Telescoping Hallways

I’ve been wondering this week whether everyone has pretty much the same anxiety dream with different twists, or whether everyone’s is totally different.

I have a couple, and it’s rare that I have them, or remember that I have them.  The first one is the dream that I imagine everyone has, in some form or other: I’m sitting happily in class, and I’m about to ace a test, and oops, I just have to run back to my locker and get a pencil, and I check the time I and I can juuuusssst make it, and then on my way to the locker I get lost, and then the locker won’t open, and then when I finally get it open I have to take everything out and that takes hours, and then I find one little feeble pencil at the bottom, and I run run run back towards my exam hoping I can still at least do part of it and maybe still pass, and the hallways get longer and longer and more twisty, and when I finally make it back to my spot…..I don’t know. That part varies; maybe the pencil sharpener doesn’t work, maybe everyone’s glaring at me for being late, maybe the bell rings before I can get there.  At any rate, it doesn’t go well. I wake up panicked and feeling totally inadequate.

The other one is darker and more subtle, and therefore much worse.  I’m walking blithely through an old town with friends, maybe in Europe somewhere, it’s quaint and charming, and we round a curve and then it’s just me for a minute, and then I try to get to our meeting place, the road just sort of runs out. I’ve lost my path entirely, and within a matter of steps I’m wandering at the edge of the woods, and it’s getting dark.  And then I wake up, lost.

I wasn’t going to write all of this down, but I just heard through the grapevine that our friend Mary, who just started a fabulous new job, has been having anxiety dreams about it too. Totally normal, and totally unrestful when you’re in the middle of starting a new job.  Oh, and raising three children under the age of six. Have mercy.

Despite rarely remembering my dreams, I’ve had two this week that woke me up in a panic.  They’re both sort of funny, because every second of them is crystal clear and overly vibrant.  They’re both about music.

In one of them, all of us in the country-western, one-gig-only cover band were standing on my porch laughing, and there was a crowd listening to us on the lawn, and it felt like things were going pretty well.  Then someone from the audience yelled out “Seven Bridges Road!” and my twelve year old neighbor D’Andre, who isn’t even in the band and therefore can’t take requests, yelled back, “Oh we can totally do that! Doesn’t matter if we haven’t practiced it! We can nail it!” And then D’Andre stepped off the porch and left us to do that one cold.

We did not nail it.

The other dream was crazier.  It’s Hopscotch Music Festival week here in Raleigh,  for real, which is when there are eleventy-billion bands of all types playing, all within walking distance of each other, and like ten at once at any given moment, so you hopscotch all over trying to see as much as you can.  It’s a huge time.  So, in my dream I was on the Hopscotch schedule, ’cause you know, I’m not even a musician, but my set was a one-woman play about Janis Joplin. ???  I was hosting this show in my living room, because I do in fact live downtown.  I was sure I was going to ROCK my set, but because of the other real, and really good, bands playing I was also confident and relieved that the only people coming would be the five or six friends I’d invited.

So I set up my guitar and I turned around and a couple of people were trickling into my living room.  I turned around again to futz with the music stand and when I looked at the door again people were streaming in.  I tilted my head and thought for a minute, and realized if people were actually going to show up, I maybe should have vacuumed under the chair and stocked the fridge better.  And gotten out some chairs.  While I was thinking about it, the crowd got more crowded.  People were elbowing in, and turning things over by accident, and trying to get to the rest room, and it was becoming clear that I was going to have an epic gathering in my 1,050 square foot house.  Oh, and it was also becoming clear that I was out of toilet paper.

I woke up panicked, but chuckling from that last one. Because, Janis. And toilet paper.

I’ve thought about those two dreams all week, given that I’m not much of a dream-rememberer, and now I’m wondering: do they indicate that I’m more afraid of failure? Or more afraid of success? And are we still talking about music? 

First full band practice tomorrow.  We’re starting with Seven Bridges Road. Just in case.

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