Party at Freud's House

I don’t know if it was the half bag of string black licorice that I ate before retiring to bed, but I had some pretty messed up dreams last night. I mean, the kind of dreams that are so weird that you want to tell your wife about them in the morning, but when you begin to flesh out the details with words, you sound like a schizophrenic person who just had a double shot of LSD. I mean, the kind of dreams that seem like a live-in version of a Hieronymus Bosch triptych. Weird stuff.

Filtering out the information that bears no relevance to the central theme of the dream, I am working on interpreting what exactly my subconscious was trying to tell me. Maybe those of you readers who are well versed in psychoanalysis can let me know what corollary there is between the horrors of my dreams and the horrors of my experience.

It began with me being lost and desperately trying to find a class in high school. This is something that I believe is a universal nightmare. Every hallway leads to another option of corridors that each take you further and further away from the calculus test that will doom you for life if you do not take it. The lockers change shape and colors and the lighting is increasingly dimmed. From under the doors of some rooms billows thick smoke which gathers around your ankles and then up and… ah yes… now you have no clothes on. At this realization, the class bell rings and everyone comes out of their misty classrooms. You try and play it off, as if it isn’t that big of a deal that you are naked in a public education facility. It doesn’t work and you still can’t find your calculus class. It doesn’t matter, your calculator was in your back pocket anyway.

10 years after graduating from high school, this is still my recurring nightmare. When I was in college, the location occasionally was upgraded to that of a higher education, but with the same result of being lost, confused, and deprived of clothing. But usually, it was something about high school that has and will continue to haunt my sleep. Something else about high school was frightening to me and that played a part in the initial part of my dream, at least the initial part that I will reveal to you. In my dream, I was frantically looking for the location of a party that it was imperative that I attend. All of my friends, the ones from high school no less, were there and waiting for me to arrive. My trip there included a taxi drive from an Albanian man who drove me past certain features in the city like the holographic dinosaur exhibit and the gigantic statue honoring Robert Smith of the Cure who ironically had found the cure for cancer. I got to the party and realized, along with the fact that I was naked, that I had left my two children on the corner of the street in the rain. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

The dream got me thinking about some of the parties that I attended while I was in high school. It was more a means of prognosis than it was reminiscing. My first and most shocking exposure to parties came when I was actually in 9th grade. It is at this time, scientifically speaking, that the hormones of the pubescent American boy go from the dormant and lackadaisical zombies in Dawn of the Dead (1978) to the sprite, light-footed, and ravenous zombies in Dawn of the Dead (2004). Parties in ninth grade all happened at Retford’s house, he being the only Catholic kid in our circle of friends and, as such, residing in a home with much looser party standards. Though I still didn’t get into anything too crazy, I believe that at one party, kids snorted Smarties off of a hand-held mirror and at another a goat was ritualistically sacrificed. Ah, 9th grade.The parties in 9th grade were, however, my exposure to the wonders of non-discriminatory kissing games. As my hormones were usually the pumped-up, injected Manny Ramirez to the junior little-leaguer of my friends’, I would initiate these games. They ranged from the classic (Spin the Bottle) to the adventurous (7 Minutes in Heaven) to the more-innocent-than-the-name-claims set (Suck and Blow). I was also the one who upped the ante on most of these games. When other boys would meet the girls the bottle pointed to with a chivalrous kiss on the hand, I brought it up to the lips. When the lips became tiresome, I moved to the nape of the neck. I would be only a few spins away from sucking the Kool-Aid Retford’s mom made for us out of a girl’s belly button when I changed the game around entirely. That usually involved the same game played outdoors on a trampoline with the sprinklers running. Today, all of this is, mercifully, kind of a blur. This is the exact reason why my sons will wear a locator device and perhaps a shock collar from the ages of 14 until at least one year into their marriages at 32. This is also why I have willed my chromosomes into only creating baby boys and never, no never, what will grow up to be a teenage girl.

As a Mormon kid, and a somewhat obedient one, it was actually difficult to get into too much mischief at parties. Throughout high school, we went to a few parties that usually petered out to be not much more than playing a wrestling game on the Playstation. Instead of alcohol, we got sauced on Mountain Dew and went on Hot Dog runs to the local 7-11. We watched movies that were supposed to be scary but were no match for our nervous tension at just how close we were to touching this girl’s hand or just how far past her knee we could touch in a playful fashion before we were slapped in the face and had to have a joint interview with our bishop.

In my senior year of high school, parties actually became tamer as I had built up an immunity to the doses of sexual tension I experienced. Plus, I had a girlfriend throughout the year. Longtime readers will know about at least part of my relationship with Tina. Because of what I have written about her, she no longer reads my blog, so I don’t think I have to worry too much about offending her now. Tina was always fun-loving and looking for parties to go to. She was always surprised when we would arrive at a friend’s party and there was no dancing or even music playing, except for the hokey tune coming out of the Super Mario Bros. game. She was the type of girl who always opted for the mosh pit when I was too old for them by the time I was 17.

It turns out that the most important party of my life was one that I did not attend. The millennium fast approached and with it, the lure of several crazy celebrations which were sure to give Tina the party fix she was in need of. We were planning on going downtown where the outdoor festivities were going to be monumental. In the morning of the last day of the millennium, the unpredictable Utah weather was foreboding to say the least. There was a thick fog, not unlike what would fill classroom hallways in my dreams. Though I do not tout my own spiritual acuity, I had a very strong impression that I should not make the drive downtown that night. I struggled with the idea, knowing the importance of this to Tina, but in the end, made the decision that I would not go. Tina was upset, declared she was going by herself, tried to barter with me to go, and then finally resigned to stay home with me. I set out to plan the most romantic evening possible. My parents promised to vacate the basement that I had set up with a small dining set, candles and roses. I prepared a delicious meal did everything that I could to make the night perfect. Nothing I could do, however, could quell the resentment from my girlfriend. I had taken away from her what would have been the greatest party in her life and replaced it with an overdone piece of chicken in a dank basement with a loser boyfriend. We passed the last moments of the last thousand years and the first of the next thousand together in silence. She then said goodnight to me and went to bed in my guest bedroom at approximately 12:01.

It was essentially the end of our relationship and the end of my teenage partying once and for all. It was the death of something that is both exciting to retell and horrifying to relive. Parties now consist of a rousing game of Canasta and carrots dipped in ranch dressing. And this only if the kids happen to be sleeping. But I am a different person and I love these quote-unquote parties. I like to rock that party. Maybe my dreams are reminding me about the terror and trauma that I experienced in my younger years so that I can be more grateful for what I have now. In that case, I am extremely grateful for my loving, if occasionally boring, wife, my priority being placed on my children instead of my style of kissing, and that the pure dread that fills my socially awkward body at every given moment now occurs only in my dreams—my dinosaur laden, graphically nude, Netherlandish dreams.


mh said...

I am mostly just leaving a comment to make you feel better...=)... but my high school nightmares usually involve being late for dance practice with Mrs. Rupp! This is far more frightening to me, than those dreams with out clothes!