Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Here's a Dream

This one is not hard to interpret, at least not at the beginning. But I'm having a little trouble with the second half. I'll skip all the little details and try to stick with the meat.

I dreamed that I was vacationing on a lake or gulf. I went out on the water on a raft and somehow ended up with a fish that was like a pet. It was kind of like a redfish, about 2 feet long and I took it in with me when I went into the lakehouse. I was in the bedroom with the fish on the bed when I suddenly realized that I had taken the fish inside and it needed water to live. I picked it up began to walk down the hall to leave the house and I heard the fish speaking to me. It was saying, "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" as if it were greatly relieved that I remembered its need and was delivering it to the water. I remember being a little surprised and delighted that it could talk.

On the way to the door, next thing I know, the fish is now a really big alligator and it's walking toward the door. It passes one of the bedrooms on the hall where Renard's siblings are and one of his sisters opens the door and is startled and tells me she thinks I'm crazy to be taking the alligator out because the thing is probably going to bite my head off. I told her it was okay and that I didn't have to worry about that.

The alligator gets to the front door before I do and it stands on its hind legs and is trying to open the door, obviously in a hurry to get outside to the water. I told it to hold on, that I'm coming and I'll get the door open for it. And I do. And it exits. That's all I remember.

Now, I've learned that when I have an animal in a dream that appears to be my pet (of sorts), the animal represents me or some aspect of myself. I encountered this dream metaphor once before and blogged it here, then got into the analysis of the dream in the following post here.

So, the main theme of this dream is pretty much right in your face. What I have is a fish out of water. A redfish, no less. The beloved local fish found in the gulf's estuaries that was almost fished to death as a result of Chef Paul Prudhomme's world-famous Blackened Redfish dish. And lo, I worked for Chef Paul 18-20 years ago. So I think it's safe to say that my peculiar mind was very deliberate in choosing this particular metaphor. A fish out of water? That's me.

But what's the deal with the alligator? I'm not a mean person. I won't bite anyone's head off. Ask anyone who knows me. (There are people reading this blog who know me in real-life and not just this blog-world.) I'm not scaly and scary-looking. And the alligator was anxious to get out, but it was still cordial. Surely, this has some kind of meaning, but I'm at a loss for it.

But I am indeed a fish out of water. I am out of my element. Shall I count the ways? Let's just look at the most obvious. I haven't spent a night in my own house, in my own bed, since August 27th, 2005. Sometimes, I lay in bed here with the lights off and I can't remember where I am. I think I'm home but on the wrong side of the bed...or am I in Keswick or in Charlottesville? Or at Renard's? Mom is my best friend, a wonderful hostess and a phenomenal cook. Being here is lovely. But I want to be back in my house. I want a normal life again. I'm tired of all the toil and trouble that has become the way of life in this city. I'm not alone. We're all going through it. Nothing is easy. Nothing is now. (I'm still waiting for State Farm to get their engineer's report so I can start the foundation work that has to occur before any of the other work can be done.) Will this ever end?? I wonder how many people on the Gulf Coast ask this question every day? I wonder how many people here can see a normal life as part of their future? Is this the alligator? I really can't figure that part out and now I've opened the valve to my repressed feelings frustration and can't see through the thick, sticky liquid.

I try not to talk about the effects that this Storm has had on all of us living in the area, but it's like having a stinky, dead albatross hanging around each of our necks. And it doesn't matter how badly you were flooded or how much damage your property sustained or whether or not you lost your job. This is not an easy place to be right now. If you're living here, you're wearing it. And I think we've grown so accustomed to the stench and the general unpleasantness that we no longer realize how much it's impairing our senses and our ability to function normally until we stop for a moment and look at ourselves and our feelings.

This is not to say that we all sulk around with great pathos. No, that is not the New Orleans way. We're good-natured folks, always ready to twist tragedy into humor, to make-do with what we have, and to trudge forward, laughing in the face of adversity. (We have, after all, chosen to live in this wacky city which had more than its share of problems before the Storm.) We're grateful that things aren't worse (because we know they always can be.) In many ways, I'm happier than I've been in ages. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that my relationship with Renard has been incredibly good in the last several months. I'd call it high-quality, mutual love and happiness. And that definitely helps. But the albatross is still here, so I'm going to go back to trying to pretend that it's not.

And really, anyone have any ideas on the dream-gator?


Blogger Oliver said...

Jebus! I had a dream last night about a pet fish out of water (its tank had broken and I rushed arounds town trying to find new one, timing running out)--I'd thought about blogging on it but you beat me to it.

Veddy strange! Glub glub.

10:53 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Strange indeed! Actually, I had the dream last week but just got around to blogging it, but still odd timing here. Do ya think the higher mind is trying to tell us something??

Again, I'm sorry New Orleans took the wind from your sales and you had to cut the trip short. I was really hoping we'd get to visit. It's been a long time!

And yes, it is depressing when you know how the city is supposed to be and you see how many important things -cultural institutions -are missing. I think they'll make it back, but it's going to take time -and money.

Surely we must be under the giant economists' microscope right now. This economy is so fragile. It's like a big petrie dish with all kinds of junk thrown in and everyone's watching it with great interest to see what, if anything, will grow and how long it will take. At this point, it's anyone's guess. Just keep praying and tell everyone to come down here, visit and spend some money with the struggling local businesses.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Schroeder said...

I like your spirit Lisa. Thanks for sharing!

10:08 AM  

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