Slow the Fuck Down and Be Happy (A Dream About Pies)

I had a dream last night that I was back at my old high school. These dreams usually revolve around it being the end of my senior year and me suddenly realizing I’ve completely forgotten to attend one of my classes, will inevitably fail, and my future will be ruined. (I have this dream approximately 2-3 times a month, which I’m sure speaks to something, but that’s another post.)

But last night’s dream was a completely different variety of high school dream. It was about pies.


The Magic Pie Cart Turns Nightmarish

For some reason, I was at my old school at night, hanging out on the front steps with groups of other students. (Apparently the front steps at night was the place to be. Who knew.)

Then it happened.

Someone came walking down the steps carrying the most delicious-looking miniature glazed pie thing any of us had ever seen. And before I could ask where he’d gotten it, there they were, bursting out of the school’s double doors: an entire miniature-glazed-pie-thing stand emerged and set up shop right at the top of the stairs. Someone came around passing out samples, and the instant I took a bite of mine, I knew: I needed to rush to the top of those stairs as quickly as possible to get in line for more.

So, blissfully munching my sample (which had somehow become a bit larger than I remembered it being when I got it—score!), I made my way through the line until I was at the counter. I thought I’d grabbed another mini-pie from the display case as I waited, but I realized I hadn’t—I’d been too busy still trying to finish my sample, which was not getting any smaller no matter how much I kept wolfing down. (Did I really need to come up here for a second mini-pie? What had I been thinking? I was never going to finish this one!)

But, it was too late now. So I sheepishly excused my way back through the line to the display case, grabbed the pie I thought I’d already grabbed, and also ordered a lemonade. Because clearly mini-pie stands serve lemonade, and I was gonna need something to wash down all this damn pie I now had on my hands.

I paid the cashier, still balancing my sample in one hand, got my change, and then looked at the items waiting on the counter for me:

The pie I’d just paid for. A glass of lemonade that had turned instead into one of those whimsically huge coffeehouse mugs you have to hold in both hands to lift to your mouth (filled to the brim, of course, with scalding-hot coffee). An even bigger pie, with (are you serious?) a slice of pie on top of it as a side. Naturally.

And I already had a fistful of change and that goddamn sample still in my hands.



Ridiculouser & Ridiculouser

I glanced at the long line behind me, waiting for me to move my arse so they could place their orders.

I glanced at the disdainful cashier lady, who clearly was beginning to wonder what was the matter with me. (I was beginning to wonder that myself.)

I glanced down at my hands, and the plethora of unnecessary baked goods in front of me, and I took a deep breath.

No biggie. I could do this. It was all good.

But I couldn’t. No matter how I tried to divide up my haul-I-was-quickly-starting-to-hate so I could carry it all, it was always just too much to handle. One arrangement was too heavy to even pick up. One arrangement I could pick up, but it was obvious the whole thing would topple over in about two seconds if I tried walking with it. I divvied up my stuff about a dozen different ways, but nothing was working.

It was just way too much.

It never once occurred to me to just leave some things behind. I hadn’t even wanted all of this in the first place, so why was I trying to juggle it? To avoid looking stupid in front of a line of strangers? Too late for that. Because I’d already paid for it? I was never going to be able to eat all of it, even I did somehow manage to get it back to my seat, so what did it matter? Because it was a challenge and I refuse to give up on a challenge, even when it becomes clear that it’s become absurd to Seussian proportions? (Ding, ding, ding!)

It was about at this point that I woke up, in the midst of balancing towers of food in both hands in the manner of the Cat in the Hat with all of Mother’s china cups teetering on his gloved hands. And I remember the one thing that was screaming through my thoughts as the dream faded out:



The Moral of This Odd Little Story

I’ve had dreams like this before. But, as I so wisely put it in the afore-linked post:

“I can never do everything.” Yes, Cordelia, that’s pretty Captain Obvious to say. But it’s a lesson I always manage to forget until I find myself burnt out trying to achieve it.

Apparently, that point has been reached again. I have forgotten the ridiculously obvious limits of human capacity to the point of burnout.

Only this time, instead of tons of random elements that make no sense overburdening me, it was too much of an awesome thing (i.e., pie.) Pie is great, right? Lots of pie is even greater, clearly. But sometimes even great things, when you have them in absurd proportions, are just Way Too Freakin’ Much.

But that lesson (and its In Real Life applications) will be Wednesday’s post, as I have made you read way too many words already for a Monday morning.  Good night.

Image: Flickr

Never miss a post! Sign up here and get a free copy of Your Guide to Calling It Quits.

