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  • Writer's pictureEric Spitz

Dreaming Yourself Awake (an Ode to Bessie)

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

The other day I had a dream I felt compelled to share with others.

While my dreams normally take on a surrealist nature and are more odd than anything, as most dreams are, this one felt as if it had a deeper meaning.

The first half of my dream centered around my 2000 Intrigue, who I’ve nicknamed Bessie, given that I feel like I’m 87 when I drive her. I hold a lot of fond memories with Bessie, not only because she was my first car, but because my memories with her go back prior to my adolescent driving years. My parents bought Bessie new from a dealership in 2000, back of course before I coined the nickname. Joel and I got in the backseat, excited as any kids could be for having a new car to ride around in. We had it established on who sat in which side before the papers were even signed. Needless to say it didn’t take us long to get attached to Bessie.

Fast forward all the way to last year, I became convinced that the universe was trying to destroy Bessie. Up until that point I’d been very fortunate when it came to accidents. Other than the occasional hitting of a curb or giving vehicles a little love tap while trying to park, as any inexperienced driver is bound to do, myself and Bessie have walked away unscathed. It wasn’t until January of 2018 before anything worse happened. I was taking the Holt Road exit of US-127 heading to work when I pulled up to the stop sign to turn right. Upon checking to see if traffic was clear, I felt the indistinguishable feeling of being struck from behind. This was a little harder than a love tap.

Upon getting out to assess the damage, to my surprise there was none. I felt extremely grateful, and decided to continue my morning as normal after the other driver and I parted ways.

A few weeks later on February 1, it was like Deja Vu all over again. I got off at that same Holt Road exit, pulled up to that same intersection to turn right, and was struck much harder this time. The first altercation was between Bessie and another mid-size car, so the fight was pretty evenly matched. This altercation was with a white industrial van. The van won.

Though I was thankful no one was hurt, I was saddened at the thought that it was the end of Bessie. While weighing out options on how to proceed, I was surprised to hear that a family friend was willing to give Bessie new life for the cost of the insurance payout, which would hardly fix the taillights at any run of the mill mechanic shop. I gladly chose that option, because I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my old friend. I wasn’t concerned about her being perfect, just functional. After a few weeks he was able to work his magic, and Bessie was able to hit the road once more.

Now that you’ve made it through that long-winded backstory, here’s how it all relates to my dream. Since having Bessie restored, she’s had a few other setbacks that have prevented me from driving her this winter. She’s been parked in my yard ready to greet me as I come home from work in my 2007 Buick Lucerne, who I haven’t nicknamed yet.

In this dream I had, my dad spends all day fixing the alternator on Bessie, which is one of her current issues. After taking her for a drive and coming home, I try putting her in park in the driveway as I regularly do. Except Bessie doesn’t stay parked. Instead, she continues to keep moving forward in the driveway, despite me pressing on the brakes (which still also need to be fixed, but that’s beside the point). She keeps moving forward until I rear-end my own Buick. Upon making contact, Bessie completely falls apart, even though it was just a love tap.

I get out to of the car to see a panel of people standing in my driveway, watching the whole thing go down. They unanimously are shaking their heads and telling me it’s time to let go. The meaning in that portion of the dream was pretty cut and dried.

The second half of my dream took what I initially thought to be a positive turn. The second half involved a girl I used to be close with. She’s the same one I mention in previous blog posts, so I’ll spare the long-winded backstory on her. In this dream we’re talking and joking just how we used to, as if awkward timing and the lateral movement of time hadn’t ever drifted us apart. I found it odd she was on my mind at all, as we haven’t spoken to each other in over six months. At first my subconscious was wondering if I should change that.

I didn’t give the dream much more thought until a few days later, when I had a soul shaking experience with a waitress at a brewery. I never thought I’d have such an awakening in the quaint town of Howell, Michigan, but stranger things have happened. What starts as harmless banter and friendly small-talk involving different IPAs they had on tap and admiring the finer details on their decor turned into talks on conspiracies, metaphysics and other vast existential ideas.

In this vast sea of deep conversation, the waitress mentioned she was an empath and able to read people’s energy, in addition to interpreting dreams. Given this waitress was someone I could confide in, I told her all about my dream of my car and the girl. While I thought both aspects of the dream were disconnected, I soon realized after our conversation they were centered around the same theme: letting go.

Letting go is never easy, especially for someone as sentimental as I am. The dream showed me all of the different forms letting go can take. Memories often serve a dual-purpose in these scenarios. They serve as a bridge between yourself and the item, whether it’s a tangible object or a relationship. The memories can bring a smile while reminiscing on a moment captured in time. But if that memory becomes embellished and trapped within the constructs of the still frame it’s placed in, it can become a choke-hold, and make letting go all the more difficult. Whether you’re letting go of something tangible or intangible, it’s important to remember that the meaning we attach to them is subjective, but the fond memories shared will always remain despite the steady motion of time.

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