Saturday, February 03, 2007

Cats on a bus*

I had a series of the weirdest dreams last night. All of them began with a setup perfect for the typical anxiety dream: explaining something to a roomful of students and having all the equipment backfire; needing to get to a meeting and not being able to find the room... but in each case, somehow the problem turned around into a situation that worked. They were like anti-anxiety dreams.

The weirdest by far was the dream in which LWI and I got on a New York City bus... with our two cats. What could be better for an anxiety dream than taking your high-strung cats on a city bus full of people? I remember all the possibilities flashing through my mind - people complaining about the cats, OneCat freaking out and biting someone, or bolting out the door at any given stop, or TwoCat wandering off to sleep inside someone's bag and getting unknowingly carted away. (Of course they weren't even in carriers; they were just walking along with us.) Not only that, but at some point the dream came to include a third cat (who fortunately bore a much closer resemblance to mellow TwoCat than hyper OneCat). This complicated things in that two people might have a chance at carrying around two cats, but not three; not only that, but for half the dream I couldn't quite remember ThreeCat's name, which introduced an odd element of guilt. (When I did remember, it was Laurel, which was just as odd.) At one point I had the clear idea that the bus went in a big loop and would come back home in about an hour, so all we had to do was try desperately to keep them under control for an hour and everything would be okay. (Famous last words, right? and besides, what the hell were we doing going on a one-hour circular joyride on a bus with cats?) Some part of my brain was conscious enough to foresee this becoming serious trouble.

But. All we had to do was to store TwoCat on the luggage rack over our heads, where he curled up in a comfortable ball and napped, and put OneCat in a window seat, where he happily watched the world go by. Magically, we found we'd remembered to bring food and water for them, so they snacked along the way. The bus took us to a cool little park outside the city, where we all got out and played for a while (both cats comporting themselves like well-behaved children, not wandering too far off), and then the dream ended when we decided to go back home before it got dark, knowing that the bus ride wouldn't be any problem.

Throughout the whole dream there was this little frisson of anxiety about all the things that could (and rightfully should have) gone wrong, but it all turned out beautifully well. WTF? Dreams don't usually work like that. What does it mean when instead of chaos, I dream that things are more under control than they could ever possibly be?

*(sort of my odd subconscious equivalent of Snakes on a Plane, I suppose...)