Conventional wisdom has it that napping in the middle of the day will spoil your sleep that night. Since my sleep is routinely spoiled anyway these days, I decided to take a brief nap Saturday afternoon. I figured 45 minutes to an hour might do it; it ended up closer to an hour and a half. What I didn't figure was the subject matter of the one dream I remember from that period.

I'd just taken possession of a small flat in one corner of a rambling old building somewhere in deepest, darkest New England, and I'd walked down the hill to an eatery. At some point in the midst of my chicken noodle soup, it dawned on me: I'd walked down the hill, something I hadn't been able to do in real life for most of a year. What happened to my little, um, appliance?

And it struck me that this is the first time that this particular issue had come up in a dream. I have not been sleeping well for quite a long time, and few dreams survive even the briefest period of wakefulness, but I couldn't argue with this one fact: I couldn't remember any dream I've had in recent months in which my walker played any kind of role. My dream self, in other words, has more or less normal mobility, unlike the self I have to live with during the day. At some level, this would seem to mean that I haven't fully adjusted to the possibility — make that probability — that I'll be spending the rest of my life behind these aluminum bars.

The rest of the dream was trivial stuff. The blinds over the kitchen sink proved to be damaged; new neighbors wanted to introduce me to their puppy, that he might be properly socialized. Said puppy was absolutely huge but indisputably good-natured. (I was reminded of an incident at a dog show back in the 1990s, when an Irish wolfhound, less than a year old but already about the size of a Toyota Corolla, somehow managed in his exuberance to kneecap me. The owners, of course, were horrified, but no damage was done. I was sturdier then.) And the soup, as I recall, wasn't all that good: its main virtue was being hot on a relatively cold day.

Still, I'm wondering if I'm overrating the importance of this little mental exercise. I am normally not inclined to believe that dreams mean anything much beyond the mind trying to occupy itself during a period where there are no external stimuli to speak of. There are recurring themes, yes, but they don't necessarily correspond to recurring themes, or indeed any themes at all, in Real Life.

And then I began to wonder if thinking along these lines was at all motivated by the fact that I have begun seeing a psychiatrist. I have been somewhat bemused by the prospect, inasmuch as (1) she specializes in geriatric psychiatry, which makes sense given my advanced age, but (2) her age is about half mine. (Either that, or I want the name and address of her dermatologist.) The first session went well, though the accounting department mucked up the insurance claim. I think they owe me $35, though I'm not entirely sure I'll ever see it, inasmuch as the doctor in question is setting up her own practice and my next appointment is at her new location. By nature, I tend to fall back on my own (previously rehearsed) answers to questions; once we level up, I'll presumably have to give more thought to these matters.

And while I'm on the subject, I wonder if this isn't related to the fact that I have yet to apply for a temporary "handicapped" placard for the car. This might be simple denial: I am not a farging cripple, dammit. Just because I, um, can't actually walk more than a few steps without assistance doesn't make me — oh, right, I suppose it does. I'm manifestly unable to accept my plight just yet. Maybe I should worry about those broken blinds over the sink. (The blinds over my real-life kitchen sink are just fine, though they'd benefit by a thorough cleaning.) I function better with trivial matters anyway.

The Vent

  26 March 2017

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