Monday, November 8, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

[Awaking] "Help me, Lysander, help me! do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity! what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear:
Methought a serpent eat my heart away,

Everyone has a recurring nightmare. For me, it always involves trying to pack for the airport and not being able to find my shoes (settle down, Dr. Freud, I know what you're thinking), and then losing and/or losing control of my car on the way there.

But last night I had a new kind of nightmare—and it's got me thinking about how fully domesticated I've become in my middle age.

In the dream, I go into the bathroom to find my young son peeing everywhere because the toilet has been dismantled. Then, I go downstairs to find my mother-in-law sitting there smoking. My husband didn't tell me she was coming! She knows she shouldn't smoke in the house! And why the hell has he dismantled the toilet?! I wave the smoke away, and she scowls. (My mother-in-law, for the record, is the nicest, least judgmental lady on the planet.)

I turn to sputter my venom at my husband, only to find him dressed up and ready to go out. His best friend (who, in the dream, resembles the young guy who took us out to test-drive 7-seater vehicles on Sunday) is taking him out for a surprise party! I am now left to deal alone with no toilet, my angry, smoking mother-in-law, and at least one (possibly two) free-peeing offspring.

Here's what gets me: I never even got to leave the house in this nightmare, much less try to pack a bag. If I can't take failed trips in my dreams, where anything is possible, how can I hope to try taking one when I'm awake?? Is this my Mid-Life Night's Dream?

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