Monday, February 20, 2017

Alarmingly Assertive Mormons, Dream Catcher

I’m always game for two things that most people deeply dislike: I’m willing to listen to and interpret your dreams, and I will always talk to religious proselytizers, whether they come to my door or stop me in the street. However, yesterday while innocently walking to my local pool, I happened across a pair of alarmingly assertive Mormons. They wore matching fleece jackets and carried Bibles and of course, the compulsory religious tracts. They were heartbreakingly young and seemed a bit desperate. I made the mistake of telling them (since they asked) that no, I don’t literally believe that Jesus is the son of God, however, I can get behind most of the general principles he espoused. Their eyes lit up with a glassy fervor, and they immediately demanded my phone number, which I declined to provide. Then, one of them jotted down the address of their church, informed me that they were having services at 1:00 p.m., and stated confidently that he would “see me there”. I felt like I was this close to being hog-tied and thrown into the back of windowless van. I escaped unscathed, but burdened with a 30-page pamphlet about the Holy Scriptures.

The reason that I always take time to talk to religious people is because one, I feel bad for them, especially if they are peddling their spiritual wares in my neighborhood, which is notoriously liberal and atheist-leaning. I’m sure they get doors slammed in their faces constantly, which they humbly accept as part of the burden of being a good Christian and sharing the Word of Our Lord. Secondly, it’s no skin off my back. I’m not one those rabid anti-religious atheist types who get enraged by the very idea that someone wants to talk to me about God. If you are that motivated to talk about God with a total stranger, then bring it. Let’s talk about God. It doesn’t hurt me any, and it’s an excuse to connect to another human being with a different viewpoint.  Lord knows, we could all use a little more of that these days. But if these encounters are going to start getting weirdly assailing, I may need to revise my policy.

Speaking of dreams, I was recently browsing my “dream journal”—essentially just a Notepad list where I write down any dreams I happen to remember and/or find interesting or significant. I’ve come to the disappointing conclusion that my unconscious does not cleverly share mysterious wisdom cloaked in highly-structured, symbolic riddles. It’s more like an irrational, babbling toddler with a mental disorder. Here are some choice snippets:

I was at the beach and an angry pigeon with a purple beak stole my debit card.

I was making numerous attempts to fish in nearby lakes and streams, but I was being stymied by a hairy, dog-like creature (kind of a combination of a mole and a dog) who was going into the water ahead of me and scaring off all of the fish.

Donald Trump sent out a caring tweet about me.

Donald Trump had a stroke and my boss at work was the first responder.

A salamander was licking my face, being very affectionate.

An octopus had a message for me, but I can’t remember what it was.

Got foot stuck in a barbed wire fence. The harder I struggled, the tighter it got wrapped in the wire. Spider, goat.

I was taking a class in fashion design and the instructor insisted that all of our drawings needed to be in shades of green. I kept trying to change my fashion plates from peach to green, but they kept going back to the color peach, to my great frustration, as I was on a deadline.

I was looking at apartments in a very swanky building, at least from the outside. Inside, all of the units were absurdly tiny and cramped. The leaser tried to convince me that the pool locker room would be a good place to rent out as an apartment, but said I couldn't be there during peak hours.

There you go--the unconscious of this humble typist stripped bare in all of its lurid glory. Make of it what you will, but, as the Bible says, do not judge lest ye be judged.

--Kristen McHenry

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