All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts,
William Shakespeare – from As You Like It 2/7
I had a rather disconcerting dream a few nights ago. I was living my life (I thought) only to discover that I was on a movie set. I tried exiting but every time I walked through another door I discovered that I was only on a much larger movie set. It was like being a player in a movie, about people making a movie, about people making a movie. There seemed to be no end to the rabbit hole.
Every encounter I had with a friend, loved one, acquaintance or stranger turned out to be part of this huge movie undertaking. It was really weird, like waking up in the middle of a reality show and you can’t find the door to get off the stage.
As dreams go this was a long one. It seemed to go on for days. At some point I gave up trying to find a way out and just went along for the ride as an observer. I pondered everything that anyone said to me, no matter how trivial it seemed thinking, “I wonder why they are saying this. Is it part of a script or is this improvisation?” Do they really think that or believe what they are saying? Or are they just going along with the script.”
As time rolled on in the dream I began to realize that of many of the statements people were making they did, in fact, think they believed what they were saying. But in “reality” they were subconsciously following a script. They were simply parroting what they heard on the news or talk radio, or a discussion they had with like-minded friends. They were caught up in a mutual admiration society of people who held views similar to their own. As a result no one challenged anything they said or did. There was no “reality check.” Everyone was comfortable in their role and held no desire to alter it in any way.
I began to wonder. “Do they realize what is going on here? Do they know that we are filming a movie? Do they think that this is reality?” And then, Oh my God, “Do I know what is going on here? Is the joke on me? That was a distressing thought.
Eventually I woke up. I’ve been wandering around the last few days thinking about it. I began to wonder how much of the time I spend on auto-pilot. I do what I do out of sheer habit. I think what I think because I already thunk it before. It is way easier than thinking or doing anything differently.
I think part of what is happening here is that my “reality” meter got reset last week in the emergency room. There’s nothing like writhing around in agony, alternating between fear that you are dying and hoping that you were dying to escape the pain, to make you look at things a bit differently.
Mr. Husband who does love me dearly in his own way, for some odd reason, chose this point in time to lecture me about the “evils of Obama-care.” I remember thinking “Dude, are you serious? I’m laying here on a bench in an ER, clutching a metal mixing bowl in case I puke again on the next wave and you pick this moment, right now to attempt to ram your political views home. My political views are directly opposite of his. He’s a republican, I’m sort of a mixture of democrat/libertarian – take it from there. We pretty much disagree on everything political.
So there I lay wishing I had enough strength to beat him over the head with my bowl, but barely enough strength to lift my arm. I’m glad that I was too weak because I don’t think assaulting my spouse in the ER would be good for our relationship.
Anyway, I’m left thinking: How much of what we think we believe even remotely resembles the truth? Maybe it’s not that much. How much of the time do we let other people do our thinking for us? We listen to some opinion broker in the media and think “Oh, that’s sounds reasonable, I think I will believe that for a while” until something else comes along that sounds more believable. I wonder…..
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.
What is it like to be a woman? I wish I knew. Even grown women are rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Am I still a girl? I do know I’m sick to death of being “cute.” It’s a good thing too, I’m past my prime in the cute department. Whenever I am writhing my way through some kind of metamorphosis Mr. Husband claims the short end of the stick. He hasn’t learned after 8 years to leave me alone when I need it. Even when I spell it out in excruciating clarity and say “leave me the hell alone.” He also tends to follow me around breathing down my neck when I’m not in a talkative mood.
“Are you OK? You sure are being quiet.” He’ll ask when I’m reading a book. Wander what would happen if I let out intermittent screams and cackles while reading. Would this satisfy the noise criteria? Then the drive by questions start, “whatcha doing?” Well dear, I’m walking from point A to point B, and there is every likelihood that at some point I may walk back from point B to point A, but don’t hold your breath.” I try to see it from his point of view, but usually fail. I grew up in a large noisy house full of people. If everyone asked someone else what they were doing on a walk by, that’s all we’d ever talk about. And probably end up in frustration induced smack downs that rival reality TV.
Now I’m starting to chafe under this weird obligation or burden to be “cheerful” and “cute” all the time. Smile, make small talk, chatter about the weather, blah, blah, rutabaga, rutabaga. Men aren’t expected to do this. Woman are advised to give their guy some space. Let him go off to his man cave, think his deep manly thoughts in solitude and privacy. Uninterrupted by silly questions. “What are doing” Why aren’t you smiling? Is there something wrong? Are you mad at me? Are you taking your pills? Are you plotting my demise? Where is the cat?”
In my family of origin we coped with the need for head space in more of an oriental kind of way. Never gave it much thought until now. It was an unspoken rule that when someone curled up in a corner with their nose in a book or leaned on the windowsill looking at the clouds, this person was in a private place and wanted solitude. I would never dream of walking up to anyone engrossed in a book and ask “what are you doing?” It is a question that begs a sarcastic answer at the very least. “If you must know, I’m judging the heft of this novel against the chances of its cracking your skull?” Be careful when asking silly questions, you might not like the answer.
Is it the interruption factor? Women through ages tell their children, “don’t bother Daddy dear, he’s relaxing after a hard day at the office, the salt mine, the Roman forum.” Mother may still have scramble eggs lodged in her eyebrows from the breakfast battle with junior, but that’s not important in the grand scale of things. Women are raised to believe that everything they do is subject to interruption, idle curiosity or interference by the needs or whims of others. “I’ll just get back to my petty little essay on the meaning of life, the universe and everything it contains, after I scratch your left shoulder-blade.” And we do it with a smile on our face. Or do we? Is it really a baring of teeth? “Yes dear, right away dear, your command is my wish dear.” Truth unspoken – At this moment dear, I wish you would fall of the edge of the earth, today if possible.
Now to Mr. Husband’s credit, this seems to be a recurring theme in my relationships with men. For all the reasons I’ve listed above. Can men help if it they are raised up to believe that women are on this earth for the sole purpose of amusing them? Is it encoded in the DNA or a learned behavior? Who knows. I know I’m not a typical woman. I don’t need nonstop, 24/7, constant interaction, petting and assurances of love. I either feel it or I don’t on a given day. What I need and want is the privacy to think my own thoughts. Uninterrupted, interrogated. If my door is shut, leave-me-the-hell-alone! I don’t even care if the house is on fire.