Ordinary World

From the private collection of me.
Note that John Taylor is a total fox.

It was the spring of 1984. I was 12, the clothes were Esprit, the hair was bi-leveled, and the night was sultry. (Or maybe it wasn’t. I was in the basement watching Suburban Cablevision for most of it, so I can’t say for sure.) John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and the rest of Duran Duran were the reigning MTV Friday Night Video Champions. It was during this reign that my middle school bestie Rachana and I became obsessed with the band Tiger Beat and BOP used to call “The Fab 5.” Ours was to be  an unrequited love story that would span three pathetic decades and media from vinyl to cassettes and CDs to iPhones. Chuckle away. But you will never convince me that “Rio” isn’t one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

A few years in, Duran Duran paid a visit to Z-100 and listeners were invited to call in with questions. What this really meant, if you were lucky enough to get through, was that for a few seconds, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon would know you existed.  So I redialed and redialed and redialed and got only a busy signal. I was devastated. Trying to console me, Lew said, “You never know. One day, you could just be walking down the street in New York and bump right into them…” And it is those words — that tiny possibility  — that still gets me through my darkest days.  I don’t know why, but I never got over this obsession. They are my first loves. They taught me nothing I know about eyeliner. And when you have loved something as long as I’ve loved them, even without a shred of personal contact, they kind of become part of your psyche.

Cut to 2012. Rachana and I are 40. The clothes are J. Brand, the hair is flat-ironed, and the night might or might not be sultry. But it doesn’t matter, because John Taylor is signing copies of his new memoir in the city on October 16th.  Dressed in our finest skinny jeans, uber-stylie fall tops and shiny new booties, Rachana and I planned to hit the bookstore, experience the nirvana that is John Taylor, capture the whole thing on our iPhones, then enjoy a delightful ladies’ lunch as we analyzed our interactions

For some reason, I pictured this going down at the famed Fifth Avenue bookstore Rizzoli. Rizzoli hasn’t actually been on Fifth Avenue since 1985, and the book signing is really taking place at a non-descript Barnes and Noble in a midly depressing part of town. Tuesday is also supposed to be way too warm for booties. I might have to meet John Taylor in … GASP … ballet flats. Since my other long-running friend, Nicole, lives in Germany, she’s obviously not coming. That feels wrong. Then came the big blow. The signing starts at 12:30. The store is opening at the inhuman hour of 7 am to accommodate the massive line of screaming ninnies expected to show up. Most likely, I was told, those who arrive much later than 7 will never make it to the front of the line. This seemed like the gods of childhood dreams playing a cruel trick on me. Really?! I had to choose between sleep – my most beloved body function – and JOHN TAYLOR? REALLY?! Thankfully, this disaster was averted when Nicole’s sister Rebecca suggested I pay someone to hold our spots in line. I hadn’t known this was a thing, but apparently opera fans do it all the time for tickets. Brilliant!

Yet with so many of the details unraveling, I started to question the whole thing. Assuming we even make it to the front of the line, it will take him two seconds to sign his name. Photos might not even be allowed, and if they are, I’m entirely confident I’ll look grotesque and cross-eyed in mine. There is no possible combination of words we could conjure to leave any kind of impression in that situation. He probably won’t even look up.

But what really concerns me is the end of the fantasy. What if he’s a total douche bag? What if he looks like a sad, washed up Happy Ending Sundae Story? I don’t want to meet that version of him. I want to meet him in 1984. I am so used to looking forward to this – how will I feel when I have to look back instead? When the thing I’ve waited for all these years has happened, will I be happy about it? Is it better to have the hope than the memory? Is this a really bad idea?

Maybe. But fuck it. We’re meeting John Taylor on Tuesday!!!

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Ordinary World

Dream Wedding

This is NOT my sister's peeper, but you get the idea.

It was bound to happen sooner or later – and I’m actually shocked it took this long. But last night – with less than two months to go – I finally had my first wedding anxiety dream.

