Recurring (Originally posted April 15, 2012)

I occasionally have a stress/anxiety dream in which I am sitting at a desk, in an office, just pushing papers around and minding my own business, when a call comes in. It’s court! You are IN TRIAL! Where are you? You’re very late!

And I rack my brain, thinking, “Court? Trial? Did I even work up this case?”

I rifle around the desk and find a few neglected looking (definitely NOT worked up) files and run over to court.

Mercifully, the dream ends just as I leave my office. I am guessing if the plotline continued, it would be like something out of My Cousin Vinny.

It’s the ex-public defender version of showing up for the final never having attended any classes or opening the book. For YEARS after graduating from UCLA I had a recurring dream where I thought I dropped a class (always a math class!) but really the paperwork didn’t go through so on the eve of the final I learned (again through an ominous phone call) that I was actually still enrolled and expected to sit the final the next morning. I’d grab my books (often still wrapped in cellophane) and try to teach myself a little calculus.

I had the “not ready for trial” dream a couple of nights ago. I was tempted to go downstairs and watch TV with the dog, but then I remembered he was at overnight boarding.

Instead, I lay in bed playing a mental game where I tried to mentally review every grade in school starting with kindergarten. Who was my teacher? What did she look like? What was the classroom like?

This is such an interesting game for me because Jane is in kindergarten. I like to guess what things she is going to remember when she’s older. If my memory is any guide, it’ll just be a few fleeting images from random days.

I don’t remember the name of my kindergarten teacher but I do know it was Turtle Rock Elementary, and the teacher one room over was named Mrs Brady. She called her kids “The Brady Bunch.” I gave my teacher an African violet as a gift once. I remember cutting Valentines out of pink construction paper and tasting pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving.

A boy in our class died. I didn’t know him well but I do remember his name was Michael. He choked on a fishbone and his mom came in to talk to our entire class. Then after she left the teacher put on The Electric Company and we all watched while the teacher left and Mrs Brady got to watch us for the rest of the day. (As an adult, I wonder if maybe she went to his funeral.)

I remember running across grass to a huge red, white and blue hot air balloon that landed at a park to celebrate the Bicentennial in 1976.

At some point in my mental movie, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I thought about how to make life memorable for the kids. Probably taking lots of pictures is as good idea. As they look at them and we tell them about the things they did, they’ll conflate hearing about it with actually having done it. Hell, I could even Photoshop them into Machu Picchu or at the top of the Eiffel Tower; they’d never know the difference! Instant privileged and well-traveled childhood, with none of the whining.

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