Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nightmares and Demolition

In the last year, I've had one nightmare that recurs. It goes like this. Pynchon and I take possession of a new house. The dream starts with me just inside the threshold, confused. I'm trying to have a good attitude, but I'm surprised. Sometimes the surprise is that I'm in a different house at all, that it turns out we've sold our house and moved somewhere new. Sometimes the surprise is that the new house that we've moved into is ... gross.

This is where the dread starts.

I move deliberately through the new house and try to stay calm: it's much smaller than the house we've given up; the kitchen has a puddle of water in the corners; the dining room has a six foot ceiling; there are metal bunk beds in the cavernous but rotting basement; the second floor is accessed through a claustrophobic crawl space; once, memorably, there were tigers in Munchkin's new room. The general vibe is dank and brown and 70s shag.

This is where the panic starts.

I start to try to 'remember' why we sold our house to move here, realizing with a punch to the gut that it was the wrong reason, the wrong thing to do, oh my God, can we undo this, can we get our house back, no no no no no. Sometimes at this point in the dream I'm screaming and flailing in anger, but other times, I'm wailing and sobbing with utter heartbreak.

Then the dream just kind of continues, the awful house reveals its full awfulness, I try to cope by suggesting improvements, I desperately try to convince Pynchon to try to get our other house back, I tear at my own soul for being so stupid as to sell it in the first place, and then eventually I wake up.

I've had this dream probably once or twice a month since the business with the condo developers started. This week, I've had it every night. Every damn night, and, bonus, during my nap this morning.

Chew on that for a minute, okay?


So, it seems I'm not over the whole forced-sale-of-the-house business yet. Although, interestingly, the house I usually seem to be freaking out over losing in these dreams is our new house, not the first one (usually).

The condo sales are going ... not so well over there, apparently, which is why more than two years after we were forced out of this--

--it was still just sitting there, forlorn, blinds down, weeds growing.

Oh yeah. With this stuck on the lawn:

Suddenly this weekend, though, the developers tore the porch off. (I can easily enough keep track of when this happens, as I live, remember, 500 feet away). And today, up went the hoardings and in came the machines. Munchkin and I drove by on the way home from preschool to take pictures. "That's an old house, Mom! Look at that old house!"

Are they tearing it down? Now? Is this the source of the nightmares?

And what does it mean, this constant, repeating nightmare. Is it so literal as this? Or am I worried about a metaphorical homelessness? I did just submit my tenure package, a pretty stressful process that brought out, let me be frank, the worst in me. Maybe I'm feeling only tenuously rooted now that my whole future is up in the air. That seems reasonable.

Pynchon quite reasonably notes that we sold that house for a huge profit, enough to finance the 500-foot move into a much better house on a nicer street and have money for renovations and now we have lovely neighbours and no one can put a condo on top of us here. True.

So what's the dream about then? What do you think?

* PS: compare the house pictures. Notice there's a new highrise behind the house? That's the condo behind us that got announced as an infill project the day we moved in. Condo fever!


Omaha Mama said...

I think it's anxiety, just anxiety. Maybe about making proper decisions or certain things being out of your control (which you may not like much?). But maybe not so much about a house as about what a house represents to you? Hmmmmm...I LOVE analyzing dreams and have wacky ones all the time! Sleep well tonight my friend. :-)

Jenifer said...

OM's ideas sound plausible to me. I don't dream much lately, which I like. I am so physically tired I just collapse.

I hope you get some restful sleep tonight.

Kyla said...

Anxiety tinged with the thoughts of the old house demolition, I think. I hope the dream disappears soon!

Patti said...

I remember all your posts about the evil condo developers. That's when I first "met" you. It sucks that it's still there, rolling around in your mind so much. It's amazing how much these kinds of things impact us. May it fade soon! ... perhaps once the old house is no longer a daily visual reminder ...

Bea said...

I have exactly that nightmare - the frantically trying to remember why I made this decision, frantically trying to figure out how to undo it...only it's not with houses for me - it's husbands. Usually I've left Mark and gone back to my ex, and now I'm panicked and trying to figure out whether I can get Mark back. I always wake up with a renewed appreciation for my actual life.

My house dream is a wish fulfillment dream - I'm wandering through this huge, endless house, full of nooks and crannies, and I can't believe that this is really my house. Sometimes it's my actual house but with several new rooms I didn't know about before (sometimes containing a hot tub); other times it's a completely different house, often an odd and not very fashionably decorated one, but with tons of character and charm. I wake up from that dream feeling a bit let-down that it wasn't real.