Sunday, June 27, 2010

Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee

I just had the most f*&!#ed up dream. It's ten til six on Sunday morning and I'm so disturbed that I find myself drawn to write it all down, something I haven't done in a long time.

Here's the gist: I was Doris Day. In all her late 1950's, early 1960's, tight cigarette pants, slightly bouffant hair, "gee, gosh, I'm a nice girl who just hasn't found the right feller" glory. The first part of the dream was like I was watching a television show. I wasn't the narrator, I was part of the audience (of one). The main story was about a friend of mine with a rat bastard husband (who shall remain nameless) who has two kids, a full-time job and no help from the rat bastard. It's a common story, right?

Well, she finally gets the courage up to leave the rat bastard (who, I might add, is being played by himself at this point) and she leaves the children with him.

Suddenly, he's a single dad doing it all on his own. Now, this is the f*$#!ed up part. From my role as a watcher, I suddenly enter the dream and get right into the action, assuming the role of wife and mother that my friend left behind.

Then, in an even more bizarre twist, the rat bastard becomes Chris Noth, you know, Mr. Big of Sex and the City fame. And I morph into Doris Day. The children grow up in a strange series of shots of them being tucked into bed by Mr. Big while I'm hovering around in the background, giving kisses good night and eventually being called "Mom" which makes me break into big old Doris Day tears of happiness.

Our story ends when Doris, deliriously happy from being called Mom, goes into the kitchen and begins what I can only describe as a sock-footed ice skating routine in the middle of the room. You know, the kind where you pretend to either be dancing or skating in your socks on a hardwood floor? Come on, I know you've all tried it!
Any way, Doris is twirling and whirling around and she knows that Mr. Big and her "son" are watching as she executes a perfect Sock Twirl and ends her routing with a dramatic, "I've just won the Gold Medal" pose.

So, what does it all mean? Are there deeper, darker depths of meaning at play? Could I, in my dried up Spinster heart, secretly long for a family, a man to call my own (even if he's an abandoned asshole), a kitchen big enough to skate in?

Nah, that's bullshit. Here's how my brain pieced this gem together: I had dinner with the friend in question less than a week ago. I watched Grease on Friday night and sang every word to "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" and undoubtedly re-made my image because of the line, "Watch it! Hey, I'm Doris Day. I was not brought up that way." I watched the end of Castaway w/ Tom Hanks when he comes home and the old girlfriend can't bear to see him so her husband goes in to talk to Tom (that's right, it's Chris Noth).

The only thing I can't explain is the ice skating.

Maybe if I go back to sleep I'll figure that part out. Because really, who does something that queer in a dream? So embarrassing. Maybe Chris will come back and tell me that it's okay because I was a champion skater as a child. Or maybe I was pulling Jill Zarin from her embarrassing ice skating routine on "The Real Housewives of New York."

Whatever. I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

What the heck have I been doing for the past 6 weeks??? Where have I been hiding?

In the box, that's where. The corporate, straight path, by the book, play it safe, work box that so many people in this country are on. I hate that path. It's the path I left in 2002 when I retired for the first time (at the age of 34). I eventually put one foot back on the path (I don't know if living in New Orleans can be called putting a foot back in or out), then started working as a contract employee for the factory of happiness and thought I was doing the right thing.

I love the job I have now. No personal development plans, flexibility to work from home, work is only 30 hours a week and as long I meet all my deadlines, everyone's happy.

But in a conversation I had with a friend last week, it became crystal clear to me that I don't want the life in the box. I've never been a follower and even in the most organized of groups (my sorority comes to mind) I grew tired of always playing by the rules.

When I decided to quit my job, sell my house and move to France in 2002, lots of people thought I was crazy. Shoot, I sort of thought it was crazy, too, but I knew if I didn't that I would either go off the deep end or end up living with my parents and weaving baskets out of river grass if I continued to be so stressed out all the time.

Do I worry that I'll end up a bag lady with no one to look after me, no savings and wandering aimlessly in the world? Sure, how could I not worry a little bit. But what I've come to realize in my 42nd year is that I would rather face an uncertain future than to put myself back in that box where I might just go crazy from being a big business worker bee. I'd rather look forward and think, "I wonder what I'll be doing in 20 years" than look back and say, "I've had shingles, heart attacks and arthritis because of my corporate job, but at least I have ___ thousands in my 401k."

Fear is something that I deal with on a daily basis. Fear can be crippling. Fear can turn you into a worker drone like the ones I see around the happiness factory (I swear I was in an elevator w/ a zombie a couple of weeks ago). I think for me, the courage to continue doing what I want to do while trying to live my dream is much more important that trying to live up to the rules of The American Dream. What is that any way? Shouldn't everyone be allowed to have their own dream? Does my dream have to be the same one as my neighbor in the next cube?

I may never have kids. I may not be able to retire (again) before I'm 65. I may never own a house again (I've had two and they were both huge pains in the ass). I may never have a job where my employer matches my 401k contributions.

But guess what? I'm really happy. I do have clients to answer to, which is good because it means that I actually have to buckle down and get some work done as opposed to frittering away time on Facebook or watching movies. Do I wish I had more money saved for retirement? Of course. But again, I look at my life and I thank God every day for giving me the courage to live the way I want to live.

These are some of the things I've been thinking about lately. Work has been hectic, but I've also been hibernating a bit, considering all my options.

And considering all that I have in my life, I'd say I'm doing just fine.

Look for more posts in the coming days!!