Thursday, June 30, 2005

Not real

This morning I woke myself up, far too early, by having a terrible argument with The Man, in a dream. I cannot remember what we were arguing about, but I was FURIOUS with him. It was all his fault, and I told him so in no uncertain terms.

I yelled,

"IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT! BECAUSE OF YOU I'VE SPENT TWENTY YEARS IN THIS STUPID COUNTRY BEING A GAIJIN WHEN I COULD HAVE LIVED ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD AND BEEN A REAL PERSON!"

The words were echoing in my head as my eyes popped open. It was four o'clock in the morning and I was so enraged I didn't know what to do with myself. Then as I became more rational I replayed the words in my head and started to feel quite proud of my unconscious self for coming up with something so brilliant. I wrote it down and went back to sleep feeling pleased. Move over, Shakespeare!

I told The Man about it in the morning, and he stared at me, devastated.

"That's terrible! Is that how you really feel?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Well, except the gaijin versus real person part. That was good, don't you think? I'm quite proud of that. I'm never that clever when I'm awake."

"Are you SURE you're all right?" he asked.

"Of course I'm not," I said. "It's the end of semester, it's horribly hot and humid, I'm resenting having to get up early, and my students are sick of me. We all need a holiday. But we're going to get one, soon."

The Man looked doubtful.

"Think about it," I said. "My existential crises always happen at the end of semester, and almost right away I get a nice long holiday. Who could ask for more?"

He still looked only half convinced. I don't think we've heard the end of this one yet.

I told some of my colleagues about this dream today, and when I got to the gaijin vs real person bit, recognition bloomed over all their faces before they cracked up.


(And no, in case you were wondering, I haven't been here for twenty years, and the decision to stay has always been a mutual one. On the other hand, the gaijin vs real person thing is so close to the bone it hurts.)


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4 comments:

Robert said...

Are you SURE you're okay? ;-)

I always seem to have those kinds of dreams when I really am mad at Herself for something. That's why when I wake up and realize it was a dream, I don't always get over it quickly.

kenju said...

My husband had a dream like this shortly after we were married, but he didn't wake up until after he had hit me in the nose with his elbow (and dislocated it!). He was dreaming of a rival salesman who had stolen an account from him.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when I have those angry dreams and wake up mad. Also, I totally understand your "real person" comment. The whole time I was living in Sweden I felt out of place and like much less of a person. I did not do a good job of adjusting.

Carrie

Badaunt said...

Robert: Of COURSE I'm not OK. It's crisis time! (But I will be OK, in a couple of weeks when I can go back to being a real person.)

Kenju: He dislocated your nose, or his elbow?

The Man once hit me very hard across the collarbone, but luckily caught his arm on the pillow at the same time. He was dreaming that I was being attacked, and was coming to my rescue. I screamed, naturally, which woke him up, also screaming. We sat bolt upright in bed screaming at each other for quite a while. It was a horrible way to wake up.

Carrie: One of my colleagues, when he stopped laughing, pointed out to me that being a gaijin in Japan is actually easier than being a 'gaijin' at home, because here you don't have a choice. At home you are expected to fit in, and people think you're peculiar if you don't. (He comes from a small rural town.) Here you are peculiar by default and nobody ever expects you to be anything else - or will let you, for that matter - so you don't feel like you have to pretend.

He has a point.