I keep having all these weird dreams about the places I grew up and thereabouts.
Is this happening because I will be driving down in 16 days, and am dreading it? I haven't been back to Arkansas since, oh, I think it was 2004. So it's been a while. And that isn't an accident. Driving to Arkansas is like...driving to a pap smear appointment: I really don't want to go, but I feel like I have to, and my mom makes me feel guilty enough about not going that I finally blurt, "Ok fine. I'll go next year."
So here we are, next year is upon us, and I'm making Gray go with me. Ha ha! He has no idea what he's in for. I've tried to lull him into a false sense of security by telling him it won't be as bad as I'm expecting, that since the baby is no longer an issue my grandmother probably won't even use the word "bastard", and my step dad will be easy to ignore. No one will try to talk us into attending church, no one will discuss politics, no one will ask me when I'm moving "home", and no one will wonder aloud if we plan to get married or keep living in sin for all eternity.
My sister offered her couch to us, and I gladly accepted the invitation. At my sister's house, we can drink. And swear. And play with (plot to kidnap) her baby. And despite knowing we accepted my sister's offer, three months later my mother is still casually reminding me of all the room she has at her house. The bed, the bathroom, the bed, the bathroom. Did she mention the bed? Because she has a bed and a bathroom for us. I think she's choosing to ignore my, "Thanks anyways, but we're staying with W because she invited us first" statements. Selective hearing or something.
Oh, there are so many ways in which this trip could go terribly wrong. But, more on that later.
In my dreams, I'm doing all kinds of strange things like attending my high school reunion, which happens to be a naked roller skating reunion (KILLER IDEA). I get carded at the door, and in my head I'm wondering if my driver's license will say my real-life age or if it will say my age in high school. If it says my high school age, they won't let me into the naked roller skating reunion, and I REALLY want to get in there. You'd think since I'm attending a reunion, it's logical to assume I'm an adult. Alas, logic doesn't matter much in dreams, I find.
Later, I'm at some hillbilly version of a grocery store (like Wal-Mart) and I'm fascinated by the dollar aisle, which has dozens of types of brooms but no good kitchen utensils (damn hillbilly grocery store). I end up buying a puppy who speaks English and sounds like Al Sharpton.
Later, I'm a consulting realtor for a family I knew as a kid. They want to put their home on the market, but the basement is knee-deep with trash and debris, and looks like the inside of a dumpster. I have to control my disgust and tell them with a straight face that they may want to consider tidying up before they list their house. You know, pick all the animal shit up and stuff. I hear something rustling around in a corner, and that something appears to be moving inside of a clear plastic storage tub. Upon closer inspection, I find it's a very tiny, sick kitten. She's trying to claw her way out of the tub, so I take off the lid and scoop her up. She's got some kind of horrible growth on her face, like a mole times 1000, and so I decide I'm going to rescue this kitten and I put her in my pocket.
Wonder if the kitten's growth signifies that I'm uncomfortable with the mass of cold sores and zits all over me right now? Nah, that can't be it.
Anyhow, I'm really hoping these dreams stop. They freak me out, and really? Do I need to be more freaked out? No, I really don't. I'm anxious enough as it is. If you've ever driven through Iowa, Missouri and into Arkansas with the intent of stopping there...you understand.