk as being in the right, no real person is hurt, but I’m still condoning someone being a jerk… and… and… and…
By which time I squinted at the clock, realized that it was a couple hours before my alarm was due to go off, and maybe I should stop thinking about this dream, make a run to the bathroom, then get a glass of water, and try to get back to sleep before I had to wake up and interact with real people.
I am continuously amazed at how my subconscious works. I’ve pulled myself out of dreams many times. Other times I really wanted for a dream to stop and it wouldn’t. I do think this is the first time I’ve ever made myself wake up because I was mansplaining. Maybe that’s worth a chuckle.
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