Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Other People's Trout

Only the very young and the very old may recount their dreams at breakfast, dwell upon self, interrupt with memories of beach picnics and favorite Liberty lawn dresses and the rainbow trout in a creek near Colorado Springs.
The rest of us are expected, rightly, to affect absorption in other people's favorite dresses, other people's trout.

--Joan Didion, "On Keeping a Notebook"

It occurs to me that writing a blog is indulgent in the same way that sharing your dreams is, so I figure it's not a big leap to write a post about my dreams. Which, of late, have all been anxiety dreams and fairly easy to interpret. It bothers me when the meaning of my dreams is so transparent; I get insulted on behalf of my subconscious, feel like it should be more clever. I shouldn't literally be dreaming about the real things in my life that are worrying me, but figurative, highly abstract representations of those things. I went to an Ivy League school, goddammit.

Last night, I dreamed that I cheated on my boyfriend with Richard Blaise from Top Chef. I do not find Richard Blaise attractive and if he ever tried to make me eat his bacon ice cream, I would vomit on his face. What I kept thinking, as I was fellating Blaise, was "how I am going to explain this to Noah?" (Noah = boyfriend) Sure, I have had the occasional sex dream about David Cook (who hasn't?), but fantasizing about our new American Idol and a Top Chef cast-off of questionable sexual orientation are two very different things. Troublesome trout indeed.

This dream was followed by one in which I was trying to get my collegiate women's a cappella group, Whim 'n Rhythm, on time to a concert in the Hamptons. But somehow I got sidetracked and found myself wandering inexplicably around a mall, shoplifting cosmetics. And finally--yes, I had all 3 of these dreams last night--I was at an audition for NYU's acting graduate program, frantically trying to remember the lines to a monologue I haven't performed in months. I have this dream and several variations of it all the time, even though I haven't auditioned for anything in the past six months. It's the actor's version of the academic stress dream everyone seems to have, the one where they are supposed to take a final exam they haven't prepared at all for.

Oddly, I've never had that dream, or the one where you are in public and suddenly realize that you are naked. My humiliation/body shame dream is much stranger -- I'm in the company of friends, usually at someone's apartment or at a party, and suddenly I realize that I am masturbating in front of them. Like, I somehow just forgot that you don't do that in public. Unless you're
this man:

So, here's what I have deduced from a careful analysis of my dreams: I'm fucking stressed out. Or, as my former therapist helpfully phrased it in almost every session we had, "Katie, it sounds like you're having some difficult feelings that are making you anxious." Thanks, Freud.

No comments: