Totally Unauthorized

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Travel anxiety

The last few times I’ve been out of town for longer than one night, I’ve had the same recurring nightmare. I dream that I come home, pull up to the house, and discover that it’s a smoldering ruin – a rubble heap from which I can salvage nothing. In the dream, I stand there, wondering why I didn’t pack more clothes, since now all I own is what’s in the car.

It happened again this trip – as I lay in the cold bedroom on the lumpy twin bed, I tossed and turned, repeatedly waking up my sister who snapped on night two and suggested that I might be more comfortable on the floor in the living room (the couch was taken up by the other sister).

I know that it’s just a dream, but it’s an exceptionally vivid one, and always carries over into my waking life – I just can’t shake the imagery, and to drive it out of my brain, I do things like write stupid haikus (see yesterday’s post), and make a valiant (yet invariably unsuccessful) attempt to finish the New York Times crossword.

None of it seems to work, though. I spend the last day of every trip with this grinding, irrational anxiety gnawing at me.

Sure enough, when I got home, everything was intact, and the only catastrophe was a very angry cat – she’d eaten her food ration too quickly and had an empty bowl.

It’s good to be home.

Filed under: Non-Work

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have that anxiety every time I leave the house. Ever since I left a pan on the fire 5 years ago. Nothing bad happen the house was just really warm when I got home. All I have is my tools.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that really happened to me once:

    There was a storm and the power was out, but my boyfriend tried to use the toaster.

    We both leave for work.
    Power returns.
    Toaster begins to smolder, fire starts. Neighbors call fire dept.
    Fire dept. comes, breaks down steel security door to kitchen with some difficulty, bashing the hell out of the doorframe with axes.
    Fire Dept puts out fire.
    I arrive home to smoking aftermath.

    It was actually Hilarious–I pull up and there’s a huge firetruck in front of our duplex and all these fire guys in big coats just kind of milling around. I walk up and see the smoldering toaster lying in the driveway. I walk by the toaster and see the Kitchen door SMASHED off it’s hinges. Walk into the kitchen where more fire guys are milling, and take in the pattern of the smoke damage, which clearly originated from the toaster’s former resting place.

    It didn’t take a genius to puzzle through what had transpired, but the head-honcho fire guy (chief? captain?) saunters up to me and says “let me walk you through what happened here…”

    Over his shoulder I saw several other fire guys roll their eyes in quite dramatic fasion. I guess the head fire guy must be kind of a drama whore.

    So that’s my fire story. Don’t be afraid to leave the house though. Just try to remember to turn off the toaster–even when the power’s out.

  3. My cat does that too! Every time I go away she eats at twice the normal rate. You’d think cats would eat more slowly to make the kibble last until you get home.

  4. I think your dream has something to do with growing roots in life. But I can see it splitting both ways and don’t know which is true of you.

    Version 1: You are not happy with your life and feel that you are not developing a home, a safe place, a wharehouse of valuable things. In this version, the dream is revealing to you how you actually feel – you’re life is a smoldering ruin.

    Verson 2: You ARE building up a real home, perhaps for the first time in your life. You really have started to locate precious things in your life that you want to keep forever. In this version, the dream is really just your fear or anxiety that you will lose all this precious stuff you’ve finally acquired.

    BTW: By ‘stuff’ I mean emotional stuff. Not stuff stuff.

    As for cats – mine has never done the eats-twice-as-much-while-I’m-away thing. That’s weird.

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