Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daydream

Oh, New Orleans is incredible. I love it here. I could be wrong, I mean, I'm totally time traveling right now. Or am I practicing divination? Irrelevant, I don't believe in fate anyway.

You guys better be good and ready for some soul right now, because Formerly Fun is going to let us see into hers a little bit, and then she's gonna go wax some vagina. She's the most intelligent vag-waxer in the world, although I really have no experience with estheticians and I don't know anyone else who gives Brazilians for a living. I also do not know any Brazilians. Obviously I fail today. Like everyone that I pay attention to (yeah, that means you, blog readers, because I really don't have the attention span for boring people) FF is fascinating. Unlike some of you jerkoids, she's astute, adept, and quietly hilarious.

So with this in mind, when she asked for a theme to inspire her discourse, I offered "Daydream."

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I am an extroverted introvert who has always enjoyed the space inside my head. I have frequently said I could be relatively content in prison given time to myself, books and maybe a sundry of art supplies. Oh, and freedom from random shiv shanking. My husband has told me more than once that this ability to withstand confinement coupled with the fact that I watch so much Forensic Files scares him a little. Just don't do anything bad I tell him, and you don't have anything to worry about. Sure, I'd miss the outside world but my imagination would make a fine companion for ten to life.

I grew up an only child and an avid daydreamer. Stacks of books took me far past the borders of the city where I grew up. Books gave me the pieces to build upon. When I was young, most of my daydreams took on different forms of wish fulfillment. I was a jet-set fashion designer, a symphony conductor, a foreign double agent and even a ballerina, never mind I'm only five foot tall. I was Karen Von Blixen on a coffee plantation in Kenya, going on safaris, learning to use a gun. I was the muse Kira from Xanadu skating figure eights in my basement, the soundtrack booming from my giant 1980s boombox. I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins, Francie struggling for a better life in Brooklyn.

Many of my reveries wreaked of the dramatic. I was never very graceful but I can sing so many of my fantasies were my own little musicals, put on in my bedroom for no one else but me, and maybe a reliably unimpressed house cat. Think one part theater, one part the Judy Miller Show. Put on the soundtrack to Evita ad I was Eva atop a balcony addressing the little people. I think I wore clear through my vinyl copy of the Grease soundtrack. I would tease my hair, put on slutty clothes pilfered from my moms closet, slip on my red Candies and stand in front of my mirror with one of my mom's unlit Winston lights dangling from my lips. Tell me about it stud. True to girly-girl form, every daydream had an accompanying outfit.

Once in awhile, someone else was let into this usually personal reverie. Ask my cousin about the impromptu operas I performed for her. Scarves tied to our heads babushka style, I'd sing/talk about being taken from our parents in Russia(no we're not Russian) and being forced to be slaves of a prince, or labourers in a work camp. I'd see the expression on her face at first was one of skepticism and mild embarrassment but it quickly turned in to full scale buy-in as she tightened her babushka and lamented with me about the mother country. I think my mom might have made me watch Doctor Zhivago one too many times. Even as we got older and the “operas” stopped, she'd still call me a couple of times a week at bedtime and make me sing to her over the telephone until she fell asleep. I guess that could be considered a delayed standing ovation.

Now that I'm older with a husband, three kids, two cats, one dog, a mortgage, a small business and more, many of my daydreams have been replaced by anxiety dreams. Daydreaming as a child was probably the result of plenty of time on my hands and an active imagination. My adult anxiety thoughts are no doubt the result of not enough time on my hands and that same active imagination. Now I worry less about the monsters under my bed and more about the dust mites. Did I leave the wax warmer on when I left the spa? Is it burning down at this moment, the fire trucks littering the street to hose down the inferno. A florist five businesses down got held up at gunpoint a year ago. I wonder what if they had hit my spa and found me and my massage therapist instead of a doughy, overweight gay bear peddling petals? Are my children getting enough DHA, Omega 3s? I hope that toy the bebe is chewing on doesn't have lead in it, damn the grandparents and their Big Lots, Chinese imported, lead ridden, foot gouging, room cluttering, car littering crap.

Thanks to 9/11, the fact that our house is in a relatively busy airport pattern, and probably too many Donnie Darko/Weeds viewings, I have visions of planes careening through our roof. I worry about my husband being hit and smushed accordion style in the crazy L.A. rush hour traffic. I follow a truck with steel pipes battened in and I ponder decapitation by steel pipe before switching lanes. I think about people breaking into my house and taking my children, Darfur, unequal education opportunities, poverty, peacekeeping, climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem losses, oceanic dead zones, child sex rings and world hunger. Don't get me wrong, I don't obsess and I'm not at the point where my anxiety requires medication, well more medication. It's just that I have so much now that I have so much to lose. The dangers of the real world are so much scarier than the stuff that worried me as a kid.

