I’m a light sleeper. Always have been and I guess I always will be. I’m talking so light that a fly could wake me up. From another room.
Because of this my brain doesn’t go into deep REM sleep, you know the kind that produces dreams.
What this means is that I don’t dream, or at least I don’t remember my dreams very often. However when I do wake up remembering them, they’re usually doozies.
One of my alltime weirdest dreams that I still remember vividly, actually happened over 25 years ago and yet I still remember it as if it was last night.
It jumps out of my memory bank from time to time and I can’t help but play it over in my head trying to figure out what the hell it meant.
Now I assure you that no drugs or alcohol were involved and I have no idea what my brain was trying to process that night, but I’d sure love to know:
It’s a typical Wednesday evening and I have my big blue Wilson tennis bag slung over my shoulder. I’m standing on a street corner waiting for the city bus to take me the 20 or so blocks to my weekly Wednesday night indoor tennis league.
The bus comes, the door opens and I get on. I go to pay my fare but the driver puts his hand over the ticket slot. He shakes his head, smiles, and in a tone that could best be described as someone who is starstruck from a surprise encounter with a celebrity he says to me, “You don’t think I’m going to let you pay do you?”
“Okay thanks” I say, and then I head to the back of the bus.
I settle into the long seat down the back half of the bus and stand my bag up on the floor between my knees. I remember proudly thinking that I wasn’t one of those a$$holes who tosses their bags all over the seats preventing other passengers from sitting down.
It doesn’t matter that the back half of the bus is almost empty, I’m proud of mysef all the same.
I look up and notice an athletic looking blonde girl sitting in the seat directly across from me. I notice that unlike me, her tennis bag is taking up at least two places on the seat beside her.
I shake my head disaprovingly and then I notice who this girl is. Dammit! I’m on an east-end Montréal city bus, sitting directly across from German tennis star Steffi Graf.
She looks me in the eyes and gives me a huge beaming smile, like she just bumped into a long lost friend.
Steffi tells me she was hoping to bump into me this evening and that she and her manager have been trying to track me down for some time.
She explains that they’ve come to the realization that if she’s ever going to be able to consistently beat Chrissy and Martina she needs to dramatically improve her serve, and she heard that I’m just the guy who could help her with that.
Taken aback and somewhat flattered I tell her that yes I have a good serve, but since I have no experience as a coach I’d have no idea where to begin deconstructing and rebuilding hers, which by the way I thought was a perfectly good weapon already.
Then I give my opinion, telling her that whenever she gets into tight match situations she has a tendency to ease up on the backhand side and play safe slice shots instead of hitting hard agressive topspin.
I tell her, “You really need to work on your backhand, not your serve.”
She shakes her head in disagreement and the conversation continues.
A few minutes later I look out the window and realize that mine is the next stop, so I pull the cord, ringing the bell to let the driver know I need to get off. I shake her hand and tell her we’ll have to discuss it another time, and I step off the bus.
The real kicker is that after getting off the bus it dawns on me that during the entire conversation I just had, we both spoke in German.
Standing there on the sidewalk I remember saying to myself, in my dream, “I must be dreaming because I don’t speak German!”
Not: “Dude you just met Steffi Graf on Montréal public transit” or “Why the hell does a top 5 ranked tennis player want to hire you to coach her?” Or even, “You just blew-off one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.”
Just, “I don’t speak German”, and then I woke up.
Now I don’t recall that Steffi and I ever spoke again in another dream, but in the real world she went on to be ranked number 1 for a good long while, beating both Chrissy and Martina numerous times, and winning countless grand slam tournaments all without my help.
To this day I can’t help but wonder how much better she could have been had I stayed on the bus that evening and agreed to help her 🙂
Next time remind me to tell you about that time I was chased through the back alleys of Tokyo by a gang of Yakuza, on a dark and rainy night, only to watch them turn into black and white cartoon characters after they’d cornered me.
What about you? What was your weirdest, no this can’t be happening – I must be dreaming, dream?