QUITE A LOT OF MY DREAMS involve boats, almost as many as involve beer and/or dancing girls. And so it was the other night when I dreamed I was an interested spectator at a small boatyard.
They had a marine railway for hauling boats out of the water for bottom-painting and repairs, and they were just re-launching a full-keel sailboat of about 25 feet.
She slid slowly down the rails, held upright by a wooden cradle, until she reached the water. Two workmen were aboard to release her from the cradle when she floated free, one in the cockpit and one on the foredeck. But she didn’t float free. Still tied to the cradle, she started to disappear as the railway extended into deeper water.
The workmen on board started shouting to the man at the head of the slipway, who sat in a small shed with his hands on levers. But it seemed he couldn’t hear them, or didn’t want to obey their requests to haul the boat back up the inclined railway.
The men on board jumped into the water and swam ashore as the boat finally disappeared under water, blowing huge bubbles of air from the closed companionway hatch and the Dorade box up forward.
Next thing, two scuba divers appeared and swam out to the mast, which was the only thing still sticking out of the water. They dived and obviously cut the boat free from the launching cradle to which she had been tied.
She suddenly popped up to the surface at high speed and flew into the air some 20 or 30 feet, or so it seemed in my dream, and came down stern first. The cockpit filled with water, which rushed below and filled the cabin. This time, she sank like a brick.
The man in the shed said: “Sorry about that. I was texting. Let’s start over and try again.” But he got down and started to run when the scuba divers came out of the water with their knives drawn.
My dream ended there, so I don’t know what happened to the men or the boat, but I can’t help wondering if there is a message here, or possibly a warning. My wife says I’d better have my tea leaves read, just in case. But I’m not keen on that. I’ll see if I can find someone who reads beer suds. That might make more sense.
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
— Dr. William C. Dement, Newsweek, 30 Nov 59
After years of toil and research, Eli Whitney emerged from his workshop one night with great news.
“I’ve just invented a cotton gin,” he declared proudly.
“Big deal,” snorted his wife. “So who needs a fluffy martini?”