As my loyal readers know, anxiety dreams in general are no stranger to my sleep life. They strike at least once a week in one of two genres: Bathroom or School. For details, please see Dream On (March 2010).  Last night’s dream better not have been the pilot episode of a third genre, as it was the kind that cast its “scurry” (translation: scary) aura in such a way that I could feel the creepiness lurking in the air all day. 

The wedding was scheduled to start in half an hour. We had missed the photo shoot but would still have to pay for it, I still didn’t have any make-up on, and my hair was flat on one side and in frizzed out Jewfro mode on the other. The make-up person was, however, hard at work painting the face of my sister, the maid of honor. And the palette she was using featured lime green eye shadow, with frosty bubble gum pink lipstick.  Jan told me  not to complain and to leave my sister alone.

 Frick on a drag queen’ed stick.

Desperate to get things back on schedule, Dream Me tried to call the event manager, but she was nowhere to be found. The resort’s main number took me in circles and/or disconnected me, and her cell phone went straight to voicemail.

Dream Me left a message along these lines, in a super-nice voice: “Hi, I am SO sorry to bother you … hope all is well. Just trying to get in touch because we’re getting married in half an hour …”

Restlessly, I walked around a bit more in my (wrinkled and stained) white sundress. There were 100 uninvited guests (we’re expecting about 20) perusing an array of hors d’oeuvres that did NOT include pigs ‘n’ blankets (the worst part of the dream).  No one we had actually invited was there, but the guests included people Jan hates; people I used to work with eight jobs ago in 1996; a distant friend wearing a fedora and giant aviator sunglasses with an oversized blazer; and a morph of Don Draper and a frat boy from college named Ira.  

I had forgotten to pack the decorative glass that Keith would break at the end of the ceremony in Jewish fashion, so that was out. It did not occur to Dream Me that it could have been substituted with ANY glass. My future BIL (I’m not naming names) lost the wedding rings he was in charge of holding.

I had also forgotten to secure something “borrowed” or “blue,” and so the hotel spa asked if I wanted to wear the disposable blue paper unmentionables usually reserved for those undergoing bikini waxes and fake baking. I did not. Even though Dream Me attempted to self-soothe and pretend it was not a big deal, this made her/me very anxious.

Shocker.

Amid all this, Dream Me had to pee like a racehorse. But, as is always the case in my dreams, there was no viable relief option. Every facility within the five-star resort was filthy, had no doors and/or was occupied by mean high school girls. You’d think with the money we’re spending, said resort would cough up a decent crappair, but no. So Dream Me went with the least of all evils, a toilette that was clean but stood about six feet high and required a stepladder to access. Let’s just say that did not go well.

Sigh.

So now, the morning after this “dream wedding,” I am feeling a bit torn.  I very much hope the dream was not a psychic vision of any kind.  The impact of a wedding devoid of a usable bathroom and a tray of pigs ‘n’ blankets could be devastating. But in a way, I’m feeling a little relieved that my null-worry period seems to have come to an end.

I know, you’d think I would have been thrilled to be so carefree.  But in the immortal words of the French political thinker Alexis de Toqueville (shout out to my friend Lisa, whose life and thesis were briefly ruined by said French political thinker)  improving conditions lead to unrest.  And so I worried that I wasn’t worried. I worried I was forgetting to worry about something, but I didn’t know what. And then I had to worry about not knowing what to worry about. And then I worried about things that weren’t even remotely issues, because I was desperate to worry. It was worrisome indeed.  As is this post, no?

Dream Wedding

Dream On

It’s hard to believe given that I now have the attention span of a three-year-old, if that, but I used to read legitimate books.  Before L.O.A.D.D. (Late Onset Attention Deficit Disorder) felled me, I actually made it through several of Freud’s definitive works. And I have since been fascinated by dreams.

