Cravings For Home

It was a warm summer evening….. That’s right, that’s how this starts.  I was sitting outside by a crackling fire-pit.  Sharing time with friends and family surrounded by trees, grass, and cheerful conversation, it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening.  A favorite pastime of mine, I happened to be in possession of a bag of marshmallows.  Nibbling away at a raw one that I decided not to roast for lack of patience, I enjoyed the squishy sugary texture of it.

I continued chewing as it got softer and softer.  But, something wasn’t right.  Within a matter of an instant, I had a strange feeling that something was wrong.  I didn’t know what, yet.  But, the flavor of this marshmallow wasn’t exactly as it was a second before.  It seemed…. different.
Within another instant, I realized that I was in a dream, but had not yet woken up.  Still chewing on a marshmallow, I had a weird image of a foam earplug go through my mind.  Very strange, but now I had a weird dream going on about chewing on a foam earplug.  We use these all the time at shooting ranges and I have a bunch of them in case I need them.  So maybe I was recalling images of earplugs because I had used them recently during training.  In fact, I had just started wearing them to go to sleep about a week ago to block out background noise and people walking through the hall.
As this strange image of me chewing on an earplug continued, it started to feel more and more realistic.  WHAT THE???…  I snapped awake lying on my right side in my ranger blanket (a very thin sleeping bag) and realized that I had one earplug in my left ear, and the other one had been completely chewed and was in my mouth with the rubber string hanging.  With a mixture of emotions including disgust at eating my own used earplug and feeling stupid about what just happened, I jumped out of bed, ran out the door barefoot ignoring the filthy floors to the nearest garbage can in the hallway, and started spitting it out until the chemical rubbery flavor in my mouth faded only a little.
I repeatedly asked myself for the next 15 minutes: “What the hell just happened?!?!”  “That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced!”
Have you ever had a rude awakening similar to this?  Please write in the comments below and tell me if I’m either uniquely weird that this happened, or do people once in a while have strange things happen during sleep?
I officially declare this my first nightmare/night terror in Afghanistan.  Please comment and let’s see if we can share some similar stories.  Happy marshmallow roasting this long weekend!  🙂