Last night I had a strange dream where I worked in the hotel business. I’m not sure what my job was, but I know I was very concerned about the condition of the hotel. I was also involved in a tug-of-war with a guest who was trying to take one of our bellman luggage carts. I kept yelling, “We’re a FULL SERVICE HOTEL!” as I tried to pry her fingers off the shiny brass finish. I totally blame this on the fact that I’ve been reading The Hook’s blog – he is a bellman who deals almost daily with douchebags – and he ALWAYS has to explain to guests what a “full service hotel” really means. So, thanks for that, Hook – you’ve apparently invaded the dark recesses of my brain.
At one point in this dream, I was climbing the stairs to the second floor and, as I came to a landing, there was a horrifically horrible smell. Imagine decomposing bodies mixed with a truckload of dirty socks and it probably comes close. I was alarmed, because this was a NICE hotel – and I knew our guests did not pay the big bucks to smell anything like that! Later in the dream, I entered a guest’s room and was confronted with the same smell – and about that point, I started to realize that this was a dream. When I woke up, I took several deep breaths, trying to figure out if the stench was real and had permeated into my subconscious – kind of like the sound of a ringing telephone or alarm clock sometimes incorporates itself into the plot of your dream. That DOES happen to other people, right? However, my inhalations picked up no discernible odor in my bedroom – and none when I walked to the bathroom and out into the hallway. When I got a little light-headed from hyperventilating, I finally gave up and went back to bed, concluding that apparently I DID dream the hideous stink.
I dream in color all of the time, so I knew it was possible for my brain to let me see vivid hues that seem real. I also have dreams that have the production value of a high-budget Hollywood blockbuster film – and they are usually just as entertaining. I often wake up, highly disappointed that the movie in my mind was not yet over. I try to go back to sleep to see how it ends, but that hardly ever works – dammit! I’ve had dreams where I can feel someone touching me in a very realistic way (if I’m lucky, that person is a young, handsome man who is VERY into me). So, I can see how it is theoretically possible for other senses to be involved in dreams – but I had never SMELLED a dream before.
Apparently, I’m not the only one wondering this – when I Googled, I got the following:
I’m still wondering what “smells dreamy” pertains to – but everyone else seemed to be searching on a variation of “smells in dreams” – so I can’t be the only one. This is confirmed by a study I found that was done in 1998. In this study, 49 men and 115 women were asked to keep a home dream diary for several weeks – and only 1% of the 3,372 dreams reported a perception of taste or smell. Turns out that women experience smell in their dreams more than men (20.9% vs. 2%). Researchers think this may be because women are generally “more interested” in odor and may be more sensitive to smells at a sub-conscious level than men are.
So, I’d like to conduct a little study of my own: have you ever smelled anything while dreaming (that wasn’t something you smelled when you woke up?) What other kind of strange things have you experienced while dreaming?