Nightmare #198 – Library Out of Time

(Male, 50’s) I don’t know if this qualifies as a nightmare but it was a deeply disturbing dream. I haven’t been in college in decades incidentally.

In the dream, I was in a college library. It was early Saturday morning and there were only a few students, the good students, the ones that were actually studying on the weekend and not sleeping in. I sat at one of the long wooden tables. I had a cloth backpack at my feet, just like the one I used to have many years ago and there were my class books on the table. I was looking through an art book, one of those huge coffee table volumes about some current artist. About this time, I fell asleep in the dream.

When I awoke, it was late in the weekend. It may have been Sunday but it didn’t feel like a Sunday. The students that were around me were the raucous type who’d probably been partying all weekend and now had to cram in some studying before classes started again. The books in front of me had been covered by newspapers like some one had been reading a Sunday paper. I looked for my books underneath them but they were all gone, the text books that I owned as well as the book I had been looking at. At my feet, my backpack had changed to a paper shopping bag filled with junk, literally scavenged junk. I was still disoriented from my nap.

“…At my feet, my backpack had changed to a paper shopping bag filled with junk, literally scavenged junk…”

I figured someone had just re-shelved the books since it appeared I wasn’t using them. I found the art book I was looking at but the name of the artist was actually the name of someone I know in real life, someone who IS an artist. I stumbled over to the line to check this book out. There were two very long lines of noisy students who looked at me oddly. A librarian gestured at me and said she’d open another window for me, even though I wasn’t the next person in line. At this point I realized that I had my daughter with me, though in the dream she was only 4 years old. She’s really grown up and living on her own. I followed the librarian. She went into an office that had a window facing the hallway but the window was about 2 feet off the ground. I had to sit down on the floor to be helped. I told her I wanted to check out that book and she looked at my card and said “This card expired in 1987.” I have no idea why that date would be significant, by the way. I didn’t understand. “Does that mean I can’t check out books?” “No you can’t” “How can I make it work again?” “You can’t” “Can I volunteer, perhaps tutor?” “No, you can’t” “But at least I can still come in the library and use the resources here, right?” “No, you can’t.” By this time the librarian was weeping, just sobbing so I didn’t continue my line of questioning though I still didn’t understand what had happened. I called for my daughter and we started making our way toward the exit. It was strange to be seeing the library for the last time. My daughter asked everyone we passed what time it was.

I awoke horribly disoriented. In fact, I HAD overslept.

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