Corinne, a friend living in the US, called me up at 11:45 pm to catch-up on the latest miseries in our lives. I was very, very sleepy, but she sounded very worried. Her husband, Lino, has been suffering from terrible nightmares the past few weeks. Corinne thinks it’s stress-related. Lino is an intensive care specialist, and he’s been getting super exhausted from managing all the critical COVID patients in the ICU. They live in an area where many people don’t wear masks and choose not to get vaccinated. Their neighbors hold protest rallies outside municipal halls chanting “We will not comply! We will not comply!”
I asked Corinne to give me more details about the dreams, so we could interpret them together. Corinne and I were psychology majors back in college, and we like to pretend that we remember something from decades ago. The prominent imagery in Lino’s recurrent nightmare is lava. A volcano explodes, there is wild egress of lava, and it disintegrates the neighboring communities. Also, earthquakes and natural calamities abound.
“Any Psych 101 student can tell you that it is a Freudian dream,” I declared with extreme condescension. “Your husband is aching to fuck. The lava is cum, Corinne, how could you not figure it out. A volcano ruptures, boiling lava spurts all over into the village, and seeps into the crevices, YOUR crevices!”
Corinne, who looked quite impressed, immediately whispered my interpretations to Lino, who was having ginseng chicken with their kids. Corinne tried to explain in Filipino, so that the kids wouldn’t get an unscheduled lecture on the psychic manifestations of unrealized fornication.
“Ang panaginip mo daw ay sumisimbolo sa pagniniig,” Corinne whispered to Lino. “And the lava is ano… ano nga sa tagalog ang likido na lumalabas sa ari ng lalaki?”
It took all my Catholic restraint not to press an imaginary game show buzzer and scream: “Tamod! Tamod!!!”