The following is the recounting of a nightmare that was going on when I woke up this morning. I’m still a little shaky from it and definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed.
The nightmare started as I was in the car looking for my grandson’s house and got lost. I got out of the car for some reason; I think to check a map or my phone. I forgot to put the car in park. Because of the way the wheel was turned the car rolled around the corner.
Then it started rolling downhill gaining momentum and was also in the wrong lane facing oncoming traffic. Cars were honking and dodging the oncoming car. I began racing down the hill trying to catch the car, frantic and terrified, and wondering how I was going to explain this to Mr. Husband. I thought “oh man, I’m NEVER gonna live this down.”
Somehow it rolled into the airport and came to a stop on a flat area right outside a terminal. I finally caught up to it. There were police and other scary looking unidentifiable official types surrounding the car and digging through it, searching under the seat, in the trunk, looking under the car, inside the engine, etc.
3 FBI types approached and escorted me inside to an office to question me. I explained what happened, fully expecting them to say something like “Wow, that was really fracking stupid” and that would be the end of it.
As we were talking, people wearing rubber gloves began to enter the room putting down stacks of papers and personal items from my car. The agents started looking through the papers. I had a variety of junk including pictures, mementos, some term papers about controversial topics I had written as college assignments; gun control, abortion, environmental issues, etc. I also had a stun gun for personal protection in the car. Why I had all this junk in my car, I don’t know – this is a dream, after all.
They started asking me about the papers and why I had the stun gun. Did I have a bone to pick with society? “Uh, no.” Was I intending to commit some act of violence because of these views? That would be a negatory. It occurred to me that they intended to make a case that I was a potentially violent nutcase with nefarious intentions.
Then someone came in and said “the kid is OK.” I asked “what kid?” One agent said “the kid that ran into your car.” The other agent corrected her and said “the child that was hit by your car.” I asked that they clarify which it was and they hemmed and hawed and wouldn’t give me a straight answer. That was really scary and the hair on my head began to stand up.
The car I was driving was a Cadillac, comically huge because this is a dream, so my mind immediately went to a scenario where some unsupervised kid bumped into the car and the parent, noticing that the car was an expensive one, thought “Ah Ha! Lawsuit! I bet I could get some good money out of this.” I briefly wondered how much liability insurance we had on our car and life in general.
I noticed that they were beginning to place my possessions in evidence bags and asked “why are you doing this.” They replied “this is evidence, Mam.” I asked “evidence of what?” They replied “that’s for the courts to decide.” Feeling a cold chill I asked “What do you mean the courts? What am I being accused of?” “Reckless endangerment, and hit and run, also sending an unmanned vehicle into an airport is a matter for Homeland Security.” I protested, “But I didn’t ‘send it,’ it rolled here.” They looked at each other with raised eyebrows, but said nothing.
The confiscation of my possessions made me feel extremely violated. Also it became apparent that they intended to turn my simple and stupid mistake into a criminal undertaking.
At this point I panicked and asked to call my husband. When I tried to tell him what was going on I became hysterically, sobbing and was unable to speak coherently. They took the phone out of my hand, hung it up and put handcuffs on me.
This is when I woke up.
I think this dream was triggered by my growing fear of how much freedom we are giving up in our personal lives for the sake of “security.” In many places in our country the police no longer need a warrant or consent to search vehicles. I think the belief that if “you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is misguided and leading us into a false sense of “it couldn’t happen to me.” We as a society are seeing a snowballing invasion of our privacy. This leads to government officials looking for that “big case” to further their careers and leads to criminalizing human error.
I am extremely grateful that was only a nightmare. But, I’m also terrified that this going to become a possible reality for American citizens.
One thing about this crazy adventure I thought of that mad me laugh was a scenario described by the stand up comedian, Ron White. He was in a bar in New York drinking, of course, what else do you do in a bar? He pissed off someone and got thrown out onto the street. He said that they did not just escort him out, instead 6 bouncers picked him up and threw him out the door like Frisbee, breaking a chair in the process. The police arrived and accused him of destruction of property and being drunk …in…public. His response was “No, I was drunk in a bar, which is perfectly legal. The trouble started when they threw me into public!”
What is real, what it normal? Been trying lately to figure out how I held it together through 5 decades of an undiagnosed mental disorder, with the double whammy of born and raised in an extremely dysfunctional family of origin. For a long time I pictured us as American Gypsies who tend to bumble around on the fringes of society. Looking back at this – how I managed to cope was having a few basic goals, and basic things I did not want.
