Column, Movie Diary

 Dream a little dream

by Dom Cioffi

I’ve mentioned many times prior in this column that I’m a runner. I run every other day religiously, no matter what the weather or what state my physical health is in. I’ve done this for years and I’ll continue to do it as long as my body holds up.

Some people can run every day, but my knees, after years of pounding via basketball, do not allow me such a luxury. I truly envy daily runners because the act of running provides me with such a physical and emotionally release that I know is paramount to my overall well-being.

I’m convinced that running is one of my primary defenses against aging and I whole-heartedly believe I’ve warded off encroaching illnesses by forcing myself to exert immense physical stress during a long run.

My favorite time to run is during a sunny 60-degree afternoon autumn when the smells and sounds of nature are most enveloping. However, I’ve had some of my most memorable outings during torrential downpours and snowstorms.

I’ve run when it’s so cold that ice crystals formed on my eyebrows. And I’ve run when it’s so hot that I’ve started to feel delirious from dehydration.

That last example is the only scenario that ever worries me.

I go to great lengths to avoid dehydration because I am well-schooled in the aftereffects, which are not fun. On several occasions, I’ve gone out on runs on days when the humidity is extremely high, causing me to sweat so much that I began to feel cold (a definitely red flag that something is wrong).

When this happens, I’ll pump the fluids and electrolytes into my body as fast as I can, but sometimes it’s too late. Within an hour I’ll start to get a raging headache and my body starts to feel weak and listless. Thankfully, I’ve never got myself into too much trouble, but I’ve learned the lesson well enough that I take great precautions to avoid this scenario on applicable days.

One advantage to running that most middle-aged people may not be aware of, is that it’s a wonderful way to avoid getting up at night to go to the bathroom. Yes, reach a certain point in your life and that irritating quirk of aging called “the late-night bathroom run” becomes a part of your existence.

Some people can jump up at 4 a.m. and go to the bathroom and then return to bed and fall back asleep without issue. For others, that mid-sleep break means the loss of those precious remaining hours of rejuvenation.

What I’ve realized is that on days that I run, my body burns through enough fluids that I can sleep through the night without ever waking for a bathroom break. On my off-days, I’ll almost always wake up.

Of course, the one positive about waking up at some ungodly hour is you can sometimes become vividly aware of the dreams you were just having.

The other night, I was deep into a bizarre dream involving several characters and situations when I suddenly became conscious that I was awake and needed to go to the bathroom. As I sauntered in to rectify things, the dreams stayed with me – almost like I was still half asleep.

Once I crawled back into bed, I began reviewing the dream in reverse, eventually finding my way back to the various circumstances that each dream sequence featured. And then, rather effortlessly, I slipped back into the original dream to carry on with my unconscious activities.

I didn’t remember that experience until later in the morning when my wife said something that triggered one of the dream memories. I then recalled getting up for the bathroom and running through the various mental events.

I sat and thought about those dreams and that experience for several minutes, realizing how the flow from fantasy into reality so closely mimic the movie that I had just watched.

This week’s film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” is very much like a dream, both in the way that it felt and the way that the scenes would jump in weird and seemingly unrelated ways.

Starring Jessie Plemons and relative newcomer Jessie Buckley, and written and directed by Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Being John Malkovich”), “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is an ethereal journey that will likely confuse and perplex a number of the viewers who watch it. However, with a little excavation (and maybe a re-watch as I did) you can begin to unearth the ultimate story that Kaufman was trying to relay.

This film is not for everyone, but if you enjoy off-kilter fare that forces you into considering the inexplicable, then this little puzzle is worth the journey.

A dreamy “B” for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”

This is a new release selection from Netflix, so you’ll have to have a subscription to view it.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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