Wednesday, 10 December 2014

You aftoo clean your theets

I am waiting for something in order to get on with some work, so I will use the time (semi) productively here. I don't have much to say, I'm in deep hibernation and brain activity is limited to the odd flicker around good telly, chocolate biscuits and working out where I could house a Dartmoor pony (can you house an at-risk Dartmoor pony?).

1. I have just finished reading Proust's Letters to his Neighbour (a "Madame Williams"), which were discovered fairly recently and have been published as a slim volume I thought might be tangentially relevant to my Paris book. Oh my god. Proust is the crown prince of the pass-agg letter, they are full of flowery, circuitous whining about the noise (Mme Williams played the harp and had builders in) and complaints about his health. I mean, god knows why this is surprising to me. Occasionally he will sugar the pill with a brace of pheasants or a bunch of flowers of a copy of one of his books (mmm, thanks), but the overwhelming tone is of thinly veiled rage and smouldering martyrdom.

2. My eye (lid) infection is SO BAD. I should probably go to the doctor, but instead I sent a picture of it to B, who replied:

"To be fair, that's not a bad colour.  a lovely shade of salmon eyeshadow, swollen lids are VERY winter 2015.  Gwyneth Paltrow has hired a Tibetan monk raised on a diet composed exclusively of organic yaks' milk and flaxseed to head-butt her in the face each morning. You're simply ahead of the curve."

This made me laugh, which was painful as the lumpy bit of the swollen eye bashes against my brow bone. I am broken. "DON'T YOU WINK THAT THING AT ME YOUNG (ISH) LADY" admonished B.

I had to go to a law meeting last night and spent the whole time self-consciously trying to cover the Eye of Suppuration with my fringe, I believe entirely unsuccessfully.

3. My eldest child is never at school at the moment, due to study leave (WTF, he's 12), exams and marking. Thank god he is the child who is largely able to amuse himself, but it has meant an awful lot of emoji-heavy email (I rue the day he discovered emoji), excessive Top Gear, biscuit-heavy snack plates and a dreary quantity of revision. Jesus, they've only been at school five minutes, they've barely learnt anything, is this really necessary? Things I have learned as a result of my brief episodes of helicopter revision (a process I can only sustain for ten minutes before boredom sets in): a big section of the population of the Marolles (the popular heart of Brussels, now mainly home to antique/junk shops and limitless hipster tourists) was moved to Uccle when they built the Palais de Justice. A selection of Dutch nouns of limited usefulness, like "dental brace". Absolutely no Latin (too hard, I did a year of Latin at his age, but literally nothing remains) or maths. He is lovely company thankfully, and continues to amuse me with his Molesworth spelled text messages.

This from my Monday visit to the dentist:

(The dentist could not find anything wrong despite my tooth pain. This cost me €45, but was pleasing overall) 

And this during recent cold spell:

4. Loads of people I know have recently had or are having babies and even though the babies are delightful and the adults more than equal to the task, it is giving me the most chronic anxiety dreams during which I have another baby. These dreams fill me with absolute horror. Often during them I mislay or drop or forget the babies, which seems totally plausible. More enduringly, I am filled with utter dread (in the dream) at the prospect of sustained sleep deprivation and total responsibility and my complete inability to cope with either. Waking up from last night's dream of twins (TWINS, holy lord) was the sweetest relief imaginable. People with real non-dream babies, I salute you, but my sub-conscious has NO regrets. Oh, I am also reading Sarah Moss's Night Waking which is incredibly vivid and funny and awful on those bone-achingly grim parts of early motherhood, which compounds this.

5. I'm just reaching the traditional Christmas tipping point where childlike excitement shades into utter dread at outstanding shit to be done/absence of time/absence of ideas/absence of money. I am medicating this condition with regular applications of mulled wine, Nurofen and a basilisk style approach to my invoicing, something which only happens at 'quarterly social security bill' crunch time and Christmas, which OH YAY, come together in December.

What of you? How do you deal with the queasy panic and what are your very worst anxiety dreams about?

Oh yes, percentages:

68% disgusting eye (considerably lower than yesterday);
10% weary of child chivvying, curricular and extra-curricular;
10% gratitude for healing works of gin;
10% pastry;
2% large-car-parking related fear for tomorrow.


CJ said...

Tipping point reached here as well. I have no idea how to deal with it except to flap around in a panic. Other half needs to see the dentist as a matter of urgency, goodness knows how much it will cost. Ditto the optician. My anxiety dreams still often revolve around exams, and sometimes around jobs. Both fill me with terror.

JJ said...

Rather unoriginal but the latest was running away through the woods from something (?) someone (?) who was getting closer and closer and then just about to kill me. Sometimes I'm not sure why I like sleeping so much.

Queasy anxiety? Work things. 1 part uncontrollable technical issues, 1 part not enough time to finish a project that has still not even been specced out much less started.

jonathan said...

The queasy panic hasn't quite set in yet but it is due, just the fact of having to buy my boss a secret santa present has me very near the edge and I'm presently in firm denial about everything else (although admittedly Charlotte takes care of much of the everything else, so I've got little justification for queasy panic, really).

