Saturday, February 5, 2011

Share the Tortured Psyche

I have crazy dreams.

It is common for me to have detailed (but nonsensical) dreams about piloting a spy submarine through a sewer pipe in Shanghai. Or to stave off hoards of man-eating (and also cannibalistic) zombie hot dogs at a medieval wizard college.

I also have these recurring thematic nightmares. The most common of these involves me, back in high school or college, suddenly realizing "Wait! Wasn't I enrolled in calculus (or biology) this semester? But I haven't attended class in ten weeks and...aaack! The final is in three days!" As the nightmare unfolds, I realize that I shall not only fail the test, fail the class, and fail to graduate, I will also ruin my GPA, lose my scholarship, face ridicule from my class competitors when I don't make the honor roll, and (worst of all) totally embarrass myself in front of the math genius I have a huge crush on.

I suspect this is the geek version of dreaming about appearing in public naked.

I'm also being stalked by a three-story, 5,000-square foot house with a butler's pantry. Around once a month, it appears in a dream, and each time it has exactly the same floor plan. *shiver*

Now, on a whim, I have decided to share my insanity with y'all. Why should Jon be the only person forced to hear a detailed recounting of my nuttiness?

Back to School:

So, two nights ago, I had a dream wherein I was going back to college for a M.A. in comparative religion. Even though I was married with children, I was apparently going to commute home only on the weekends, and live in my old Camelot apartment near the UF campus. I felt vaguely guilty that we hadn't tried moving into married student housing so we could stay together, but then shrugged it off.

I stopped by the UF Institute to discover that it had been turned into a beautiful little mini temple (it looked a lot like Chateau d'Azay le Rideau) with an Institute instead of a visitor's center...but it still had a huge parking problem, naturally.

After negotiating with the registrar's office -- who resisted my agenda until, for some reason, I spoke to them briefly in German -- I rushed off to my first class.

Naturally, the religion department was crowded, so they were renting "portable" classrooms. In this case, my Church and State legal issues seminar was being held in a de-commissioned bright orange "Sunkist" semi.

Taught by President Obama.

I paused briefly at that one. "I'm sure he's an excellent academician," I thought, "But shouldn't he be, you know, governing?"

He stood in the cab to greet each student as we filed in. Next to him was a bag of donations to poor children. Apparently he used social pressure (and possibly extra credit) to encourage spoiled, bratty college kids to give their used toys to the needy.

I felt embarrassed that I hadn't known. Naturally, I tried to compensate and managed to embarrass myself even further. I shook his hand and blurted, "I just want you to an under-graduate, I filed a brief of amicus curiae with the Supreme Court on the Bush v. Gore case, and I totally sided with you!"

(Yes, this was a completely idiotic remark. On several levels. And after I woke up, I started processing them, one by one.)

He looked at me oddly, but was very polite. "It's great that you're so involved," he said. I knew I'd said something wrong, but in the dream, I couldn't figure out what.

I'm sure this says all kinds of things about my crazy mind. I will, however, leave the analysis for my gentle readers.

French Revolution:

Last night, I had a great dream! I was at the best high school French competition EVER.

Each school's French team would study up on French history and practice improvising dialogue.

At the event, each student would be assigned a persona randomly. Possibly "You are Murat," or "you are a generic member of the Maquis in 1943."

Members of opposing teams would then be given a simple situation, like "You, corrupt Vichy administrator, are interrogating you, captured Maquis guerrilla. There was a recent raid on a train bridge over the Loire. Ready, set, go."

Then the judges would award points based on a rubric, measuring creativity, authenticity, historical detail, grammar, vocabulary, and accent.

Adding to the tension is that each member of the skit would be trying to one-up the other, since it was competitive, not co-operative.

At the end, all individual points were totaled and the high school team with the highest count won.

This is such a fantastic idea, I wish I could try it in real life! Still, the next-best thing happened, because I dreamt my own entry, which I will now loosely relate here.

I was a generic peasant, circa 1788, working in a bakery, grinding flour and baking bread. My opponent was the local lord (probably a baron, but the dream didn't specify).

Aristocrat: [miming carrying a heavy load] Aide-moi! (Help me.)
Gail: [miming grinding flour] Bien sur. (Of course.) [She continues to grind.]
Aristocrat: Idiote! Appelles-moi "maitre." (Idiot! And call me "master".)
Gail: [With sarcastic deference.] Bien sur...sieur. (Of course...sir.)
Aristocrat: [pretends to kick her, lose his balance, and drop his packages] Aide-moi tout de suite! Vite! (Help me right now! Hurry!)
Gail: Mais je vous aide maintenant. (But I am helping you right now.)
Aristocrat: Comment? (What? How?)
Gail: Je travaille constament. Le plus le travaille, le plus de la nourriture. Le plus de la nourriture, le mieux de l'argent. (I work constantly. The more work, the more food. The more food, the better the money. )

--[Editorial note: in the dream, I used the word 'mieux' which actually means 'best.' I should have used the word 'moins', meaning 'less'. My French is very rusty. I am sure it is not the only error in the text. Apologies. What I was trying to say was "The more I work, the more food I produce. The more food I produce, the less it costs you." It seemed witty at the time. I guess you could argue that if the baron owns the local bakery, the more I produce, the more money he earns, so I wouldn't have lost points for it...but I was secretly thinking that the less food costs, the easier things will be for other peasants.]--

Aristocrat: [suspiciously] Connais-tu Robespierre? (Do you know Robespierre?)
Gail: [innocently] Qui? (Who?)
Aristocrat: Robespierre. Il veut organiser une revolution grande. (Robespierre. He wants to organize a huge revolution.)
Gail: [pretending to knead bread vigorously] Pardon, mais je suis seulement une paysanne ignorante...monsiegneur. [She slams the dough aggressively, implying a vicarious torture for nobles] (Sorry, I'm just an ignorant lord.)
Aristocrat: [Slightly panicked] Tu es revolutionaire! (You're a revolutionary!)


I was interrupted by my alarm going off. I'd love to know how it ended, too. I have a feeling I was about to say something incredibly witty, albeit with awful grammar. Sadly, I can't remember what it was.

Still, I was elated. It's been years since I've had even a partial dream in French.

It was so much fun! My French was bad, but there was such a natural explanation when I had to pause for a word, or rephrase things.

Wouldn't that totally be the best language competition ever?

Vive la Revolution!


Carolyn said...

have I mentioned recently that you're crazy? And that I love you? That's all.


Jon said...

You're a loon!!! ... Well, at least you don't wake me up in the middle of the night screaming. I guess I'll keep you.

I have to admit, though, that these aren't any worse than some of the others you've had. I'm still surprised you haven't had dreams about missing class all semester and then showing up naked for the final and trying to get your prof to take you seriously when you explain what happened.

Also, I'm personally glad you didn't drag me back to married student poverty. It was bad enough as poor student newlyweds. I couldn't take it in that place with children.

Jon said...

I'm surprised that you didn't score them on regional and time period accents. Assign a date and location for the conversations. Extra points for knowing the slang of the time. Points off for using it improperly.

Katie C. said...

I love these! I totally have wierd, vivid dreams too! And yeah, I have had that dream about going back to college and realizing that I was enrolled in a class, but hadn't gone all semester, and the final was today, or something. Totally relate to your geeky nightmares!! :o)