Sunday, February 3, 2013

Driving from the Back Seat

I'm in the back seat of my father's station wagon, drowsy and comfortable, after some family outing that has made for a full, exhausting day.  Like my brother, I'm lying on the floor back there.  This is in the days before the invention of the child car seat, when seat belts went across your lap only and were considered more or less an optional nuisance.

I drift off, lulled by the repetitive thunking of the uneven asphalt beneath me.  My thoughts melt into each other and make less and less sense, like sentences tumbling off a page, letter by letter, splashing into an unseen pool of water somewhere far below.

Suddenly, I'm sitting upright in the back seat, alone.  I look around for my brother, who is no longer back there with me.  The tires on the asphalt still pound out a steady rhythm, as I look to the front seat and see that my parents, too, are gone.  I reach over the seat, barely able to get the tips of my fingers on the steering wheel.  It's too dark to see what's going on with the pedals, and I can't understand how it is that I'm still moving forward in the night.  But I am.

Thunk, thunk, thunk.

Minimally, I maintain control of the car, and my sense of the road is vague, at best.  Some rumbling suggests I may be veering off to the left.  I know I should pull the steering wheel hard right, but something happens, and I am frozen.  Immediate action is required, but I am paralyzed.

If this dream has any resolution, any finish, I don't know what it is.  I believe it ends in that moment of fear and realization that I can't move.  Usually, when people talk about their recurring dreams, like the one about the math assignment that's due, I forget I have a recurring dream at all.  This one comes up irregularly, from time to time, and feels the same each time.  According to a website called, there is a simple explanation to my dream.

This particular expert tells "Restless Erica," the reader who shares my dream, the following:

Your dream describes an issue in your life circumstances. It suggests you are not in control of your life, that you have "taken a back seat" and allowed the control to be in someone else's hand. Your attempts to gain control or direct your life may feel scary and cause you to "stay in the back seat and duck". Your lack of destination may be causing you to struggle to regain control. 

Well, duh.

I suppose there might be some truth to this, even if it does feel a bit "clap-trap."  Maybe it is time to come up with a new, original plan of action for my family that is uniquely mine.  Texas was my wife's idea, but I've embraced it.  I went to Spain and loved it...because my girlfriend suggested it.  Syracuse University was a great experience, one my father had before me.  A case could certainly be made that I'm a bit of a Restless Erica myself.

I'll give that one some thought, as life continues to move forward on the uneven asphalt of time.  Truth be told, I'm not that concerned about it, and am quite content to lie down, my ear to the floorboards.

Thunk, thunk, thunk.

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