My daughter told me last week that she'd learned in school that dreams last only 20 to 40 seconds. She said that didn't seem right to her, but it must be true since "they've done studies and all." I told her that might be true for most dreams, but I'd have to call bullshit on this as a blanket statement. For instance, I had one of those dreams last night where it's so long and involved that you actually wake up for a few minutes and then go back to sleep and pick up where the dream left off, just so you can finish it to see what happens. Now, I know that had to take more than a minute.
We paid off some long-term bills recently and got out of debt (except for the ever-present mortgage) for the first time in a while, so I'll ask you to guess what immediately sprang to my wife's mind. Yep. "Let's either spend some money (translation: 'a fucking fortune') on this old house or move to a newer one (translation: 'one that costs twice as much')!" I guess it's no fun being debt-free. It probably takes the thrill out of living. I won't be in that state long enough to know, because once she gets an idea like this in her head, it's as good as done. Within a week, she's already run through 3 real estate ladies trying to find one that she could deal with, printed up about a thousand spec sheets of local property off of the internet, and read 4 books on tips for buying and selling houses. We'll be out of here before spring.
Which is fine with me, really. We've been here around ten years, and I am tired of some things about the old place. The problem with moving is trying to time the event so that you can sell your house and buy another one without having overlapping obligations. And I think that is what this dream was all about.
My wife and I were on a trip to some exotic location. It was a trip sponsored by my company for those who had turned in a good performance year. It might have been Cancun or any similar place. I was taking a walk by myself in the outdoor shopping areas, and I ran into a girl I had known in high school. Her name was Frances. I have not thought about this girl, consciously, for many, many years. And why would I? We were never close friends. I haven't seen her since high school. I don't have any friends who have even mentioned her name to me in all the years since then. She was not very attractive; just a plain sort of girl from a decent family who was bordering on being overweight. I guess the only thing we had in common was that we took some advanced classes together.
We began talking and discussing how our lives had turned out. She told me that she had been involved in a serious relationship many years ago which had turned out badly, and that she' never married. She could not hide a deep regret about all this, and I felt an overwhelming pity for her. So I suggested a solution: I asked her if she would marry me. This made her very, very happy and it was settled before I had a chance to think it through, properly.
Soon the word of the upcoming wedding was spread around to the other folks with my company, and the President and CEO (who is a pretty good friend of mine) began arranging all sorts of lavish celebrations. Bands were hired, entertainers were auditioned, formal wear was being bought right and left, and the exact place and time for the ceremony was decided upon.
In our hotel room, my wife seemed quite consensual about the whole idea. She even seemed quite happy for the lonely girl, Frances, who was now going to have her husband, after all these years. Any discussion of the matter centered on the proceedings alone, as in the brand of champagne to be served.
As the time for the ceremony got nearer, I began to feel more and more edgy about the whole thing. I went down to visit a friend in a room on the main floor of the hotel. I could see the plans being made as I walked through the lobby: Special draperies were being hung as large platforms were being decorated and everyone was all atwitter with excitement. But something was nagging me like a shadow of a thought which I couldn't put form to. There was something very wrong with this whole idea, but what was it? It seemed to be making everyone happy for the time being, so what could be amiss?
My friend’s room was a suite, and it was quite dimly lit, as he had the shades all drawn shut and no lights on. He was in the adjoining room speaking on the phone to someone. I sat in the outer room and watched TV for a little bit, and then I walked into the adjoining room to see if he was finished with his phone call. He was smoking a cigarette and had his feet up on a desk, like a detective from a film noir clip. I said, "Something is wrong with this idea, but I don't know exactly what. Frances is going to be so happy now, and that's all I wanted."
He flicked his cigarette against the wall and a little starburst of ash exploded. "You're a fucking idiot," he said.
That's when it dawned on me. After we were married, I was going to have to either move in with Frances or move Frances in with me and my wife. And what about bigamy? And, even if I got away with it legally, how long before the jealously would set in? He was right. I was a fucking idiot. And now I was going to have to break this girl's heart and piss off everyone in my company, including my friend, the President and CEO, who had spent a fortune in the past couple of days.
I left my friend's room and made my way through the lobby, wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks. Everyone else was all dolled up in their finery, and they were all yelling at me, "You've only got an hour to get ready! Hurry up! You don't want to be late for your own wedding!!"
I was getting on the elevator to go make those painful phone calls.
Try to make things better for someone sometimes you just
End up making it a thousand times worse.