Big Wrench, Bad Dream

Angst dreams. Suddenly you’re in a classroom, about to take an exam you haven’t studied for and worse, you look down to realize you’re naked. Jaybird naked.“

How did I get here without clothing?” you think, shrinking into the cold plastic chair and wondering how to escape the room without anyone noticing.

I’ve had those panicky dreams. When younger, my angst dreams often involved the struggle to pull clothing from my closet, outfits that 1) matched and 2) were season appropriate.

Someone always waited for me in an idling car. When a horn honked, I’d wildly sort through tops and bottoms, perplexed that I chose a string bikini to complement my Sorel winter boots.

Honk honk.

I’d finally awaken, usually in an overly warm bedroom with my duvet kicked to the floor. That horn honking? My beeping alarm clock.

When awake, I’m organized and seldom keep anyone waiting. To ensure punctuality, I’ll choose tonight what I’ll wear for my meeting tomorrow. There’s no last-minute searching and no sweat is broken in the making of this wardrobe.

According to Freud, dreams are wish fulfillments and the result of repressed or frustrated sexual desires. A string bikini and winter boots? I’m in trouble.

I don’t have as many of those wardrobe-challenged nightmares. Today my dreams feature a scavenger hunt for lost items. I’m forever digging under couch cushions for keys or sugar tongs. (I’ve never owned sugar tongs.)

In one dream I helped a man look for his prosthetic leg. The man already had two legs, so I felt this search for a third was overkill. But who was I to judge so I lifted toss pillows and swept my hand under magazines.

For this current dream neurosis, I blame my husband because he’s a perpetual mis-placer. No matter how large or small our environment is, his belongings will disappear. He’ll announce that he’s misplaced a wrench.

“Do you need a wrench right now?” I’ll ask.

“No, but I haven’t seen it for a while.” The next sound is him rooting through toolboxes. Silence. “That’s funny, I still can’t find it.”

“Yeah, that’s hilarious,” I answer. To be supportive, I grill him, 20 questions-style: “Is the wrench something you’d use on a Humvee or a home repair? Have you seen it in the last six months or six hours?”

When I run out of questions, I’ll help with his search. Not because I’m an enabler (watch any episode of Dr. Phil) but because I’m a good searcher. I can check a drawer he’s already pillaged and find that missing nose hair trimmer or set of souvenir dice.

But if nothing turns up, I say, “Forget about it, you’ve got other wrenches.” I said the same thing to that man looking for his third leg in my dream.

This week the search involved two items: an orange tee-shirt and a thermos. Neither materialized, despite 20 questions and repeated searches.

So many cold cases are stacked on file that I’m worried we have pesky poltergeists, or possibly a Bermuda Triangle that sucks up belongings like a cosmic vacuum cleaner. Is there a parallel universe where all those missing bits and bobs and wrenches orbit?

So many questions, so little patience.

Now, where did I leave Dr. Phil’s emergency number. He might be my last hope.

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