Today I’ am defining real or normal as what worked for me. Using the classic “if –then” scenario, I defined what I needed to feel normal. Examples; IF I want a roof over my head – THEN I need money. IF I don’t want to pass go and head directly to jail – THEN I need to procure money in some sort of legal way. IF I leave my coffee outside for 2 hours – THEN it will have drowned bugs and dead leaves floating in it. It’s almost too simple.
Wants or Needs:
- A roof over my head
A roof in this case is defined as attached to the ground, on at least a semi-permanent basis. It must belong to me via rental, lease or ownership, and come with attached walls, windows, a bathroom, and lockable doors. This excludes car ports, tents, card board boxes under a bridge, or attic space in the garage.
Yes, I actually tried the attic route at my grandmother’s house for a few days long long time ago. I was sort of homeless at the time because I made the drastic mistake of leaving one place of residence before securing another, but couldn’t handle being in the same house with her. She would say annoying things like she could live for a month on what I spent on beer and cigarettes in week. It was particularly annoying because I didn’t define what she was doing as “living.” Existing maybe, but certainly not living. I thought I was living. Uh yea, living in a crawl space of a garage attic barely even counts as existing. Pffft, we all suffer from delusions from time to time.
- A car
I wanted a car because I did not want to depend on public transportation. In most American cities public transportation is atrocious at best. One ends up spending hours either freezing or frying at a bus stop waiting for a bus that may or may not grace you with its presence. This car should belong solely to me. Not one that I could beg or borrow on occasion at the whim of the true owner. I wanted true actual possession of the key in my pocket. I did not want to live in fear when driving this car either. This required that the car be “legal”; clear title and registration, driver’s license, insurance, inspection sticker, and all the other pesky details involved in car ownership.
The car needed to run, or course, although for some reason many of my family of origin rarely required this of their cars. It seemed mere possesion of a car shaped object was enough. Their car could be up on blocks for a year in the back yard, with a banana tree growing through the engine block, but so what? This cleared the decks for them to demand transportation at the drop of hat. “My car is broken, yours is not. Therefore you MUST drive me to the grocery store, the airport, Shangri-La, etc.” Excuse me, but if you can afford to go to the airport and fly somewhere, or provide yourself with an endless stream of wacky weed or booze, you should spend that money on fixing your car, you great humongous mooch, you!
Money in its present form is the great greaser of almost all wheels. It’s far better than hauling around squirrel pelts or clam shells for barter. Being not independently wealthy, this generally implies that one must acquire a job or other source of income and keep at it for some reasonable amount of time. Preferable at least until one receives pay for said job.
Having a job means that some sort of exchange of service for goods is involved. Lately I’ve been dumbfounded by relatives who call and who ask me for a loan until they “get paid” where it turns out that “getting paid” means receiving some sort of government assistance money (read – hand out.) There seems to be a complete national disconnect of the notion that an adult person actually does something other than breathe to earn receipt of payment.
These loans are never repaid, of course. It’s an easy leap from viewing a government hand out as getting paid to viewing a loan as money that is handed to you with no strings attached. It’s the dread mentality of “Hey, you have money, I don’t. So gimme yours.” The fact that they could do what you did to have money in their own pocket instead of demanding that you part with yours, flies right over their head.
- Good health
Ah, this is a tricky one. This is the scariest disconnect of all. We spend billions of dollars annually to provide ourselves with “health.” It’s always been screaming, in your face, obvious to me that what you do to or with your body has everything to do with health or the lack thereof. I have a friend who spends thousands of dollars annually to receive counseling from a nutritionist and then occasionally stands there and declares, “I’m hungry, I haven’t eaten today.” Alrighty then. We’ll just pretend that 5 cups of coffee with cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar in each is “nothing” and didn’t happen. What really did happen was that she ingested 340 calories, 63 grams of carbs and 30 grams of fat over the course of a morning’s consumption of coffee before she turns her sights to “food.” Does food only count as food if you have to chew it? She just can’t figure out why the weight isn’t coming off.
Mental health is a sticky wicket. I know that the physical and the mental are joined at the hip. I take medicine to treat bipolar disorder, but it is painfully obvious to me that the pill I down before bed is not a magic bullet. Oh that it was. I have to pay more attention to how eating and sleeping affects my mood swings. If I stay up too late too often, I pay for it for days. I end up speeding around the house, bouncing off the walls like a gerbil on crack. Drinking alcohol? Yea I can do it, but only sparingly and even then it messes with my head. Forget designated driver, a few drinks and I need a designated walker to make sure I get to bed without falling through the coffee table. Then I spend days being hung over and depressed. Not a happy ending.
Well this turned out to be a long post. But playing with If-then scenarios is one of my favorite pass times. Lots of love to all of you and hope you have a fabulous day!