Sunday Dec 04, 2022

The Sleepwalkers 2

One thing about dreams I noticed, is that I seem to jump in right in the middle of something. The fact that I was not there when the dream started is irrelevant, because as soon as I enter, I KNOW everything that has happened, and the current situation of things. It’s like when I play CALL OF DUTY, BROTHERS IN ARMS, GTA, MERCENARY, HALO or any other RPG and I resume from a checkpoint- with all my health, ammo and communications gear intact. In the dream, nothing is impossible. In the dreamworld, someone can be your father one moment and become your grandson the next. Or you can enter a house in New York and the backdoor opens in Port Harcourt.


In a dream, some unknown benefactor hands you game-changing weapons (I’m talking about my own experiences now), just at the right time when the bad guy has almost won. In a dream, you KNOW what to do to escape and that knowledge waits till the nick of time to show up. In a dream, people don’t need to talk before you hear- you just KNOW what they’re thinking. In a dream you don’t really have to cook, because someone somewhere would have prepared a magnificent feast and all you have to do is eat. And you don’t really need to wash anything except your wicked stepmother doesn’t allow you use the magical washing machine. In a dream you don’t really have to do anything when you meet a pretty girl, because she will see directly into the goodness of your heart and she will fall in love with you thus obviating the need for you to actually be awesome.

In a dream, you have superpowers to save the world- Batman, Spiderman, Superman and the whole Justice League and Avengers live together in YOUR Lunar Academy for Superheroes. In a dream, you can solve the world’s hunger problems by feeding them from the magic beanstalk in your backyard. In a dream, you can solve the middleast crises by calling their leaders and have them decide by playing Dance-Dance Revolution on Xbox. In a dream, people don’t need jobs because everybody is rich and can afford the nicest cars.

Because a dreamworld is so engaging, some dreamers turn somnambulistic. I remember coming across that word, when I was 13, in Reuben Abati’s editorial on the Kidnap of Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra state (Nigeria). In English, it means “sleepwalking”. Sleepwalking means just that- walking when you’re asleep. The sleeper has full control over his limbic system- he can walk without stumbling, sometimes without bumping into objects. If you were to observe a sleepwalker, you would think (s)he was going somewhere purposefully. For some people, in their sleep they write the most amazing things. In their sleep, they actually sing. A few of the songs I’ve written came while I was in that swampy zone between sleep and wakefulness! And some people are so good in their sleep, they will find the keys to the door/safe no matter where you hide them, and take whatever their subconscious wants.
In Bram Stoker’sDracula” such an experience is documented. Lucy Westenra started sleepwalking after she was bitten by Count Dracula (He had that habit as a human). She would walk out of the house, and even climb a ledge like she was going to jump.

Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” has bouts of sleepwalking, where she attempts to wash the stain of the murder she and Macbeth have planned and committed…lamenting that “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this damned spot”.


And my younger brother’s sleepwalking when he was about 9 was just eerie. He would wake up, say something, stand up from the bed, and start walking towards the door. I somehow managed to wake up at the right time, and stop him. Once I looked at his face…his eyes were wide open yet he was truly asleep! I waved my hands in front of his face- he didn’t even blink at all!
For some people it goes beyond just walking. They talk in their sleep, they even drive. When I was in law school I read this case about a man who drove to his father-in-law’s house, collected his shotgun and shot him twice; the court really believed him that he did all that while he was asleep (if you want to follow this up, read “Weird Cases”– By Gary Slapper).I know of some people that would leave the house and wander about at night…in the morning they’d find themselves back in bed, waking up tired and very dirty (but they are not aware that they have gone out).
My friend Ken Ogueji is one of the best bassists I know. When we were studying law at the University of Abuja, I heard that he always slept with a bass guitar beside him. His roommates said he would reach for the guitar and start playing in his sleep. I asked him one day whether he knew about that and he told me of how it all began- when he was still just learning the bass he had this dream about an alternative position for playing the Lydian mode of the diatonic scale. When he woke up, he tried it and he was correct! How’s that for a superhuman ability?
Oh, and in 2008 or so my high school classmates told me of how I used to sleep talk and call a certain girl’s name in my sleep. This sleeptalking was as far back as 2005. And I’m quite sure that I didn’t REALLY like her that much, but I guess the subconscious had its way of fighting back.
Annoying little machine, the mind.


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