« Coining a Phrase: "Christian Victim Front" | Main | An Interesting Thought »

March 31, 2006

Here's a Question:

Has anyone else ever had a dream just about reading and answering e-mail? Not, like, sexy e-mail. Just e-mail. I can't imagine I'm the only one, and yet I find it disturbing to do something so mundane during my REM sleep.

Posted by john at March 31, 2006 08:44 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Stan | March 31, 2006 09:00 AM

I've had dreams playing Tetris or other video games but not email.

I had no idea that received much sexy email.

Come thing, I used to have dreams that were annoying in that they were so mundane, they were hard to separate from reality, especially when I dozed in the afternoon. Sometimes I would dream that I was lying on the couch listening to the radio and thinking. Then, I'd snap awake, be on the couch but the radio was off and music had all been in my head.

John H | March 31, 2006 09:11 AM

Never had the email dream, but plenty of other dreams of mundane things. They are usually work-related and seem to occur when a particular project or task at work is becoming overly stressful - I guess my mind keeps worrying about it even when I'm asleep.

Then again, most times I don't remember what I was dreaming about. So it is certainly possible that I answered email in my sleep and simply can't recall having done so...

Joe Hass | March 31, 2006 09:11 AM


Really...try the caffeine-free stuff for just a couple days...you won't be able to tell the difference.

We're just here looking out for you.


CoolBlue | March 31, 2006 09:14 AM


Smurf | March 31, 2006 10:15 AM

I had a sex dream interrupted by Bank Of America spam once.

Douglas | March 31, 2006 10:19 AM

Sadly, just the other day. Specifically I dreamt I was constantly checking email for a new gem.

Had tetris like dreams too. In fact they are the main reason I can't play video games after 5PM anymore. In college I discovered after hours of tetris and drinking that I would lie half awake attempting to 'organize stuff'.

Rachel | March 31, 2006 10:32 AM

I've definitely had dreams about shuffling around word documents. Email may have been involved.

Scott Lynch | March 31, 2006 10:44 AM

During a bad case of food poisoning about seven years ago, I had a fever dream that I was typing things into an Excel spreadsheet.

For approximately six hours.


Steve Eley | March 31, 2006 11:02 AM

Man, I wish I answered e-mail in my sleep. Then I could spend my waking hours doing other things.

Naomi | March 31, 2006 11:05 AM

I've had a dream that featured posting on an electronic community I participate in. Now that's humiliating.

Lately, all my dreams have featured my school-choice-related anxieties. Molly starts Kindergarten next fall. We had to make our choices back in early January (actually, I think I sent in my card in December) and then they send out the school assignments "at the end of March." (We get to list our top two preferences, but there are no guarantees that we'll get either unless one is our community school -- and it wasn't, as our community school is a mess. I listed two magnet schools.) Anyway, I've been obsessively checking my mail. Two nights ago, I dreamed that the school assignment was delivered by someone who nailed the envelope to our front door, just to ensure the proper sense of drama, I guess. In that dream, not only did we not get either school we wanted, but she was assigned to a community school with a dubious curriculum in the worst neighborhood in south Minneapolis. Then last night, I dreamed that we got an envelope from the school board but instead of a school assignment, it turned out to be a letter saying that we'd filled out the form wrong and thus hadn't been assigned a school at all.

At least I'm not having anxiety dreams about my pending travel.

John Klima | March 31, 2006 11:19 AM

Back in my mis-spent youth, I worked at a Wendy's. Sometimes I'd have dreams at night of working at the grill. And like your e-mail dreams, not sexy dreams. It was like I worked a shift in my dreams. Also had Tetris dreams. For me, they usually occur when I've been doing something for extended periods of time (i.e. working for 8 hours straight on a Wendy's grill).

John Klima

Roba | March 31, 2006 11:21 AM

wow... I actually have had a dream about reading and writting an email. But it is part of a nightmare I have often. I am scared, but all I am doing is typing.

Gabe | March 31, 2006 11:23 AM

I've dreamt of responding to emails. I've also had exhausting dreams of fixing printers. On the video game side of thing I used to dream about the original Command and Conquer.

John Scalzi | March 31, 2006 11:40 AM

I had a dream about Quake once. That was weird.

John H | March 31, 2006 11:53 AM

I had a dream about Quaker Oats one time - wait, no that was just breakfast.

Never mind...

Brian Greenberg | March 31, 2006 12:03 PM

Hey, maybe there's an entirely separate internet that exists only in our dreams, and people only receive e-mail on it when others dream about sending e-mail on it...

OK, nevermind...

Harry Connolly | March 31, 2006 12:09 PM

Several months ago, NPR did a report on a dream researcher that found differences (generally speaking, of course) between the sort of dreams liberals and conservatives had. It seems that folks on the left dream about weird and fantastic happenings, while folks on the right dream about their everyday life.

So, John, you're either the exception to the rule, a secret conservative or that researcher was full of goose down.

Anonymous | March 31, 2006 12:18 PM

Well, I have weird dreams too, to be sure. Indeed, that's what makes the e-mail dream so unusual.

Brandon | March 31, 2006 12:46 PM

I once had a dream that I posted stupid comments to Whatever. Wait a minute...

Nate Trost | March 31, 2006 02:02 PM

Sadly, I not only rarely remember dreams, I rarely remember having even dreamt.

One of the rare exceptions of a vividly remembered dream is so banal and stupid it still irritates me to this day. I dreamt that my alarm went off. I decided to reset it to sleep in a bit later and then went back to sleep.

That was the dream. I remembered this dream when I alarm went off at its original time and woke me up.

I was so disgusted I got up rather than sleeping in.

