Nightmare #296 – Test Anxiety Too Late

(Male, 30’s) This was one of those classic nightmares, the kind everyone talks about having but it was so vivid, so real. It didn’t seem like a joke at the time. I was really on edge.

I was walking down a hallway very similar to the hallways at the place where I work but it was crowded. It felt like there were hundreds of people trying to go one way or the other in the hallway. People were desperate. It struck me as not very professional.

I finally got to the room where I was headed and I sat down. Then I realized it was a chemistry lab, a high school chemistry lab. I remembered that I had enrolled in a science class and that I guess I hadn’t attended in months. I recognized the room but I didn’t know anything about what was going on.

The teacher started off with a game. I sort of caught on and I thought, maybe, I could fake my way through the whole class period. Then the teacher handed out the test.

It was actually kind of cool. We each pulled a plastic figurine out of a large cardboard box and we had to describe its molecular structure… that is, pretending that it represented a molecule. The guy next to me had something that looked like a clear glass giraffe. Even I knew that was supposed to be CH4 – which is a “realization” that is simply hilarious in retrospect.

The thing I pulled out looked like a sea anenome with maybe a dozen long spikes pointing out of it, some of which had jointed articulations. Even the teacher seemed to think I’d selected a hard one. I was confused and I started to panic a bit. It got worse when I realized I hadn’t brought any paper or even a pen. I do all my work on a computer so it’s probably been a week or so since I’ve used paper as part of my job.

I looked up at the door. It seemed so far away. Just then two of my actual co-workers walked by. They looked in at me and just shook their heads in pity. These are two people who I admire and the way they looked at me was crushing. I found that part the most disturbing.

I looked around the room. I was wearing a suit and tie, a normal business suit and I was crouching on this chair that was too small, sitting in a room full of teenagers in jeans and greasy hair. Teenagers who also seemed to know more chemistry that I did. The teacher was collecting the tests. I still didn’t even have a paper to hand in. The creature I had selected was beautiful, intriguing but it wasn’t a chemical. I think it might have actually been alive. I held it in my hand even though I knew its long spines might prick me.

I woke up just as I was about to be found out as a fake.

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