Nobody else in the room seemed to find this peculiar because they were taking no notice. I was OK with it for a while too, and this was bothering me because maybe I was doing it regularly and I was just used to the idea. But then I started to panic.
I have had these episodes a few times, where I’m with groups of people in very public situations but always naked. I don’t understand that because it’s not something I like to do.
I’m pretty certain I’ve never exposed myself to the public. I’ve definitely never been to a nudist beach and have no desire to ever visit one either.
I have the kind of body that’s best kept under wraps, and no amount of money would ever encourage me to present it to anyone in its naked form.
So why am I dreaming about sitting at a meeting without my pants?
One theory is that we all fear being embarrassed in front of people and from a young age we’re told that we should always cover up so as to not expose ourselves to others.
So, dreaming about being naked means you’re worried about how people will think of you.
There’s another dream that pops up from time to time as well, where I’m in danger and trying to call for help but I can’t make a sound. I woke myself up a couple of times when I started shouting and that was a strange experience.
In the dream, I was trying to warn a friend of some imminent danger. In my head, I was shouting loudly but in the real world there was nothing but silence.
I was getting frantic as my friend was about to fall off a cliff and I was shouting for all I was worth but couldn’t raise a squeak. Then suddenly it worked, and I roared, which woke me and probably startled the neighbours.
According to Japanese legend, there is a spirit animal that comes into your house in the middle of the night and eats your nightmares to give you peace. It’s called a Baku. It looks like a pig with the head of a badger while, according to others, it’s a cross between an elephant, a tiger and a rhinoceros.
There’s no reference to what sound it makes, but I can tell you because I know. It’s a noisy guttural roar, and I know that for a fact because I’ve heard it. Let me explain.
My wife tells me that I snore occasionally, usually after too much alcohol. And I know when that happens because I’ll get an elbow in the kidneys and a feed of abuse. It’s annoying for the other person in the bed and I get that, but I have come across some characters that must make bedtime a real challenge for their other half.
Back in the noughties, when we were running humanitarian aid convoys to Belarus and western Russia, we often found ourselves bunking together in large groups. It could be in a large dormitory in an orphanage or on the floor of a day care centre.
You may only have met some of the guys in the sleeping bags beside you for the first time a week earlier, so you wouldn’t be familiar with their nocturnal habits. That wouldn’t last long though.
We were in one of those orphanages one night, in the middle of nowhere. There was a large, grassy area surrounding the building where all the trucks and ambulances parked. Truckers don’t like being too far away from their rigs when they’re not sleeping in them — they’d bring them inside with them if they could.
Anyway, we were after a long day and looking forward to a night’s sleep. It was a large room with a high ceiling and lino on the floor and a rough and ready toilet down the hall that you could find by following your nose.
There were about 15 beds in the room and most of us were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. Until the noise started that is.
This guy began to snore. I’m calling it a snore just so you’ll know what I’m talking about, but it was reality something more.
It began with a slight rumbling in the bowels of the earth and built up gradually until it was unleashed into the room and rattled the windows. It was horrendous.
Missiles were hurled in his general direction and some hit the target, which brought about short periods of peace while he shifted position.
He was resilient though and never took long to pick up where he left off.
It was so bad, we couldn’t figure out how he was able to sleep through it himself, not to mention the rest of us, and it became apparent that we were in for a long and restless night. But then the truckers stepped up to the mark.
A bunch of them gathered around the bed and lifted the mattress with the offender attached and brought it outside. They placed him in the back of an ambulance and left him there.
That wasn’t the end of it though because he could still be heard by the rest of us in the dormitory.
Looking back at that episode now, I feel a bit guilty because I realise after all these years, that the poor guy was blamed in the wrong. He was completely innocent.
That noise was too unnatural to be human and there’s only one explanation.
It was the Baku.