Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What do Lewis Carroll, Lentils, and Pumpkin Bread Have in Common? More Than You'd Think

For years I've nearly been convinced that Lewis Carroll wrote this . . .

. . .when he was high on, uh, clover. Or something. Apparently, a lot of people have the same opinion. Yet I believe I have stumbled upon another entirely sane, valid option he may have drawn from for that level of weirdness--and if I can tap into that power, I am sure to write the next bestselling work of fiction, or at least the strangest. 

In the dimness between when I am waking up or going to sleep, there is another world. A place where I venture into a land of limitless possibilities, a land where anything can happen. For example:

When I was eighteen years old, my family and I lived in the country for a few months. We rented an old, two-story fixer-upper. Perfectly charming house, and pretty solidly built. Yet when the good old Missouri spring winds took hold, you could hear the creaking of the house and wonder when you were going to blow away. I remember barely waking during one of those storms and at a subconscious level realized that the wind sounded rather tornadic.

Wouldn't you think that I'd have woken up fully, hopped out of bed, and made sure I, and everyone else sleeping upstairs, was safe?

That's what should have happened.

But, no. Instead, I dreamed that a tiny tornado came through and took out a long plank of wood in the floor next to my bed. Yep, my brain ranks staying asleep higher than something so trivial as, say, saving my life.

I haven't had too many of these occurrances throughout the years, but I had two this past week that are worth noting. One of these was last night. Now, mind you, before bed I had put a jar of lentil sprouts into a Ziploc to store in the fridge, and knew I was making lentil loaf for dinner tonight. That explained, I still found it disturbing when my four-year-old son came into my room wanting to snuggle with me at 4:30 am (until he realized he was awake because he had to go to the bathroom); I truly thought either he was made of lentils or had them on him. I kept trying to keep him and all the lentils from falling off the bed. Yes. I thought I had a lentil child. (They were dry and uncooked lentils, if you were wondering.) So weird.
But the most unnerving one of all happened last week. On that day, we'd had some friends over, and we made a pumpkin cake/bread with chocolate chunks. It was so good that we were picking crumbs off the plate hours later, after our friends had gone home.

Late that night, what I hoped was just a sinus infection manifested itself as a full-blown cold. Achy, stuffy, icky, yucky-feeling, I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to wake James, so at 2:00 am I grabbed my pillow, pulled my comforter off of the floor (where it stays much of the night in the summertime), and hauled it to the living room.

I read for about two hours before I was comfortable enough to pass out. At 4:15 am, I was lying on my side with the puffy blanket pulled up to my face. I turned off the lamp, breathed with my mouth open (thanks to my stuffy nose), and began drifting down, down, down into my cloud-like nest of comforter, finally resting peacefully.

In that twilight moment, when I had entered the world between, I felt something fall onto my chin, roll across it just under my open mouth, and onto my pillow.

Two parts of me went into action, simultaneously:

Dreaming Rebecca thought, How on earth did I have a crumb of pumpkin bread that big on my hair that it didn't fall off before now, and how did I not notice it? Man, I could eat that. My mouth even watered a bit at the suggestion.

Primal Rebecca didn't do any thinking-- I just knew something was on the pillow by my chin, and it needed to be picked up. Now. Tiny sensors somewhere in the back of my mind were faintly shouting, "Danger! Danger! Intruder alert! Cast the what-you-think-is-pumpkin-bread out of the immediate perimeter!"

So Primal Rebecca reaches up by my chin and picks up a lump of something big and soft.

Dreaming Rebecca thinks, Yay, pumpkin bread! I know it has chocolate chips, I probably should eat that. 

In the split second that Dreaming Rebecca had that thought, Primal Rebecca launched the pumpkin bread across the room in the direction of the dog.

The throwing motion caused me to wake up fully, and I froze, panicked. The following procession of thoughts happened quickly:

There was no way that was pumpkin bread. It wouldn't have stuck in my hair if it were that big. 

If that wasn't pumpkin bread, what is over there on the floor now? Was the thing I felt rolling down my chin actually RUNNING DOWN MY CHIN? Should I turn on the light?

It was big. And soft. IT HAD TO BE A SPIDER!


What if it was a brown recluse? What if it bit me and I didn't even feel it, and I wake up in the morning to my finger beginning the awful stages of necrosis? I wiped my fingers back and forth across the comforter, trying not to think about what had been between them, yet not wanting to go to the bathroom and wash them.

Should I get up and look? Do I WANT to get up and look?

I decided forgetting about nearly voluntarily EATING a SPIDER was more important than seeing what had actually been there. More important, even, than avoiding necrosis. So I tried to calm my racing heart and fall back to sleep, because not seeing anything meant I could pretend nothing happened. Not seeing the Pumpkin Bread Spider meant that it did not exist, and I did not nearly eat it. La, la, la, la, I can't hear you and all that.

I finally managed to fall asleep another half hour later.

So, if I could somehow harness that magical land of creativity between wakefulness and sleep, perhaps I could be a famous author like Lewis Carroll. It's something to look into anyway. After all, directing small tornadoes in their destruction, protecting lentil children, and turning spiders into pumpkin bread could be useful when writing fiction.

Much better than waking up with necrosis.

(Yes, I checked in the morning. Thoroughly. No necrosis this time, thank goodness. Also, aren't you glad I didn't find a picture of that? You're welcome.)

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