Enter your email address here to become a follower!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stream of Unconsciousness

Insomnia, a steady companion over the course of my life, turned into a stalker during my divorce.  A couple months into the slog, my doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien. 

“Now’s not the time to skimp on your sleep,” he said.

Because I’d taken Ambien before, I knew it could give me eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on command but would want a little something in return.  We live in a quid pro quo world, after all.    

Some people give up their short-term memory, others lose the restraint that used to keep them from sleepwalking to the kitchen and scarfing down a pallet of Ding-Dongs.  Ambien made me surrender the dreams my subconscious weaved, or at least my memory of them. 

During the divorce this was probably a blessing, but eventually I missed the mini-movies that used to play in the theater of my subconscious.  There, new flicks came out every day.  And though you never knew which show you’d bought a ticket for, it was pretty much the only place with a vast selection in the “musical romantic comedy thriller” category.   

The actors varied almost as widely as the genre.  People I knew often took center stage and sometimes shared it with celebrities, whether from the A-list or further down the alphabetic ladder.

That’s a lot of subconscious entertainment to miss in exchange for a pharmaceutically assisted snooze. I resolved to scale back the Ambien as soon as my life stabilized, which happened in May when I settled into the new house and finalized my divorce.

The theater opened its doors again just after that, playing one-dimensional shorts at first and gradually expanding in both duration and breadth of genre.  

I knew my sleep state had returned to normal a few weeks ago when my subconscious showed a multi-genre epic. When I woke up, I wrote down as much as I could remember, knowing that I may never see it again. 

Here’s the CliffsNotes version (dramatically reenacted in the present tense for enhanced realism, and with the occasional editorial note because someone has to defend me):   

Setting: The yuppie prison my ex-husband and I built together, only the house belonged to a former real-life crush. (I’m just visiting, apparently.)  The dream opens in the kitchen, where all the details appear exactly as they did in real-life, right down to the slate floor I hated because it made my feet cold.   

Plot: Crush and I are talking and informs me that he’s decided to dump me on the grounds that I snore. [Editorial note: When it comes to snoring, the line between dream and reality gets a little smudged; however, I have never been dumped for that. As far as I know.]

While leaving the house, I run into John Mayer, who rents Crush’s basement.  John isn’t one to give the buzzards a chance to circle the newly singled, so he asks me out and suggests that I meet him at a house party he’s going to that night.  I agree and drive there in a beat-up red Civic hatchback, which I proceed to have valet parked. 

I walk into the house wearing an outfit that came from the way, way back of my real-life closet, cerca 2003.  [Editorial note: The ensemble, a white miniskirt with stretchy black lace top, earned its place at the back of the closet.  I’d bought it in 2002 as a joke when my friends and I decided to go, fully glammed up, to a Poison concert. I wore the outfit exactly once. Twice, if you count this dream.]

Things go poorly with John –turns out he’s a womanizer-- but apparently my outing with him is enough to give Crush some food for thought.  Crush calls first thing the next day and we meet for a walk in his neighborhood. While we stroll I’m singing “Kiss On My Lips” by Hall & Oates at top volume.  

As I’m belting out the line that goes, “I’m just better off not listening to frank advice,” a pedestrian approaches us from the opposite direction. It’s John Oates, in all his 1980’s, mustachioed, mulleted  glory.  He points at me and says, “It’s ‘friends’’ advice, not ‘frank.’ Sheesh,” and keeps right on walking.

My faulty rendition seems to be just the kind of thing Crush is missing in his life, because he tells me he wants to get back together. To cement the reunion, he offers to treat me to dinner.  As he puts his arm around me, he says, “C’mon, I’ll take you to Subway. I’m a regular there so we can cut to the front of the line.”

Thank goodness the theater is back in business. 


  1. I love dreaming. I remember a lot of my dreams, not usually until something triggers them during the day. Sometimes I'll torture Steve and make him listen to me talk about them.

    I think I'm still drunk.

    1. Of course you're still drunk. I don't recommend you approach this blog in any other state.

    2. Ha! You'll have to write very straight and use small words to compensate.