Watching a documentary on people who have vivid dreams or walk / talk / move in their sleep, and I'm reminded that I used to be like that.
I often woke up in night terrors, or with strange bruises, or a partner informing me that I'd been chatting to them, and no memory. Looking at night vision footage of people in very disturbed dream states looks wild and unsettling - it's quiet a relief to realise the weird unnervingness of it all wasn't just a side effect of it happening to you. The worst thing is the slowness of waking up - with a really bad set of night terrors, you sometimes can't quite shake the feeling it was all so real even fifteen to thirty years later, I find.
I still recall a recurrent dream from when I was six years old, when (suddenly worries about posting this on a public weblog) I dreamt regularly that someone was forcing cutlery up my arse - knives, forks, spoons, as my family watched, uncaring. For weeks, it would alternate with the less memorable nightmare of brown bears chasing me through Hyde Park. I vividly remember the final sequence every time - of looking down at my buttocks (it's so vivid that I can remember the quality of the skin, the shape - wish my arse looked like that now) and seeing the skin distorted into the shape of the cutlery beneath, with the fork tines stretching the flesh almost to breaking point. I think even at six I knew this wasn't the sort of dream you talk about when you wake up.
(Another reason why the opening sequence of 28 Days Later is so freaky, is its captureness of that strange, unreal feeling that sticks around for so long after)
These days it never seems to happen - despite living in a dark basement flat surrounded by a family of foxes who howl and claw at the windows on a nightly basis (they had a taste of my cat once, and the memory calls to their stomachs, I think). Or perhaps it's just that there's no-one there to prod me and remind me that I need to shut the hell up if I ever want a leg over again.
One of the weirdest active sleep episodes I ever had was while staying for a week at Duch's house. I know Duch regularly has sleep terrors much like mine had been. Although the emotions experienced aren't what we'd call waking real, they're very real at the point of experience, and it's a heartbreaking thing to witness someone you love experiencing such horror.
She walks, talks and has conversations. At that point, so did I.
Four in the morning (is there any more desperately emotionally draining hour of the day to be awake?), Duch sleepwalked into the guest room, and screamed hysterically, sleep-seeing burglars in the room. I half awoke. In my narcoleptic state, I saw not Duch, but a primitive subhuman, crouching naked and screaming. I did the logical thing: sat bolt upright and screamed hysterically at the neanderthal at the door, who steadily morphed into a screaming Duch.
Which was nice for Tybalt. 4am, Lunatic either side.
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Hackney Lookout
"Sat opposite a huge transvestite on the tube. Long blonde hair, tanned and cratered face, a pummeled nose: like an Aussi full-back on a hen night. Elbows held high, shielding eyes with a newspaper but highlighting legs like cabin logs."