This dream was perfect and real.

I knew it was a dream.

I’ve been awake in dreams before and there are ways to tell, but none of them work all of the time and all of them tend to jar me awake. The main way I figure this out is when there is background news on radio or TV. I pick up speech patterns where there is clear language for a few words and then a mumble. Clear words… mumble. Over and over.

I figured out that my dreaming brain would need to improvise complete newscasts if it were to trick my lucid dreaming brain into thinking nothing strange was going on. When I listen carefully, I recognize partial nonsense like “… and in the news this evening blah bloop bu blah blah blah.”

So now I’m always “Aha! – stupid brain! I figured you out, man! You’re not smart enough to create an endless stream of believable news content!” So that’s when I have fun with that world and do things I could never do otherwise – like jump up and fly, or go visit other planets, convince someone to change their political stance, be taller or stronger… anything I can think of in that space.

I decided to try to talk to my brain – maybe see if he is really behind this all. And if he’s not the one creating this world I’m dreaming, maybe I can talk to someone else in that world and start to figure this out. So in my lucid state, I remember my goal is to reach out and talk to someone with answers, presumably my brain.

And in this dream, I’m in a high school hallway between classes, so the crowd is thick and moving fast. I don’t recognize anyone. All I know is this will be unique to all my dreams if somehow I can reach out and get someone’s attention. It might change my life. Maybe I can talk to someone who knows someone else who can make a difference. Someone in there might be able to offer me something. Maybe they’ll listen to me and make a few changes.

Whatever I do, I cannot get anyone to pay attention until an odd teenage girl stops halfway down a flight of stairs. As all the other kids continue to walk past her, she looks up and to her left and she finds me. No one else can see me, and I don’t know what I look like or how old I am, or if I’m myself or one of the students. I don’t know if she recognizes me.

I say “hello,” but my tiny voice is smothered in the anxious energy rushing past me to classes. The girl’s mouth forms shapes that might have meant “not now,” and then she shuffles down the steps and away.

I’m unwilling to pursue her. I feel like I got what I came for, and maybe this will start something. Somehow also know this could cause some serious problems, and I force an end to that negative energy, choosing to be hopeful. I convince myself that we need this new connection, this new energy, some new ideas, and now we’re on our way.

But I’ve been tricked by that dreaming brain before.