The Masked Teacher
Updated: Jun 6
(2023 Note: Now that I compared myself to other autists, I've realized I have Asperger's Syndrome, which can be considered part of ASD, or the Autism Spectrum Disorders. I, however, am no longer sure if I am indeed an autist, even though I was diagnosed with both Asperger's and ASD. Please, take this article with a grain of salt, as I expect you to do, with any of my articles).
Dreams keep harassing me at night, and for some reason, the majority of them share a common theme -- me still being a student, even after I graduated in real life. They come in variations, each with their own narrative. However, they share a common theme -- me being frustrated at the fact that I'm still at school, even though I allegedly took periods of "absence" from them.
At one point, I return to school after I retire from the National Service; at another, I work and study at the same time. Regardless of the variation present at the time, these dreams easily confine me to believing, with the least resistance, that I am not dreaming at all.
I remember neither why I am being schooled again nor what I learn during the classes I'm dreaming of being at.
What led me to write this article is a figure I will call the Masked Teacher. She was my last main teacher in high school. Five years have passed since then, in 2017, and here I am, dreaming that I enter the classroom and see her with a COVID mask, even though COVID erupted only in 2019 and 2020. This could mean that my mind is so eager to play tricks on me, it attempts to make me think that I am still a pupil, even after all these years.
No one in Israel wore these masks back then, and I never even saw her wearing one at all! And yet, the mind created this alternative version of her, wearing a black COVID mask, and welcoming me to her class with an expression I cannot understand due to my autism. Anger? Impatience? Frustration? Was I late to class? I do not know.
I do not remember at all what the Masked Teacher taught me during my recent dream, but I do remember thinking to myself, "Why am I still at school? Why is this still relevant? Why do I keep returning to this point in my life?" Take note: It wasn't me, per se, who asked these questions; it was the narrative of the dream I was merely spectating, while being a part of, altogether.
And not only that. The Teacher wore all black as well, something she would do in real life. Since the weather recently became warmer, she wore a black t shirt and black jeans, something that fits her fashion. Why, exactly, is my mind so eager to scam me while I'm sleeping?
Why do I need to wake up and remind myself that, in actuality, it has been 5 years since I graduated? What is the point of these seemingly-stupid dreams, that attempt to make me feel as if they are but portals to parallel universes, where different choices were made and different conditions were set?
I also recall a dream of the hospital I worked at as a clerk being built and designed differently than it was back then. For some reason, there was a medium-sized park and an observatory where, in that other dream, I sat during lunch and ate. When I returned to work, the office was a bit different as well, with a better reception area and a smaller working space.
All of these, make me think of the possibility of my mind being a portal to alternative dimensions, even though I can only theorize, never knowing for sure which is true, if not both. Are there alternative dimensions? Is there a dimension where, in 2022, the Masked Teacher is still my educator, and I am still her student?
It is absurd because there is a limitation on age in my country for when one can be a student; that is, unless you suffer from retardation, and then may need a special school while your parents or guardians are away.
Then, could there be an alternative universe, if such realities even exist, where I am far more autistic, to the point of being retarded? Autism is a spectrum, and fortunately enough, my autism is very mild.
However, if there exists an alternative reality where I am required to be tutored by my former teacher, Then perhaps I might be at risk of becoming retarded in THIS universe, if such a thing is even possible. Maybe there is a reality where I have always been severely autistic; I cannot tell.
Regardless, I wager that the theme of these dreams will not change and that this dream will not be the last of its kind. I might see her again, the Masked Teacher, and yet again, I won't be able to tell that I'm actually dreaming.
It is only when I wake up that I am able to distinguish between reality and illusion. The purpose of these dreams remains frustratingly unknown. Thus, all I am left with is to philosophize on their apparent absurdity.
If there only were a way, I could remind myself to interact with the characters in my dreams, I would almost always remain silent in them, like the protagonist of my childhood's favorite video game.
When something comes from me, it is usually in the form of thoughts and almost nothing else. Perhaps, then, should I ever see the Masked Teacher, she might, one night, humour me with the philosophy behind my mind's dream-planning.