Outside of the Normal Flow
I had a dream last night. I was riding the subway to my new job as Mayor of New York City. I was amused and a little relieved that nobody recognized me. I had been late out the door so after the crowd in the car eased somewhat I started changing in to my suit. That is also when I got some face time with a few of the remaining passengers, who told me they knew who I was, and were glad to see me going to my new job.
I had another dream last night, where we stopped at Grand Army Plaza because I’d seen a Blue-Footed Booby lay a big blue egg and walk away. We were concerned for the safety of the egg, so I went to move it into the shrubbery and bury it a little, except first my companion stepped on it a bit, cracking the shell. I sat the egg upright so the yolk wouldn’t leak and on my companion’s advice we began covering it with leaves. I found the egg was kind of like a potato and I could cut some skin from one side to patch the hole over the yolk. Things were going well enough until my partner did something I don’t remember that caused the egg to fail. I was upset, mad, discouraged, but got over the tragedy quickly enough. When we got back on the bus The Oppressor started criticizing my partner for her failings. This made me mad. I got up in his face and reminded him about his karma.
That dream was a pretty obvious reference to an episode earlier in the week where we “rescued” a fledgling from another corner of Grand Army Plaza, but due to bad advice and my own complacency, and the inherent difficulty of avian rescue, the little thing perished. I was upset, mad, and discouraged, and my partner was mad at me for the whole thing, which made me mad at her. In the following days I had more sympathy for her view because she’s working in a difficult, complex, high-stress, high-stakes environment where saving weak fragile little newborns is their passion. And there is always the fear of screwing up, which means suffering and often death, for the meekest of human beings, followed by blame, criticism, lawsuits. She shouldn’t have brought that home and laid it on me, but on the other hand when you live in a pressure cooker the steam is going to find your cracks. This will happen sometimes in a relationship and it is important to handle trouble gracefully. And she is certainly forgiving of my own shortages of equanimity. We didn’t talk about it, but she made me some cookies.
I read somewhere that in interpreting a dream, it is less important to figure out the imagery and symbolism, and more useful to study how you react to situations. Where earlier in the week I had wanted to defend myself against harsh, unfair criticism from my partner, in my dream I wanted to defend my partner against harsh, unfair criticism. I was pleased.
My coworkers were discussing the “stateless” nature of our periodic weeks on the pager rotation. I said that on-call was like driving across the country, a space outside of the normal flow of life, where night and day are flexible and after the first few days the miles all blend together. We’re moving back to California, where I have a job as a senior member of my team. A lot of the crowd won’t recognize me, but the old timers at the end of the commute will be glad to see me.