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How-to Dreams

I had vivid dreams when I was a teenager. It must have been the hormones. Usually the dreams were of the normal teenager variety and uncommonly rich. But given the right mixture of hormones and stress, the incubative prowess of the subconscious mind would display itself.
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I had vivid dreams when I was a teenager. It must have been the hormones. Usually the dreams were of the normal teenager variety and uncommonly rich. But given the right mixture of hormones and stress, the incubative prowess of the subconscious mind would display itself.

When I was 16, two such perfect chemical interactions occurred. The first concerned my high school choir in which I sang bass. During performances, the young men would wear sport coats and ties, and I did not yet know how to tie one. Now my father had shown me how to tie it - there is nothing mystical here - but it was a difficult knot for me to learn. I could tie the knot, but clumsily. I did not like to do things clumsily. And knowing what needed to be done and knowing when it needed to be done, caused a good measure of anxiety.

I went to bed and dreamed I tied the tie. In the dream, tying the knot was simple and natural, just as it had been for my father. When I woke up in the morning, and every morning since, I have been able to easily tie a handsome Windsor knot.

The second problem a dream resolved for me was learning to drive a manual transmission. Again, it was not a difficult obstacle, not something I couldn't learn. But it was something I wanted to learn badly, right then, and my body just got in the way. I understood how it worked, but it was clunky in practice because of the lack thereof.

I uneasily went to sleep plagued with the thought of my halting, jerky imperfection. I slept. I dreamed. And the dream-sky was blue. And the day was tailor-made for the road. And the manual transmission in which I sat and operated posed no difficulties whatsoever. The coordination of clutch and shifting had been perfected. Smooth and capable, my mind and body were one.

The next day I was no longer learning how to drive a stick. I knew.

It's the brain showing off, really. Letting me know how proficient it is without my interference, without my gumming up the works with my fears.

As far as I can recall, these two issues are the only physical problems that my brain untangled in my dreams. I suspect, however, that the number of knots both tied and untied by my subconscious mind would be a rather impressive litany if it were known. Our bodies' methodology in problem solving is sometimes the same as an IT department's when we complain of computer woes: Restart the machine. Although dreaming is an altogether more human and wonderful affair.