Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Diving Down a Ladder

I'm swimming with people who are as familiar to me as my closest friends, but are in fact known to me only through work. We are swimming in a pond in the high desert of Utah or Colorado. Red mud as dry as stone surrounds the base of the natural pool and the water is warm. The area is deserted and our cries of delight echo off canyon walls that surround our swimming hole. One of the women in the crowd enters an opening in a nearby cliff wall, and emerges from a cave one story up and perhaps 15 feet from the edge of the pond. Unfurling a brilliant royal shawl she yells, "We need more purple!" and prepares to dive from the cave into the pool.

Sensing danger I yell, "I can do a back flip!" And I do a back flip in the water, elegantly arcing my back and dipping my body back into the water. The force of my reverse dive is tremendous and I feel my self continue to sink towards the bottom of the pond. I keep sinking. And sinking. I start to panic. "Does this pool have no bottom? Oh my god what if I just keep going? Will I reverse course and begin to float back to the top before I run out of air?" I try to physically alter my path but the momentum of dive forces me to keep moving downward rather than upwards. I am frantic and try to soothe myself by saying, "No one has ever dived forever. You will eventually slow down. When you do you can get to the top. You will be fine."


This is the second anxiety dream I've had in the last week that involves a panicked response to diving into what is, unknown to me, a bottomless pool in a desert.  It is a beautifully transparent anxiety dream, so transparent that it delights me. It also takes place in a location I consider to be a peaceful and tranquil space, the high desert of the Western U.S. I love that my subconscious is thoughtful enough to transport my sleepy manifestations of stress to a place that soothes me, to a place that compels me to slow down. And, if that weren't enough, a part of my who is witnessing the panic has the presence to use words to help me calm down, to recognize my own power, and simply say "You will be fine."

This new dream is a sign of growth. My anxiety dreams USED to involve climbing up and down wooden ladders. Any kind of ladder. I remember a long ago dream about climbing rigging on the exterior surface of a submarine in the dark. There was another than involved racing back and forth across a hotel atrium and six story glass windows, and eventually climbing to the top of one and not being able to get down. I was often with strangers in strange places taking unexplainable actions - all fraught with fear of falling, fear of what I would find when I finished my steps down or trip up the ladder.


What do you dream of when your psyche needs to be rid of negative energy?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

#Fail (or my 2012 flower buying adventure), by Clownface

For sentimental reasons, BMG and I decided to send flowers to his mother for Valentine's Day this year. (We picked out the flowers BMG's dad gave to his mother last Valentine's Day, which was their last Valentine's Day before he died.)

I gullibly decided to take advantage of the WBUR offer to make a donation in exchange for having Winston's long stemmed roses sent to BMG's mom. I haven't donated to this public radio station in a while, so it seemed like a win-win.

After four failed attempts to make a donation through the radio station I quit. Instead I ordered flowers through my credit card shopping portal. 1/2 the price, and zero the hassle.

Here's how it went.

Try #1 - Thursday night, on my computer at home
I enter my "MIL's" address into their portal to validate it - a required step in the donation process. Alas, I make a mistake (unbeknownst to me) and they won't validate the address. Although I am given the option of proceeding anyway, I am afraid the flowers wouldn't get to their final destination so I abandon the process.

Try #2 - Friday night, using 3G in a restaurant bar
I pull up the radio station's web address on my iPhone, using the Safari browser/app. I am directed to their news portal immediately. No obvious link to their "Support us" portal on the mobile site. At the bottom of the page, in tiny print, I find "Switch to full site" link. So I switch to the full site. I find a "Support us" button and am redirected to a portal where there is no option to order flowers through the radio station. I abandon the process.

Try #3 - Saturday morning, using my wireless iPad at home
I click on the radio station's app on my iPad. I click the "Support Us" button and am redirected to a page promoting their Fall 2011 pledge drive. I abandon the process.

At this point I remember the radio station send me appeal letters to the home I share with my boyfriend of five years, addressed to me and my ex-boyfriend. Afraid, through the power of databases, that the flowers sent through the radio station to BMG's mom might come "from Clownface and her ex-boyfriend" I decide to call the radio station to make the pledge/place the order. "If I talk to a person I can make sure my name is changed in the database," thinks I.

Try #4 - Saturday morning, using a telephone
After nosing around the public radio stations website, I find a phone number (again, small print). I call. The phone room is noisy and the person who answers has an accent indicating she may not speak English as her first language.

She asks for my name.

I say it.

"Would you like to spell that for me?"

"No, but I imagine YOU would like me to spell it for YOU."

I spell my first name - eight letters. She reads it back using the military phonetic alphabet. Two errors (25%). I correct them.

I spell my last name - six letters. She reads it back using the military phonetic alphabet. One error (18%). I correct them.

Realizing this interaction may not have the desired results of efficiently placing the most correct donation/pledge, I abandon the process.

And then I visit my credit card's shopping portal. In under 10 minutes I browse several arrangements, choose two dozen pink roses, and complete the order online. The cost is 1/2 of what the radio station donation would have been, I get an extra benefit on my credit card, and I feel good about the gift for BMG's mom.

Sorry public radio. Sorry philanthropy. Your ability to meet my needs using four available technologies all failed.