It happened again early this morning… I woke up in a panic, my mouth dry and my heart beating wildly. An unwelcome feeling of desperation almost ruined the start of my day, until I realized, thankfully, that it was just a dream.
The Airport Dream.
I imagine this dream afflicts all international travelers at some point or another. The airport in my dream is always the same one, although it’s not a real airport where we have actually been. My dad is always in the dream, either recklessly driving us there last minute, or cheering us on as we run down the concourse with our suitcases. We’re usually in such a rush that we don’t have time for one of those prolonged airport-goodbyes; we’re just thankful to make it to the gate before they close the door. (I’m sure this is my subconscious trying to figure out a way to do away with the heart-tugging goodbyes.)
The Airport Dream seems to take on many different manifestations, usually, at least in my case, depending on the current situation in our lives.
For instance, sometimes in the dream our entire family arrives at the airport without any of our passports. This iteration of the dream frequently happens when I’m in the process of scheduling passport renewal appointments for our grand total of 8 U.S. and Peruvian passports.
Every now and then I dream that one of us (I won’t say who) arrives at the airport with nothing on at all. This dream is based on a true story about a very respected older person who, unbeknownst to everyone around, had slowly been losing grip on reality and actually did this. That acquaintance, however, at least put on an overcoat before the eventful trip to the airport. I’m never quite that lucky in my dream!
Once I dreamed that we made it all the way through the airport and the flight to another continent, only to find out that one of my boys had packed absolutely no underwear in his suitcase. … Oh, wait, that story is actually true. I still haven’t quite figured out what happened, because the entire 2 weeks before we left home, he was already complaining of having no underwear. To this day, I don’t know how all those underwear just disappeared.
In my early morning dream today, we arrived at the desk to check our luggage, only for me to discover that Ade and the boys had not actually packed their bags… they had just unloaded their dresser drawers into a bunch of boxes, assuming that we could pack it all into the suitcases at the last minute in the airport ticketing line. And they had brought WAY more stuff that would actually fit in our baggage allotment.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, once our luggage had finally been stuffed and checked, Ade unloaded onto the counter 20 Swiss Army knives, open to display every shining blade. He was planning to cram them into his carry-on, and if you’ve traveled at all, you know the problem with this scenario.
My dad was in this dream, too, standing to the side and watching everything in amazement, shaking his head like he used to do when one of his daughters had just committed some rather foolish act. I don’t know if Dad stepped in to save the day, or if he went home and had a good laugh about this with Mom, because I thankfully woke up before things could get any worse.
So after I woke up and my heart stopped racing, I spent a bit of time analyzing this version of The Airport Dream. What did it mean? I don’t have any passports to renew and we aren’t going on any trips soon; our suitcases are nested inside each other and packed away in the basement. (I hope to keep it that way for a while.) Ade really isn’t interested in Swiss Army knives, so I don’t know why all 20 of those fancy, gift-boxed knives made it into my dream. And I haven’t had any awkward phone calls with my dad recently, which would make me feel like a kid again… although I was thinking about how he used to pat me on the head and say, “Rach, I really like you.” (Where did that memory come from?)
In the course of my Airport Dream analysis, the word “ineptitude” popped into my mind. It’s a pretty good descriptive word that my boys unfortunately learned from me the other day, as I was using my version of “colorful language” to express my feelings about another 5 or 6 trips to the office where I’m trying to get my drivers’ licence renewed. I’m ashamed to say that I managed to use this fine English word in adjective form (inept), adverb form (ineptly), and noun form (ineptness, ineptitude). I do want the kids to learn good and proper English, but really, there’s nothing better in using a “fine” word to say something rude than in just going ahead and using the mean word!
So I wondered if maybe The Airport Dream was a gentle reminder of the fact that we all (and not just BMV employees) struggle with ineptness from time to time. Everyone knows that dreams are often exaggerations of things that happen in real life, so while we’ve never actually arrived at the airport without our passports, I’ve had to come back to the house on several occasions recently to pick up something I needed for an appointment that I had forgotten to grab on my way out. And thankfully no one in our family has ever gone to the airport, or anywhere else for that matter, without any clothes on, but we frequently forget to take a jacket or an umbrella when we go out on warm afternoon… only to be pretty sorry about it a couple of hours later once the cold mountain rain begins! And I’ve had to buy socks and underwear for the boys when we’ve gone away for the weekend, because they didn’t seem to think that was an important thing to pack in their suitcases.
So there’s actually quite a bit of ineptitude that happens on a regular basis around here.
But in the end, I think that The Airport Dream is probably just something that will plague me, and most other international travelers, from time to time. Even my kids, from their early days of building with Legos, seemed to fixate on airports….I just hope that they manage to keep the airport experience as a good thing in their minds!