This morning I had a serious anxiety dream right before waking up, so I’m going to write it out in the hope of making sense of it and then I’m going to post it because why not?
I worked in some kind of natural history or science museum, but not in any professional capacity. I was a retail clerk or a stock girl. I think my duties varied. My immediate supervisor was an older man who resembles nobody I know personally, but he might have been an amalgamation of many Republican politicians: a gentleman in his sixties, with a brown suit and patriarchal ideas.
He wasn’t impressed with my work. I kept trying to tell him that I wasn’t doing well because I wasn’t being given tasks that I was skilled at, but he laughed and thought I had delusions of grandeur. After all, I didn’t have a science degree. There was no possible way I was capable of anything more.
Our funding was going to get cut and I was pretty sure I would be fired. Also, I had a trip to Europe planned, and my supervisor was convinced that I was going there to stay. I kept overhearing him tell people about it and I knew I had to correct him, because there was no chance I could keep my job if they thought I was moving to Europe. But I couldn’t seem to get anyone to listen to me. When I spoke to them they would smile and walk away.
Within the museum, which was vast, people traveled by putting themselves into little padded chambers like space coffins and shot themselves through pneumatic tubes. When my dad arrived in one of these tubes I was relieved at first, because I thought he was going to help me. But he got talking to the other scientists and nothing really changed.
My mom arrived too and we decided to bond by going to some do-it-yourself cosmetic laboratory. The idea was that you would go around to different stations and tell them what you wanted in your concoction. But I was shocked when I saw that the lab was full of really toxic chemicals. I started to get worried about how casual she was being with the substances — leaning in close to sniff them, touching them, even tasting them.
Then I realized there were cats in the lab and I was really appalled, even though I was happy to see the cats. One of them twined around my ankles and this caused me to lose my balance and inhale a really huge amount of one of the chemicals, some crystals that were intense cyan or cerulean blue. I felt them going down the back of my throat. They felt gritty and tasted harsh and bitter and alkaline. These sensations were very real.
I spit out all the crystals that I could, but the back of my throat still tasted terrible and I was sick to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and saw that my face was white and swollen, very tightly stretched and shiny. I was barely recognizable. I thought I looked like I had the mumps. There was a blue stain at the corner of my mouth. I was afraid I was going to die.
This is the color of death.
I ran to try to get help from my dad. I found him in a casino, I thought at first. But it turned out that the person who responded when I called out for “McGalliard” was my grandmother. I was glad she was doing better, but I had to go find my father. He was in a different casino. He said he could help me and I was so relieved.
I followed him to what I thought would be a lab with the ingredients that could cure me, but it took forever — all the ingredients were scattered in different buildings in the compound. We went first one place, then another, and I didn’t feel any better. Then we had to go someplace all the way at the other end of the compound and we got on the company bus. It was being driven by Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
At first I was happy to see him, but then I realized that he was dressed up for Rocky Horror and giving lessons in striptease and pole dancing, which would have been fine except that he didn’t seem like he was concentrating on driving the bus. In fact, at one point he JUMPED OFF THE BUS.
It careened out of control, and came within inches of hitting several cement pillars, then came to a stop. He got back on the bus and explained that he had done that on purpose as some bit of stunt driving, and everyone was laughing and applauding and I was thinking, but what about my cure?
If only I had worn a face mask, I thought. Why didn’t I wear a face mask?
Then I woke up.
The lesson is clear: always wear a face mask when working with dangerous chemicals.