I believe that the way a person conveys his or her dreams to others reveals a great deal about his or her personality. Some people don’t remember them at all (repressed and possibly homicidal), some people find their own dreams totes embarrassing or too disturbing to admit (self-loathing and possibly homicidal), and some people obviously embellish them for dramatic purposes (narcissistic and possibly homicidal).

One can also extract much comedic material from dreams, once the initial horror/creepiness/confusion has passed. When my friend Loren was pregnant with her daughter, she dreamed the baby was born fully healthy but small enough to fit in her pocket, and thus, could be transported all over the city with grace and aplomb. A “stash-n-go” baby, if you will.

My friend B told me that in 6th grade, she dreamed she had a fight with another girl. The fight was so real that B couldn’t bring herself speak to her opponent for a week (they’re Facebook friends now, thank God).

In college, my sister called me to report a dream so unsettling she could hardly admit to having it.  But the burden was too big for her to shoulder alone, so she confided in me and one of her roommates.

Jamie: “I had a dream that I hooked up with a dog.”

Me: “So you dreamed about an ugly guy, what’s the big deal?”

Jamie: “No. I mean … [insert whisper] an ACTUAL DOG.”

Me, after a looooong pause: “Uh … yeah. That’s odd.  I’m not gonna lie.”

Now, I had the decency to wait a solid 15+ years to blab the contents of that dream here, but her roommate lasted a mere 15 seconds. My sister went downstairs to the living room a few hours later and found a group of Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers watching some 70s game show re-run with her friends.

“I love this show!” she said, as young Dave/Jeff/Josh/Mike/Andy/Jason turned to face her royal deviance head-on.

“Hey Jamie … the password is … CANINE.”

Eek. Guess the Snausage was out of the bag …

I myself am no stranger to freakish dreams, and often remember my nocturnal visions. But until I was in my late 20s, I never once had a famed recurring dream.

At first they were all about my contact lenses, for some reason. I would be struggling to insert ginormous, pizza-sized lenses. Each failed effort meant another smack on the forehead with the oversized contact. Sometimes, Kiki (my roommate, close friend and contact wear-age consultant) would have to roll them across the apartment into the bathroom for me.  Sometimes, I’d think they were safely in place and that I could see well enough to drive. Then, while speeding along the Garden State Parkway, I’d realize I was actually legally blind.

Soon, the contacts were out of the picture, but the driving-while-blind theme took center pillow.  At least once a week I’m still treated to a private screening of a movie about driving while I can’t see, being completely lost in a place that should be completely familiar (Scotch Plains, Philadelphia, the Upper West Side), or driving and being unable to control the car.

Then came the government-issued dream about the test that will decide my high school or college fate, in a class I didn’t realize I was taking and thus, did not attend all semester. Or the one in which I am about to get on a plane for a very long trip (usually to Tokyo or Shanghai), totally unprepared. I have no suitcase, no carry-on, and no emergency Hershey bar. I also have a middle seat in Coach. Freud and most Google search results agree that these are garden variety anxiety dreams, and that I feel unprepared, judged, regretful and totally lacking in confidence. Shocker!

But for the past year or two, I’ve been plagued by another one whose roots I really don’t understand.  The background scenarios vary, but have two things in common. I am usually ill-at-ease wherever I am, and I always end up desperately needing to visit the toilette. Unfortunately for Dream Me, there is a major problem with every facility I find.  These major problems include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken door, door with no lock, or no door at all
  • Above, plus presence of mean girls from high school in immediate vicinity
  • Revoltingly filthy stall and/or bathroom
  • Revoltingly overflowed toilet and/or sink
  • Revoltingly flooded stall and/or bathroom 
  • Toilet that is too high for someone of my smurf-sized stature to reach
  • Toilet that is covered with delightful “souvenirs” left by the previous user
  • Toilet that is blocked by seemingly rabid wild dogs (my personal favorite)

No one is really sure what this particular brand of dream means.  If anyone would like to offer a psychoanalytic opinion, I welcome the input. My own theory is this: I am weird.

Dream On