Anxious dreams? Absolutely, but can never remember afterwards what they were about (until quite recently they used to be about being back in A level exam room and running out of time to do the questions, but that seems to have ebbed away now, which well it might do, after 30 years, God they must have been properly scary..).

Anonymous said...

Hi, a new-ish reader and first-time commenter here. Just had to drop a note to say that I'm glad (...kind of? is that a very unempathetic thing to say?) to have found someone else whose anxiety dreams involve surprise babies. I don't even have kids, only the nightmare offspring that I suddenly discover I've been neglecting. Works with pets long gone as well. "Oh my god, I haven't fed it for years!"

Betty M said...

My anxiety dreams tend to involve lost luggage and mysteriously dangerous upper floors of buildings.

Otherwise I am 0% holiday preparedness, 90% school play makeup madness, 10% vague worrying about the 0% preparedness. Oh and 0% caring about the job I have abandoned for a fortnight

JB_Kiwi said...

I loved Night Waking, but it gave me terrible anxiety dreams too (death, babies, academic failure, argh). Her new one Bodies of Light is also v good (and much less inclined towards giving you nightmares)

Sophie Sofasaurus said...

I have combined two common anxiety nightmares into one: I dreamed that I was naked on a bus travelling to an exam for which I had forgotten to do any revision.

I am a statistician and I feel queasy panic when I think that an analysis I have done that has been published has a mistake in it. So far, it has been all false alarms, but that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach is horrible.

cruella said...

Nightmares: Running around late for things, never quite reaching destination - train station, work, appointments. Occasionally my teeth fall out. Shall have to have them seen to by evil crab.

I luuuuuurve babies, the younger the better. Easy for me to say since all three of them (born within 4,5 years) ate themselves to a stupor and slept soundly throughout the night at least until the age of eight months. Then they played up a bit, but the initial fray was gone by then so...

Now they are 17, 19 and 21 and keep me up at night for other reasons.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have anxiety dreams about having more babies.

Until I was well in my 20s I would have a terrifying dream of Telly Savalas endlessly pursuing me around my childhood home. No matter where I hid, Telly would find me. I don't know what he did to my childhood psyche to have such a deep and abiding effect.

Kimberly said...

I have two anxiety dreams:

The first is that my teeth fall out and the dentist can't see me for weeks.

The second is that I need to get somewhere but my body is so heavy and moves so slowly that I have to drag myself along the floor.

I have zero cookies/biscuits baked so far. Would anyone notice if I skipped it this year. (The answer is yes, everyone would)

Anonymous said...

A few nights ago I dreamt that my eldest daughter was tiny, like the size of a banana, so I put her in my purse because I was really busy and just needed to get her out of the way for a bit and then when I got home she wasn't in my bag and I had no I idea where I'd left her.

I sell stuff from about the house on eBay in December, pretending that it will cover the cost of Christmas gifts. Ha!

Waffle said...

Oh yes, the teeth falling out dream. I get that fairly regularly too. And I used to constantly dream about having killed someone and failed to adequately hide the body. The human brain is WEIRD.

bbonthebrink said...

I've been having a series of dreams lately about chicken. Flushing raw chicken thighs down the toilet was one. But the best was an elderly waitress in a brasserie that I went to, frying up some delicious herby chicken breasts. Once they were cooked, she whipped them up, popped one under each armpit and smiled beatifically (!!!). Freud eat your heart out. I don't even want to think about what this might mean.
BTW I've had a sore cheek lately, after thinking it was a tooth problem I now suspect I have sinusitis. Could this be your ailment too?

Anonymous said...

Anxiety dreams: either that I have a maths exam and have forgotten to do any revision, or (you are going to love this one, and I feel very stupid, but brave to reveal it) that I have forgotten to open the windows on my advent calendars and suddenly panic trying to find the right order... (It's true, I really have dreamed this more than once). Tilia

frau antje said...

100% Bartering with my spine, as Proust apparently did for silence. It doesn't work, spine uses neither money nor reason. I gave up, and we watched a documentary. "Look at Richard III's spine. Look at it. Does that spine give up, and become progressively useless? No. That spine goes into battle. Just saying."

Waffle said...

Frau A - But .. then the spine ends up with a pike up the arse. I'm sticking with defeatism.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if my twins have added to your anxiety dreams, though the book would do it on its own TBH. I don't have any anxiety dreams at the moment as sleep is a distant memory because, of course, of the new twins. Oh god

Patience_Crabstick said...

My anxiety dreams involve running away from something, only my legs suddenly weigh 1,000 pounds and I can barely move.
I'm not surprised to hear that Proust was a whiner.

ellen kirkendall said...

My holiday panics apparently left home with my children. I put everything on a spreadsheet and start picking away at it in July. Very offensive.

House dreams are my anxiety dreams of choice. Surprising rooms, dank basements, furniture I did not choose. I think these are body integrity dreams. Is something surprising brewing in my organs that I need to know about?

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