Miko | March 31, 2006 03:28 PM

I've had dreams about using IRC. Also, once one about being logged into FurryMUCK and waiting boredly for other people to show up. Oy.

Karl | March 31, 2006 06:21 PM

My brother has had his dreams interrupted by commercials and he sometimes gets to read credits scrolling up at the end. Too much TV, I guess.

A friend of mine dreamt he woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door, woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door, woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door. He felt exhausted and frustrated not to be able to wake up in the real world.

My dreams, when I remember them, are usually incoherent with no consistent form. A typical problem for me is that I'm trying to get to a previous location in the dream but meanwhile the physical layout of the world has changed. Some consistency in the universe is a nice thing.

Not Anonymous, Super Anonymous! | March 31, 2006 07:09 PM

I remember dreaming that I was surfing the web. This was about 10 years ago, when I was still in high school and people still called it "surfing the web". In the dream, I was looking for web pages I shouldn't have been looking for, when I heard my parents upstairs. To hide the evidence, I hit Open Apple - Q...and woke up!

RONW | March 31, 2006 07:13 PM

John, try clicking the X button on the upper right corner of the Email inbox to extract yourself out of the loop. If that doesn't work then you'd immediately realize where you are or were.

Ulrika | March 31, 2006 07:55 PM

Nope, no e-mail dreams. The ones I remember tend to be things like accidentally showing up naked at the unicycle races, or rocketing through several skyscrapers to land in a wastepaper basket in the last one, knocking down a rack-ful of bicycles and knowing that the polar bears will be upset, and so forth. If the NPR guy is right, I guess that means I was a liberal for years before finding any inclination for it.

Angie | March 31, 2006 11:06 PM

I have, twice in the last week, had dreams about organizing things. The first time, I had gone grocery shopping with several people (the actual shopping part was not in my dream) and the dream consisted of a very long, drawn out scene where I was trying to figure out the best way to arrange the objects in the basket after I'd paid for them. (They weren't in bags or anything)

And then just last night I dreamt that my fiance and I flew somewhere, but only I was flying back, and I had to bring his stuff, too. In the dream I was sitting at the gate trying to figure out how to arrange all of our things so I wouldn't have to check anything. Lots of zip ties were involved, which the airport had convienently located in a big bin at the gate.

I'm losing it, I think.

Josh Jasper | March 31, 2006 11:07 PM

Yep. It's a sign of reality being so strange, you escape to the fantasy orld of mundanity.

I used to dream of going to the store and buying whatever mundane items were on my shopping list.

Michele | March 31, 2006 11:15 PM

No, but I've dreamt I went grocery shopping... and the next day only realized it wasn't reality when my fridge was low on groceries.

SAP | March 31, 2006 11:33 PM


Very scary.

Soni | April 1, 2006 03:00 AM

A friend of mine dreamt he woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door, woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door, woke up, had a shower, ate breakfast, went out the door. He felt exhausted and frustrated not to be able to wake up in the real world.

I have those too, and man I hate them. It's like you're not getting any sleep because you're spending dream time going to work over and over and over.

I must say, though, that with the earliest outskirts of impending hormonal change creeping up on me (at 37, no less) I have been rather enjoying the unexpected side effect of more sexy dreams. Lots more. It's getting to the point where I'm beginning to get turned on looking at Bed, Bath and Beyond sheet sale flyers. :-D

Alphabeter | April 1, 2006 04:21 AM

I think its time for you to take the blue pill.

Or maybe the red. Krissy might not like you under the influence of the blue one. ;)

samantha Lynn | April 1, 2006 07:02 AM

Few weeks back I dreamed that my email said I'd accidentally registered for WindyCon instead of WisCon... (Since this is a typically ADD kind of thing to do it seemed entirely plausible)

Lars | April 1, 2006 12:45 PM

But during a dream, the centers of your brain that control reading and writing are supposed to be defunct. Are you sure your emails are legible? Are your responses coherent? Whenever I try to read or write in a dream it's always and exercise in frustration.

John Scalzi | April 1, 2006 01:05 PM

Actually, recently -- really, no joke -- I read an entire article in a dream. It was about a friend who is also a writer, and it contained many interesting bits of information about him, such as he was the first recipient of a person-to-person cochlear transplant. I informed him of this when I woke up. He found it interesting, too.

Nonny | April 1, 2006 03:51 PM

I used to be an ICU nurse. After 12-hour shifts of machines flashing and alarm-ing at me, I would go home, go to bed and, several times that night, find myself sleepily standing in the living room or kitchen looking for the beeping IV pump I'd dreamed about. Gaaahh.

Marianne | April 1, 2006 09:59 PM

Yes, actually I have. But I don't find them as weird as the dreams I used to have as a college kid. I used to stay up all night using the VAT terminals in the basement to talk to people and do some light (very light) object-oriented programming. I generally fell into bed between 4 and 7 am, only to have dreams that took place entirely in green on black text. Sometimes they were chat-type dreams, but sometimes they were extremely convoluted & rather fantastic. It never seemed weird when I was dreaming that way, only after I woke up.

Randy | April 3, 2006 01:18 PM

I'm a programmer, and I've had dreams in the past with lines of code on the screen and I'm writing code or trying to debug code. I was more tired when I woke up than when I went to sleep!

Post a comment.

Comments are moderated to stop spam; if your comment goes into moderation, it may take a couple of hours to be released. Please read this for my comment moderation policies.
Preview will not show paragraph breaks. Trust me, they're there.
The proprietor generally responds to commenters in kind. If you're polite, he'll be polite. If you're a jackass, he'll be a jackass. If you are ignorant, he may correct you.
When in doubt, read the comment thread rules.

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)