Monday, July 12, 2010

What I've Been Missing: I Felt it in a Dream



I am not fully awake yet, but I am forcing myself to write.

I'm sitting at the table in my apartment, eyes half open, pajamas and slippers on, trying to convince myself that what I felt was real.

This was not a nightmare. This was a thinking dream. It had to do with my family. There are a few scenes and scenarios, but there is only one important theme:

My dream reminded me of what it felt like to talk with my dad. It reminded me of our intellectual connection. When I woke up, I realized what I have been missing, which is basically my brain partner. Recognizing this deficit helps explain other irritating behavior I have been witnessing in myself this year.

I may be groggy in this early morning writing session, but I am having a substantial aha! moment.

For the next six paragraphs, I am going to have to detail the abstract, meaningless details of this dream. I'm sorry.

The prelude to this dream dealt with two men – Eddie Vedder from pearl Jam and then his good friend who was kind of a mountain backpacker granola type. I was at some outdoor arena with them and I was supposed to be dating Eddie Vedder, but then when I was alone with his backpacker friend, he hit on me and complimented my hiking boots, which made me develop a crush on him.  


The real dream started at, of all places, a check casher office. (This is not too surprising as I have been doing some financial research for my job which has involved talking to people who go to currency exchanges.) However, I was not really at this place but only there in my mind. Where I really was was in front of my parents and my brother, trying to describe to them a place where we had stored some family games. Eventually we figured out that they were not at a real check casher office but at a play-house type one on some of my mom's land. The check cashier facade also was painted with a flower garden scene, but perhaps that is besides the point.


Next, it was just before bedtime, and my mom and I were watching my brother exchange CDs in the stereo. He was taking some out and putting some in. I told him that there were some at the check casher too. In my dream, I thought about how practical my brother was in exchanging the CDs for ones he had not yet heard. Then my brother got tired and decided to go to bed. I think his wife was there.


Now, here is the main scene. It is as weird as the previous scenes. For some reason, I was going to sleep in my parent's bed with them. But before we went to sleep, the three of us were in a library reading about cavemen and geology. I came to a certain page in a magazine where I concentrated for a long time on the way we sleep in beds – tossing and turning then laying on our backs – and I charted out how both my mom and dad slept. When they started discussing all the magazines on geology, cavemen, and evolution, I got excited to show them the page where I diagrammed out how each of them sleep.

The problem was, that when I went to look for this particular page in the magazines, I couldn't find it. I kept paging and paging. My dad opened up an article and in a scholarly way explained how the main points are important to read at the beginning. But I just kept looking for this particular page in a magazine. Both of my parents were initially intrigued that I had mapped the way they slept, but soon they became frustrated that I could not find what I was looking for.


Eventually, they wanted me to give up. So I explained to them that I had been paging through so many magazines in the library that I could not remember in which one that I had my eureka moment about sleeping. My mom and dad seemed to ease up on me when I made this point, and the three of us decided that this was some kind of lesson for when I am writing papers in grad school – that I should mark my books so that I do not miss the important places that I want to reference.

It was at this moment when I sort of woke up. I kept my eyes shut because I knew it was early morning, and I wanted to just stay in the wake of this dream in order to hold onto the feeling it gave me. The feeling was this:

The dream reminded me of my often intimidated awe of my father and his mysterious intellectual brainpower. We used to get into these talks where we would chat up all of life and death and everything in between. My dad would reference psychologists and philosophers off the top of his head, and he would push my thinking skills like a professor. But then I would say something and my dad would get quiet, tilt his head, and then show my point of view deep respect by saying something like, "Now. That's an interesting point we should ponder..."

Ponder is a total Dad word, by the way.

My dad and I would have these talks pretty frequently. They were sometimes in the car, sometimes in my apartment, and sometimes over a piece of pie. Sometimes they were at my parent's house with my dad sitting in his special thinking chair in his bedroom. Sometimes it was when we were walking our dog, Kodi. The main features of these talks were that they were exclusive to the two of us and they never, ever had a conclusion. We usually just got yelled at by my mom to go to bed, or one of us got so tired that we had to give up.

My dad would always say: "Well, Runsk, To Be Continued.." And it always was.

Perhaps the third most important feature about these talks was that they made me feel special. I felt like my dad thought I was really smart, and I got a total kick out of saying something from Freshman Interpersonal Communication 101 that would just knock his socks off. It was truly thrilling to impress my father.

And thus, we bring ourselves to present day 6:59 AM where I am slightly struggling to map out the feeling I had in this dream. Basically, it felt like deja vu. It felt like, "Oh YEAH, I forgot that I have been missing this!" It felt like, "No WONDER..."

I have been frustrated with myself lately how I chase after attention from boys who don't want me and I chronically run back to cigarettes that are out to get me. I am not taking good care of myself. I'm pudgy and acting middle-aged. This morning I am connecting the absence of my Intellectual Dad Talks with this ineffective behavior I am displaying and I am drawing the conclusion that it is time to force my dad back into some intellectual banter.

Is this possible to do one-way?

My dad does not have the ability to speak, but he does have the brainpower there. I know he does. Is there a way, an evolution of sorts, that I can get my dad to be intellectual with me again?

I must find a way. I am obviously jonesing for it. Perhaps it will require viewing a documentary together, or maybe listening to classical music.

Point is, if I was willing to crawl out of bed and write this incoherent post for the sole purpose of capturing the feeling I had after this dream, it must be important for me to reconnect my brain to my dad's brain. And it just so happens that my dad is coming home on Wednesday. He will live at my parent's house again, with full–time equipment and care.

Perhaps that will be the start of our journey back to the Dad/Daughter Intellectual Connection.





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