Dreams I’ve Had (Anthony Bourdain and my Return to 5th Grade)

My mother used to tell me that the best time to recall the details in a dream are right when a person wakes up, before reality gets confused with the imagined (although reality sometimes helps me to recall other forgotten bits of the dream). Because I used to be such a horrible sleeper (yes, I sleep now!) I could never remember the dreams I did have, and if I remembered anything about them it was very little. So I would place a notebook by my bed to write down all the details, big and small, which was hard to keep up with because, well…I’m too tired right when I wake up and in no mood to write details. Now I have Matt to talk to and a blog space in which to write, so I’m thinking of keeping track of them here.

I’m starting off with the dream I had last night which is, in its own way, one of the wackiest I’ve ever had, though nothing beats my dream from a few weeks ago when, during all of my dental torture in real life, I was scarfing down handfuls of gummy bears at a gummy candy convention while my husband texted me anxiously, “Where are you?!” I was too ashamed to tell him the truth.

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Last night’s dream: I was in an airport or a shopping mall, staring at a large illuminated kiosk of crap when Anthony Bourdain, dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that my essay for Lucky Peach wasn’t going to be printed in the upcoming issue. But, as Tony repeatedly told me, “It was powerful. POWERFUL!” He shook his head, obviously pissed at the thought of my essay being dismissed by the powers that be, and walked off with Andrew Zimmern. I wish I knew what I’d written about. This was apparently my job, to write for Lucky Peach.

So to immerse myself in the art of creatively writing about food, I was returned to the 5th grade (by my Lucky Peach bosses, perhaps?). My teacher was a woman named Mrs. Iseley (spelled just that way on the laminated sign outside her classroom door).  I decided to walk the halls a bit after dropping off my backpack and finding my desk assignment. I visited another classroom where I was surprised to see Linda, my former supervisor from the University of North Florida, teaching a class! From a heated pool! AND DRINKING BLUE MARGARITAS! With Linda’s insistence, I considered asking for a transfer to her class instead of having to be with cranky ol’ Mrs. Iseley. Then the bell rang and I realized I was late for 5th grade. The school’s finance department had to unlock the steel door to Mrs. Iseley’s classroom in order for me to get in. Immediately dirty looks were thrown my way because I was tardy and obviously the class troublemaker.

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Amateur interpretation: Anthony Bourdain was actually in the Oklahoma City area last week. He is currently making his obligatory rounds through his Guts and Glory tour. Matt and I considered going to see him at this live speaking event, but the cost of tickets wasn’t enough to justify the trouble we’d have finding a sitter and driving all the way out to Midwest City on a Sunday night. Later we learned that a particular issue of Lucky Peach (which is on my Christmas list for a magazine subscription) is worth upwards of $400. I’m sure this is why my dream was so Bourdain-centric – because I missed his show and really, truly wanted to go. This dream tied together all those unanswered Bourdain/Lucky Peach loose ends.

Also, Matt and I spent lunchtime on Friday at Elle’s school. It’s been a tough year for her, what with being the new kid and dealing with bullying. Perhaps this dream was to serve as a reminder of what it was like for me to be the new kid, which happened quite often growing up in a military family. No matter how you look at it, it sucks to be the new kid. And I even told Matt while we stood waiting in the hallway, “No matter what elementary school, no matter what era – they’re always going to be the same.” I meant the schools themselves, but my dream includes the mean kids, too.

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