Don’t Let Meryl Streep Drive the Bus


[Blogger’s note:  I’m sure the amazing Ms. Streep is a fine driver.  It was just a dream.]

At last, a dream.  After a summer of spotty, hazy, useless dreams about nothing and a September of so little sleep that dreams don’t bother to form, the pre-dawn soap opera playing out in my head was most welcome.  Well, not exactly welcome.  It was a dream fraught with anxiety because it was about the two things that cause me most to want to combine booze and pills:  time and an airport.

So stressful was the dream that I had to wake myself up.  Walking down the hall to the bathroom, I muttered:  “You do not have to be anywhere.  You don’t need to get your daughter on a plane.  Meryl Streep doesn’t drive transit buses, I’m sure Ashley Judd is a very nice lady…everything is fine…”  I looked for something to write with.  No luck.  So, folks, this is my dream diary…just for today.

I am holding a baby.  A baby with red curly hair and a very stinky diaper.  He is NOT my baby.  We’re in a restaurant.  I hand off stinky baby, I am relaxed and happy.  I’ve been shopping for my daughter.  My husband comes out of nowhere saying we’re late.  His voice is panicked and pinched.  He sounds like me.

[If my husband were ever to utter those words to me, I would drop dead on the spot but as I’ve said, this was a dream].

Stinky babies are left behind as we gallop for a bus.  We have to get to the airport.  I don’t argue the virtues of cab versus bus as I normally would; I just run blindly toting all manner of luggage and shopping bags.  I’m not a good toter, especially at a full run.  We see a bus; it’s a grim affair, painted a dull gray with painted out windows – I think it was used for the deployment of Soviet troops to somewhere unattractive like Siberia.  Anyway, Meryl Streep is behind the wheel.

I have to say I’ve seen her look better.  With  floozy peroxide hair and a Tootsie Pop in her mouth, she wasn’t looking too chic.  Nor was she in a particular hurry to get her passengers anywhere.  She’s a chatty one, that Meryl Streep.  She cannot drive and chat at the same time…in my dream.  She did everything to guarantee I was certifiably insane by the time we reached the airport.  It’s never a good sign when the bus driver has to ask passengers for directions.

The old Soviet-era bus creaks up to the airport; my husband and I leap out and are magically in the security line.  But we aren’t flying – we are only delivering luggage to our daughter who is, presumably, somewhere in the airport.  Things go further downhill.

The line is long (no dream magic here) and complicated by certain actresses (I’m talking to you, Ashley Judd) allowing their toddlers to ride the scanner’s conveyor belt, in the buckets designed for handbags and spare change, as if it were some sort of mini amusment park ride.  Magically, my husband is already through (no dream magic here either -he always picks the faster line.  I have a talent, in dreams and in real life, for choosing the slowest line).

I’m getting nowhere.  I try reasoning with Ashley Judd (nope), I try crying at Ashley Judd’s feet (no luck), I try appealing to the sympathies of others in the line (“Please! Someone compliment one of her movies!”).  No dice.  I stand helplessly by as time ticks mercilessly on. [Blogger’s note:  I’m sure Ms. Judd’s children, if she has any, are perfect angels in the airport].

My husband is now talking to my hysterical daughter off in the distance.  “I HAVE TO GET ON THIS PLANE TO GREECE!” she shrieks loud enough to make any banshee proud.  I see my husband talking to an airport official who, as luck would have it, appears to be Greek.  I trip one of Ashley Judd’s kids and I am magically through the line in time to hear the airport official say there is no time to do anything more except get my girl on the plane.  No bags, no luggage, no toothbrush.  I am beside myself.  No toothbrush?  My husband stuffs her hands full of Euros, saying he hopes Euros still work in Greece, and off she goes.

“Buy a toothbrush!” I yell to the vanishing form of my daughter.  I turn around, vaguely wondering why she is going to Greece.  I turn to my husband, still in high drama mode:  “How do we know she will actually make that flight?  How will we ever know!  What about all of these bags!” (I am getting stressed as I type – this is all too realistic).

My husband is  speaking to yet another man who looks a lot like the first man.  “We will ship her bags to the airport.”  2nd man is sure the bags will get there before our daughter does.  I am not convinced.  I want to be on that plane with my little girl…

It’s all too much for me and I wake myself up.

High drama, stress-inducing airport dreams aside, having a detail-laden dream is like gold for me.  Several of my short stories (one of them  published) were born from dreams.  Dreams are useful.  Dreams should always be written down.  Don’t edit.  The crazier, the more disconnected the better.  You can shape something good out of all the craziness later.  Trust me.

Dreams often come when I’m feeling a bit stuck.  Yesterday was such a day.  I walked around the house toting either a kitten or a laundry basket in a very foul mood (me, not the laundry basket).  I knew I should write something, but couldn’t.  I even went so far as to open Word and pull up my homework for the workshop.  All I needed were two more pages so I could submit it.  I just stared….and wandered off to find the kitten.   This dream was a beacon in a very dark night – I’m not as stuck as I think I am.

Or, it could just be that I feel like being pissed off at Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, and Greece.

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