Now my wish fulfillment daydreams are saved for my frequent bouts of insomnia. As my husband lay next to me, still save for his rhythmic breathing, and the kids are safely tucked into their beds, and the dog lays on her cushion in the corner of our room and the cats are curled up on any one of the beds of my children, this is when I feel calm enough to dream bigger. I'm not Sandi or Francie or Ludmila anymore but I do see myself doing the things I hope one day I will. I see myself traveling around the world with my husband. I see a time in the future where I have some time to myself again, time to read, to draw, to meander through a day with nothing to do. I see my children grown and healthy, happy living their own lives, being their own people. I see myself holding my grandchildren, released from the responsibility of raising them right, free to spoil them relentlessly to my children's chagrin. I see myself a few years from now, walking up to a podium at a small bookstore to give a reading. I see my husband and I, hitting each milestone in our life together, our relationship morphing to fit the changes in our lives. I see myself calmer, mellowed with age, wizened with experience, though I'm pretty sure I will always avoid those giant steel pipe carrying trucks.

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16 comments:

Betsey Booms said...

I spotted the one sentence that I consulted on in there!

I feel awesome.

I was entirely the daydreamer kid as well. My lite brite and Strawberry Shortcake vanity were the control panel for the Starship Enterprise. Nothing was ever used the way it was supposed to be in my room.

Great post.

formerly fun said...

Betsey, your role in teaching me the conjugation of shank and the proper use of shiv were tremendously helpful. Thanks to you, shiv shanking is becoming part of the regular vocab in our house. In fact, just this morning I told my eight year old son that if he didn't take out the trashcans like I asked him to, I was going to shank him mercilessly. Building memories here people.

Schmee said...

We should totally be friends. I thought my life was a musical when I was younger and I was always the star. I've definitely pulled the "tell me about it stud" routine in the mirror...costume and all. And holy hell, Island of the Blue Dolphins!!! I loved that book. I have a vivid memory of my mom reading that to me when I was younger and her starting to cry when the dog dies. (It's a dog that dies right?) I remember the exact line where her voice cracked...

Oh and I definitely imagine some Final Destination type shit happening when I drive behind vehicles with boards or rods hanging out the back...can't help it

vinomom said...

I can really really relate to a lot of that. I was an only child as well and an avid reader. I still play out conversations in my head and if you watch me closely my expressions will change as if I'm really talking out loud. Not that I'm crazy or anything...

And the decapitation thing? I think about it every time.

I'm Nate's Mom said...

Very thought-provoking post, FF, but I'm stuck on "put on slutty clothes pilfered from my moms closet." All I can think is whether I would have found anything "slutty" in my mom's closet and whether my daughter could say she found the same in mine!

Red said...

Five feet, zero inches is actually a good height for a ballerina. The men have to be taller than your height in pointe shoes.

prayingtodarwin said...

So, so good, Chris. When I was a kid, I walked around, composing my answers to the interview questions I was going to be asked. You know, when I was a Big Deal.

SSG said...

man, half the reason i started smoking (quit a while back thank God) is cos of Grease. Sandy went mega-hot at the end and I always wanted that sort of transformation. I got my ears pierced for the same reasons I think.

I day dream when other people talk to me, that is a very bad habit. And I day dream with others around, mainly imaginery conversations. But generally I just think too much about stuff and wish my brain would shut the hell up.

Hope to come to your book reading one day! Good luck!

Gwen said...

The other day, my husband and I were watching some show and we both agreed that prison would awesome, as long as we could stay in solitary confinement forever. Give me a stack of books and some crafts and some paper to write stories on and I'd be a happy girl. I would miss my computer and television set though. All the naps would make up for it.

formerly fun said...

Schmee- We should totally be friends. We can wrangle Rassles and the rest, watch Grease, sing along, read some Caldacott and Newbury award books and refuse to drive behind scary trucks. Who's going to bring the beer and stroganoff, what, what.

Bobbay said...

I don't mean to validate all of your fears, but about a year ago I was on 294 and a pole came flying off a truck. I had to swerve to avoid it and spun 3 times across the highway almost hitting a semi. When I stopped spinning I closed my eyes waiting for impact, but somehow, someway, all the cars behind me managed to stop in time and I simply drove away unharmed. Did manage to loosen the tire that I spun on, though, so that was expensive...

I definitely was a day dreamer when I was younger and the Phillip the Palm/Tarot Card Reader in Nola told me that I'm always thinking...that I can't shut my mind off. Phillip knows everything.

formerly fun said...

One year I got a bonus at work and I took my mom to Nola for her birthday. There was this tarot/palm reader in Jackson's Square, he was a big guy and he had a pet rat or bird or lizard or ferret or some shit like that. My mo loves all thing tarot like so we stopped. He told me I was going to leave my job, go into biz for myself and two years later get married and have three kids? I was all like, no I'm not, I like my job, I'm not even dating. Guess what, it all happened. Oooga Booga, but it really did.

Really.

Rassles said...

FF, you're so damn glorious. Did you like your word? For some reason, I thought it fitting for you.

And just wait: Nola Tarot stories coming up.

mongoliangirl said...

Great post!! Imagine...

Oh, and Rassles? Are you going to let me post that retarded drunk email you sent me the other night or what?

A Free Man said...

Wow, huh. I just finally got to this one and am glad that I did. Fab job, FF. I'm fairly certain that we were separated at birth.

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