This is the fifth chapter of Cheese Dreams, an experiment in which I sacrifice my body in order to uncover the science of cheese-induced dreaming.
In a shining example of good begets good, I watched my friend’s dog while she was vacationing in Norway, and she brought me chocolate-covered blue cheese.
Of course, the rectangular pieces are artfully wrapped in a cone of beautiful thick paper, I like to imagine, by the lanky Nordic son of the chocolatier. Anyway. These confections are interesting: Dark chocolate on the outside and a salty-sweet blue cheese mixture inside. It wasn’t smelly in the slightest. It was subtle, but sharp. I immediately was into them. So I tried one before bed every night until they were gone. And here’s what happened:
The first night, I dreamed that I was on my way to meet my ex-boyfriend and his brofriend at a bar for a drink. I didn’t have any dinner and wanted to grab something quick and easy. (That’s why the world deserves a taco shop on every corner.)
There was something very alternate universe about this taco shop, though, in that it was run by a jovial Russian man. I asked him for a chicken taco.
I nodded. He laughed. I apologized.
“It’s no problem,” he said in a thick Russian accent. “You are like my daughter. She comes in here and wants the one taco.”
He went about making my one taco. There was a guy next to me in line trying feebly to strike up a conversation with me, but I don’t remember what he was saying. This is perhaps the most realistic part of the dream.
The Russian taquerista comes back with one chicken taco, a yogurt, and a small cup of coffee.
“Uh, thank you,” I said, reaching for my wallet.
He waved me away. “Don’t worry.”
“I’ll come back sometime,” I said, and he smiled.
As I was on the side counter putting creamer in the coffee I didn’t order or want, I looked back at the guy I was in line with. He wasn’t bad looking. Your standard issue white guy. I was trying to remember the quality of our conversation, trying to decide whether to write down my number on a napkin and hand it to him on the way out the door.
End of scene.
The second night, I had yet another dream with my ex in it (this fucking chocolate blue cheese, man.) It was a classic case of dream recall delay. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember any dreams, and so decided I must not have had any. Then— BAM! — the dream came back to me like a ton of bricks.
I dreamed we had gone together to his mother’s house. The odd thing, or perhaps not so odd depending on your relationship history, is that we were broken up in the dream, but we had agreed to take a mutual friend to visit his mom’s house together. (A thinly veiled excuse devised by my Subconcious.)
Randomly, my fifth grade teacher was there with a friendly, if slightly skeptical, look on his face. Just sitting in the corner seat of the L-shaped couch. Nothing strange about that.
At one point during the course of our visit at ma’s, my ex and I found our faces very close together. He suggested we go into his mom’s bedroom and put a sign on the door. I would love to remember what that sign said. Once inside, we started making out. The worst part is that it was a really good make-out session.
And this is where my Subconcious dropped me off: In the middle of a desolate dreamscape burning with nostalgia, but deserted of meaning. It’s not an entirely surprising dream; that night before bed, while nibbling on my chocolate-covered blue cheese, I was looking for a photo and stumbled across one of my ex and I kissing. Feelings happened. Clearly feelings I went to bed with. Sad, but true. Harsh, but fair.
Not all cheese dreams can be the dystopian fantasies I ususally enjoy. Sometimes, they’re real as fuck.
The next night I had a rather underdeveloped dream, but it brought about a half-answer to an expansive, question: “Do I believe that things happen for a reason, and if so, do dreams happen for a reason, too?” I don’t necessarily mean that you have a dream about going to get your car washed, and then the next morning you meet the love of your life in the line-up at Ducky’s. I mean that dreams may have the power to bring about minor tweaks to our perception that fine-tune how we experience our daily lives.
This dream was an example of that. The chocolate-covered blue cheese, yet again, brought a man into my dreams (more on this in the interpretation section below.)
In the dream I had just gotten out of the shower when the door bell rang. (Don’t worry, this is safe for children.) I remember being surprised. I wrapped myself in my towel and peaked through the peephole down the first flight of stairs to the street, but couldn’t see anyone. Probably just a drunk frat boy (I don’t live near a college, it’s just that all of San Francisco feels like a frat house lately).
I opened the door to my apartment so I could see better; there’s a gate and a flight of stairs separating my apartment door and the street. I noticed a shadow of a bicycle cast in front of the gate.
“Hello?” I said. Then, this guy I had seen a couple times popped out from behind his bike into view.
“Oh, hey,” I said. “Whatcha doing? You want to come up?”
I knew enough about this guy to feel safe having him up. When I say “safe” I mean physically, but also socially — I knew I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind with him. I buzzed him in.
“Come on in, I’m just going to get dressed,” I said.
As I began to weigh my underwear options, my Subconcious turned the dream off, like a fucking nun, and I slipped back into sleep.
As I said, the dream was underdeveloped because, well, that could have been a fun one. I got out of bed with reticence and went about making my coffee in my pajamas. Then (and this is real life now, folks) the doorbell rang! I repeated the exact steps of my dream, looking through the peephole, then opening the door. But, instead of a shadow of some dude’s bike, I saw a good friend and her two 5-year-old boys on their way to school.
“Hey! Look at me, I’m in my PJs making coffee. How are you guys?”
“Good, we’re just walking to school and stopped to say hi,” my friend said.
“You got time? You want to come up?” I asked.
“If we did that we’d be tardy, but we’ll take a hug!”
So, I went down and gave some hugs.
“I’m in kindergarten now!” one of the twins shouted back to me on his way down the street.
This dream, and the next morning’s reality, urged me to consider the multitude of life’s seemingly inconsequential surprises that are constantly at work, but hardly ever noticed. They don’t need an invitation. They don’t need an announcement. But, they sure have a way of shutting up your inner Eor.
Interpretation: All of these dreams feature men with whom I have a romantic connection. It is interesting to note that while cheese is not considered an aphrodisiac, chocolate sure is. There are two chemicals found in chocolate that are linked to sexual desire: Tryptophan, the same shit that’s in turkey, and phenylethylamine, amphetamine’s more mellow cousin. Most scientists believe that the amounts of these chemicals found in chocolate is too small to cause any noticeable effect. Perhaps in chocolate-covered blue cheese, however, these two chemicals combine with the hallucinogenic properties of the mold to create an aphrodreamiac. True to the science, there aren’t enough chemicals there to actually get you off, but enough to make you almost hit on a dude in your local Russian taqueria, make-out with your ex in his mother’s bedroom, and mistake shadows for lovers.
Johanna is a writer, editor, professional Googler, and arm-chair sociologist who arcs towards proper adulthood in the Mission District of San Francisco.