Monday, May 08, 2006
This month the topic of Blogging 4 Books is "cheating." Here is my entry: _____________________ Is it cheating to come up with a story idea in a dream? I've spent nearly a week trying to think of something to write on the topic of cheating and in all that time I hadn't come up with much more than "cheating bad, tree pretty." And since that's only one sentence fragment, blatantly based on a line from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I didn't think that was quite going to cut it. But last night I had a dream. I'd like to tell you I dreamed about beautiful images and high, lofty ideals, but I cannot tell a lie. Well, ok, that's not true. I can tell a lie, I'm just not particularly good at it. So I won't even try. Instead I'll confess that my dream wasn't noble, or lyrical, or in any way inspiring. My dream was more like a SitCom. I dreamed that a friend asked me to plant-sit while she was out of town. She brought all her plants to my house, including her favorite - a big, lush, prize-winning philodendron. That plant was so huge she shouldn't have been able to carry it into the house, but this was a dream after all, so she carried it through the door as if it didn't weigh any more than a nicely-filled bag from the shoe store. We found the perfect spot for the plant near my dining room window and she said a tearful good-bye (to the plant, that is; I merely got a wave and a "see ya") and then she left. Everything seemed fine at first. Then I noticed a slight swaying and rustling overhead and looked up. That's when I saw, to my abject horror, that the topmost branches and leaves of that philodendron were crawling with rats! Now I realize you may be wondering why I didn't notice that right away, or how my friend hadn't noticed it herself. I'd certainly be wondering that if you were telling me this story! But here's what you have to understand. These weren't huge sewer rats, or even barn rats. These were teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, bug-size rats. They were sort of like aphids, if aphids had fur, and long whiskers at the end of twitchy pink noses, and skinny naked tails as long as their bodies. My response was perfectly reasonable. Really. I did what I believe any sensible person would do. I shrieked, grabbed the philodendron by the pot, and tossed it out the back door and off the deck. Sadly, the plant did not survive the experience. Can we have a moment of silence, please? ::::___:::: Thank you. But here is the point at which the dream turned into a surreal homage to "I Love Lucy", or perhaps "The Brady Bunch." Because, while I was relieved to have the micro-mini-rats out of the house, I was appalled to realized I'd killed my friend's favorite house plant. That thing was her pride and joy...her baby! She had silver-framed photos of it on her mantle! How could I ever make amends? Luckily it didn't take me long to figure it out. Like any good SitCom character, instead of confessing and offering my abject apologies (with, perhaps, a heaping side-order of "grovel"), I decided to try to replace the plant with an exact duplicate before she returned from her trip. Yes, that's right. I decided to cheat. It would have been nice if my dreaming mind had decided I could pick up a dead-ringer replacement for a perfectly shaped 8 ft. tall tropical plant at the local Wal-Mart, while buying some toothpaste, toilet paper, and a bag of apples. But I guess things weren't supposed to be that easy because from there the dream spun off into a wacky Road Trip story, complete with runaway buses, steaming rain forests, and a hotel with no elevator where not all the staircases went to all the floors and figuring out how to get to my room was a bit like figuring out the correct path in a maze. (Note to self: Don't ever make a reservation at a hotel called "The Escher Inn.") As can sometimes happen with dreams, I'm a little fuzzy on how it all ended, but I feel sure it can't have been good. That old "find a perfect replacement" trick never works, not even in a dream. When I woke up, I probably should have been contemplating the symbolism and figuring out what my subconscious was trying to tell me. But this is what I took away from that dream: If any of you ever ask me to look after your philodendron while you're on vacation, the answer is "no." "Eeek!"