A Close Shave

I was in the locker room of this shop where I worked, getting changed into my uniform before my shift.  I was about to head out to work with the rest of the crew, when I heard a sharp grunt of anger somewhere behind me.  The locker room was filled with clouds of steam from the showers, but I made my way through the steam until I came upon one of my co-workers holding a pair of electric clippers in one hand and brushing his other hand across a spot just above his ear.  I looked close and I could see that he had nicked himself with the clippers and taken out a big chunk of hair above his ear.  I told him that the only thing he could really do to fix it was to shave the rest of his head.

He made a hard frown and a curse, but he acknowledged what I said and he headed over to one of the mirrors above the sinks on the other side of the locker room.  But things got confused in the cloud of steam and suddenly it was me holding the clippers and walking towards the mirror.  It was me that had to shave my head now.  The steam had fogged up the mirror.  I tried to clear the fog away with my hand, smoothing out a clear circle in the middle of the mirror, but as soon as I had that hole cleared and I tried to see myself so that I could shave my head, the mirror would just instantly fog over again.  I tried to just shave my head without being able to see what I was doing, plowing long even strips up one side and then the other.  But when I pulled the clippers away and felt my head to see if I’d gotten everything, I would always feel thick patches of hair that I had missed.  I would never be able to do this without being able to see myself.

There was a room upstairs above the shop, where I thought I might find a mirror and maybe a little pair of scissors to get a closer trim.  The room was a brightly lit bedroom with a low ceiling and a big four-posted bed with thick, darkly lacquered, wooden posts. There was a matching wooden dresser across the room.  It sat beneath the front window which looked out on the grey day outside and the quiet residential street below.  I rifled through the drawers of the dresser, trying to find the mirror and the scissors, but there was nothing but old bracelets and earings and little plastic figurines and loose red and white dice misplaced from some board games.

I finally found a little pair of nail trimming scissors in one of the bottom drawers, but still no mirror.  I looked out the window and I saw someone in a heavy winter coat passing on the sidewalk below.  I could ask them!  They could trim my hair.  They could see what they were doing.  I fumbled with the latch on the window, trying to get it open so that I could call down to the person on the sidewalk and ask for their help before they slipped away.


4 thoughts on “A Close Shave

  1. That was very vivid and realistic, in dream-logic terms, of course.

    Perhaps one of the rules of dream-logic is that when you try to do something that requires a certain continuity, such as find your way back, or complete a task, you can never complete it, because the scene has changed in some way. In my dreams, at any rate.


  2. Yeah, I find that to often be the case too.

    I was wondering here if I had stumbled onto another one of those peculiar dream rules, this one being that you can't look in mirrors in dreams. I've heard other rules, like you can't work light switches or read text, but I've usually come across something in my experience that proves to be an exception to these so-called rules. I was trying to think of a dream where I'd successfully looked in a mirror. Nothing comes readily to mind, but I believe it may have happened before.

    At any rate, I think frustration seems to be the order of many dreams, in many forms.


  3. Yeah, this was extremely vivid, not just because of the description, but because I always have those frustrating 'one task after another but never able to complete any of them' dreams. I wonder why the brain puts us through such seemingly impossible, endless tasks via dreams. Seems kind of masochistic, don't you think?


  4. Yes, it does.

    I was looking back through the archive here to see the last time I had a good example of one of those types a dreams (or at least the last one I wrote about.) I was surprised. It went all the way back to last July, and a post called “Late Fees.” There were a few other partial examples, but that seemed to be the one that was really a good, complete example of one of those types of dreams. The whole thing involved around me trying to find a lost video tape to return to the video store. (I notice these kinds of dreams tend to revolve around fairly mundane problems, but the more you get invested in doing the thing, the more obstacles that the dream puts in the way, sometimes to the point of absurdity.)

    I'm not sure why our brains do this to us.


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