  • Reg

    After stopping my fingers from deleting your blog notice in my email, I smiled, because I really LOVE reading your blog but I have been so busy and have so many things to do – HOW DARE I TAKE TIME TO ENJOY SOMETHING I ENJOY??! 🙂

    And now I’m crying. I read this blog because something bigger than me KNEW I had to read it. Thank you for the reminder. Your readers identify. We are kindred spirits. That line of never backing down from a challenge hit the nail on the head. I’m STRONG, dammit! But not as strong as pie. xo

    • Awwwww…I’m SO touched that my post did that for you! What an incredible reaction (and a lovely, lovely comment).

      Dare to allow yourself time to “do nothing” but the things you enjoy–which is actually doing SOMETHING very important.

  • mel

    ok, this was SO NOT THE POINT, but i just want to say that high school would have been much more awesome if there had been a pop-up pie stand out on the steps in the evening. anyway. i hope you have reached a point of just-enough-but-not-too-much pie, and i look forward to wednesday’s post.

  • mel

    ok, this was SO NOT THE POINT, but i just want to say that high school would have been much more awesome if there had been a pop-up pie stand out on the steps in the evening. anyway. i hope you have reached a point of just-enough-but-not-too-much pie, and i look forward to wednesday’s post.

    • I know, right?

      I am currently in pie-reduction mode. Report soon to follow…

  • So this completely reminds me of a dream I just had the other night that I was back in Japan, once again saying goodbye to the kids I’d been teaching, and attempting to get candy out of a vending machine. Instead of getting strawberry chocolates I got a whole ham. I’m vegetarian and had no use for the ham and the only reason I got it was because I couldn’t figure out the machine.

    I ended up taking it, pretending it was totally what I’d wanted, and took it back to give to my parents because I figured they could eat it. I suppose if I were to analyze it my dream seems to imply that I tend to get myself into situations that aren’t really what I’d hoped for but I try to make the best out of them even though it usually leaves me wanting something else even more.

    • That’s a really interesting dream (and interpretation). While making the best of a less-than-ideal situation is a fantastic trait to have (and one that many people dearly need to learn), it’s an astute observation that sometimes “making the best of things” can leave you wanting more. Hang on to that ability to look on the bright side while also insisting a bit more on the “ideal.” A mix of those two traits would make you a very lucky person indeed. 🙂

  • Ummm…I think you are totally wrong about what the focus of your dream means. Can we not just see that the point of your dream was to show how good pie topped with more pie is? 😉

    • I have to admit, the pie-topped-with-pie definitely was the most delectable looking part of my total haul. I’m quite frankly amazed that some American restaurant somewhere hasn’t already come up with that idea. 😛

  • I was going to say that this seems like a really clear message, but then I read Brittany’s comment and thought… well… maybe not! Pie topped with pie – you shoulda just left the coffee and kept the pie? Hahaha, totally kidding. Looking forward to Wednesday post!

    • Her comment definitely had me thinking, lol.

      Although you bring up a good point–perhaps leaving an item or two and only taking the most delicious and rewarding bits of my haul would have made it easier to carry (and enjoy)? You are wise, grasshopper–and onto the theme of the Wed. post. 🙂

  • This makes me think of a song I made up the other day. I called it stress and sung it to the song War, by Edwin Starr. At least I make myself laugh when I get stressed out. I am sure that is a good thing.

    As for you trying to juggle everything and not slowing down, I agree we need to realize when we have pushed ourselves too far and instead of ignoring those signs “slow the fuck down” as you put it perfectly. I was writing a post on this very subject; thanks for making me smile. 😀

    • It’s tough to STFD (I just made my own acronym, that’s right!) when the things you’re trying to juggle all seem to be good things in and of themselves. It’s easy enough to ditch, say, a plate of brussel sprouts when you’ve got too much to carry, but pie (with a side of pie)? Who doesn’t want that?

      And yeah, I just started singing your Stress song in my head. Very catchy… 🙂

  • Great minds … dream alike?

    I’ve been dreaming the same dream about high school lately – that I’ve lost my timetable and can’t remember any of the classes on my schedule – but yours sounds much more interesting. PIE FOR LIFE.

    Looking forward to Wednesday’s post…

    • I had no idea how much enthusiasm for pie this post would inspire. 🙂 Pie for Life!

      I get the “I’ve lost my schedule” dream a lot, too. Also the “I’ve forgotten the combination to my locker” dream and the “I don’t remember where any of my classrooms are” dream. Can you tell I was one of the good kids in school? These are some of the scariest of my nightmares. 😛