The only type of automobile I was ever truly passionate about was the old British Jaguar. When I was living in England, I owned a Jaguar XJ6, circle 1970, that I was able to acquire very cheap. When I moved to the United States, I made the dreadful mistake of buying a similar Jaguar, the 1973 model, dirt-cheap, from a dealer in Manhattan. Needless to say, that one was a lemon. We called it the Beast, because whenever I stopped at an intersection, it would growl for forward action. However, its growls were heard less often than my moans, because it kept breaking down.
The only mechanic I could find who would consent to work on it on the eastern end of Long Island (I was living in Sag Harbor at the time) was a German named Uwe. Every time I brought the car in, or had it towed in, he would shout, "Once again you bring me this British piece of sh-t! Don't you know the English are no good at electrics? Why don't you get a good German car?"
This is a prelude to some reflections on how the state of our cars, in our dreams, may reflect the state of our bodies. Of course, the dream car may be our physical car, or a symbol for something else, like a way of getting around in the world (a relationship, a job), or even an aspect of soul (the word "car" sounds like the Egyptian Ka, a soul vehicle that travels outside the body).
Many years ago, I dreamed I was driving a racing green Jaguar XJ6 at high speed, over 100 mph. I was exhilarated, and turned a corner without touching the brakes. I seemed to have made the dangerous turn safely. But then everything stopped. A little dazed, I saw a man in a physician's white coat opening the hood of my car. Inside, instead of the engine, were a set of medical monitors. The car doctor took a look and said to me, gently but firmly, "This is a beautiful car, Robert. Drive it carefully. If you smash it up, you may not get one as good as this right away."
Waking, I got the message: Slow down!
My experiences with the Beast and the German mechanic ended my love affair with Jaguars. I no longer dream of driving that make. I started dreaming, more than a decade ago, that I was driving a vintage Rolls Royce, circa 1950. I could hardly miss the fact that this was an analog for my body, since the Roller was pink. I smiled at the mirror that dream held up to the state of my body: larger and chunkier than it used to be, certainly pink, but still (I hope) a class act.
A few years after his death, my father appeared in a dream and handed me the keys to a car. He said, "I helped to give you this car, but how you drive it is up to you." That was nice.
Now I am thinking about other car dreams. They include the rather literal dreams that rehearsed me for problems that lay ahead on the road (and helped me avoid possibly fatal accidents) and the adventures in which a special car becomes a time machine. I set off on some of my adventures in time travel in a snazzy 1930s touring car, larger than the vintage MG in the photo, or a latest-model zippy little yellow Mini Cooper.