The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 2, 2013

MICHELE M. BENDER | Dream a shorter dream

Michele Mikesic Bender

JOHNSTOWN — Denise stopped by and caught me napping. “How can you sleep with that bright light on?” she asked.

“Girlfriend, I could sleep in a checkout line at Wal-Mart. If sleeping was an Olympic event, I’d have a gold medal!”

Daylight saving time is seven days away. You know, “spring ahead, fall back?”

I’m genuinely fond of “fall back” when I enjoy an extra hour of sleep. “Spring ahead,” not so much.

Benjamin Franklin “dreamed up” the concept while he served as ambassador to France in 1784. His proverb, “Early to bed, early to rise…” emphasized the positive sides of DST.

Supporters contend that it saves energy, reduces crime and auto accidents, plus promotes evening outdoor activity, which is good for us physically and psychologically.

The 1973 oil embargo spurred Congress to extend DST to eight months, creating unforeseen problems logistically.

Our high school faced an unnerving trend as students took advantage of the extended darkness to promote mischief and romance. At 7 a.m. the parking lot qualified for an R rating.

Lawmakers adjusted the conflict in 1975.

For me, it’s all about sleep. Every fall, I harvest a bonus hour. Darkness encourages me to “jammy up” at 6 p.m.  Long inky mornings make sleeping in cozier, too.

Shakespeare wrote, “To sleep, perchance to dream.”

I always dream in color. I must subconsciously know it’s unreal because, if necessary, I can “rewind” and change things.

“My blue dress would look better,” I muse, and POOF! I relive a fantasy in blue.

The night before my heart catheterization four years ago, I dreamed the Michelin Tire Man performed the procedure, assisted by Poppinfresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy.

My mind is clearly a dangerous place for a woman alone to spend time.

Do you recall the TV show, “Providence?” A lady doctor, Syd, relocated to Rhode Island when her mom died. Every episode began with the dearly departed appearing in a dream to offer advice and guidance.

I LIVE “Providence.” My deceased relatives pack my dreams. Sometimes, we all live together. For special occasions, we celebrate huge festive family dinners.

In one vivid illusion, James Garner presented me with a stunning diamond engagement ring at Thanksgiving. (Mom took me aside in the kitchen to gripe that it was too small!)

Another time, Aunt Sis rescued me from a 45-pound spider that was hiding in my bathroom. She clubbed him to death with the toilet brush, but had a really difficult time flushing him.

In 1999, I house-hunted, eventually narrowing my choices to three favorite properties. I dreamed that my father accompanied me to make my final selection. He picked this house for me. Father knows best.

I’d write more but it’s bedtime. I need to store up more Zs to counteract “spring ahead” next week.

Readers, do you have any unforgettable dreams?

Zany, touching, prophetic ... tell me about it. I’ll share the results after Easter!

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and a member of  The Tribune-Democrat’s Readership Advisory Committee.

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