Chapter 3: Morbier

What follows in the third chapter of Cheese Dreams is an account of a self-experiment in which I test the theory that cheese before bed can give you psychedelic dreams. (Read the first Cheese Dreams entry for context. Or don’t. I mean, it’s a blog post.)

This dream starred my Girl Scout leader’s husband, who is also the father of a good friend. I will use his first name only here, though I really don’t think he would mind me using his full name. A sweeter man you will most likely never find. His favorite story to tell us kids was about the time he was on the way to the Boy Scout Jamboree and saw something amazing out the window of the bus: “Hey, everyone!” said young Bryce. “Look at that 5-legged horse!”

But in this very dark, very morbid dream, Bryce was definitely not on his way to a Boy Scout Jamboree. We were living in a drab, almost medieval time, controlled by an all-powerful, faceless force known as The Government. In an effort to throw off these shackles, Bryce had become an anarchist. He routinely would return to the house after killing another one of The Government’s henchmen. But, oddly, I still knew him as my friend’s dad, and his daughter Sara treated his murdering ways as she did his collection of toy trains in the basement: Just one of the goofy things he was into.

But as his acts of anarchy became brasher and bolder, we became increasingly concerned for Bryce’s well-being. The only bright spot in this rather dreary dreamscape was Sara’s cozy childhood home, which was exactly how I remembered it in real life. It’s the kind of home that always smells like fresh baked bread, and everything is covered in cotton. This memory blurred with the onward march of the dream narrative and in came Dark Bryce, fresh from a kill, to tell us: “They’ve found me out, and they’re coming to get me!”

We decided it best to flee, so we got in their station wagon that suddenly became a 17th-century stage coach. As we’re bouncing along with The Government trailing behind us, Bryce recounts at length why he killed that man and dumped his body in the river. My child-self from the dream came to the conclusion that even though killing was definitely not in the Girl Scouts Code of Conduct, Bryce was doing it for a good cause, so it was probably okay.

I looked out the stage coach window on a macabre landscape, feeling a growing sense of doom, with Bryce clacking away the way he always did. And that was where the dream ended. Yep, right there.

Interpretation: My French roommate (a priceless resource for the Cheese Dreams experiment) told me before I went to bed that the cheese I was eating, Morbier, is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese named after a small village in France. I believe this factoid was absorbed into my R.E.M. state, which is why the dream narrative was set in a landscape run by evil overlords that I’m sure existed in 1800’s France when this cheese was first developed. According to Wikipedia: “The aroma of Morbier is strong, but the flavor is rich and creamy, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.” Not so coincidentally, this is exactly how I would describe the overall profile of this dream.

Johanna is a writer, editor, professional Googler, and arm-chair sociologist who arcs towards proper adulthood in the Mission District of San Francisco.