A few weeks ago on the This American Life podcast, which I highly recommend, the producers took on a challenge: to try to find interesting stories on each of the seven topics one producer's very proper English mother claims should never be talked about. Unless you want to bore everyone in the room. Because nobody cares.
With so many holiday events coming up for so many of us, I thought it would be a handy list to share.
According to Mrs. Matthiessen, who got the list from her French friend's French mother, nobody ever wants to hear you drone on and on about...
- The details of your dreams (meaning what you see whilst asleep, not your wishes and hopes)
- How you slept
- Your period
- Your health (everyday aches and pains)
- Diet (fat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, Atkins, apparently nobody cares)
- Route Talk (how you travelled from point A to point B, inlcuding the delays and detours along the way)
Here on Yeah, Write, I shall attempt to share interesting stories from my own life on each of these topics. And you can be the judge as to whether or not I have succeeded.
Hey, at least I'm sharing these here, where you can close your browser window if you want to, instead of at a holiday party, where it's much harder to disengage.
Thing Not to Talk About #1: Dreams
I will admit that I don't like to hear other people recount long and detailed dreams. In any case, I think the key to avoid being tiresome when sharing a dream is to keep your accounts brief and succinct. If you find yourself trying to apply logic or a narrative structure to the scenes from your dream, you're probably crossing into boring territory. For example:
"Then 4o white horses rose up from the floor, and suddenly my mom was there, and she said, 'Turn around Billy,' but my name isn't actually Billy, so I don't know what that means...Oh wait, no, that was after the cactus with the top hat started tap dancing but before the squirrel started chasing me...Where was I again?"
Now on to two dream stories of my own. (Did just hearing that sentence make you want to stop reading? If so, maybe Mrs. Matthieson is right.)
I'm not sure if I can state this strongly enough: while in a wakeful state, I am 0% attracted to Willie Nelson. Zero percent. He is old enough to be my grandfather, after all. But in that dream, none of that mattered. Things got steamy, much to my deep confusion upon waking in the morning. Please don't analyze this one for me, because I don't want to know.
Other strange subjects of compromising dreams: Stephen Baldwin and Toby Keith. Seriously, why not Daniel Craig or Mr. Thornton from North & South, people I consciously admit that I find attractive? Am I a closeted redneck?
Example 2: One night after spending the entire day planting the massive garden at my old house, I had a dream that chilled my husband to his core, briefly. He awoke to find me crawling around the edges of the bed, peering over the edges, saying in a low and creepy whisper, "How do we get out of here? How do we get out of here?"
"Why...do we...need to get out of here?" He stammered in response, suddenly awake and terrified.
In reality, I had been dreaming that I had planted corn around the perimeter of our mattress, and I was simply trying to find a path to the bathroom without trampling the tender plants. After we worked out the details, Travis was relieved to learn that I wasn't seeking an escape route from a fire, home invasion, alien abduction, or similar.
As for me, it took a few minutes of conversation before I realized I was dreaming, as is usually the case. And Trav usually exploits that fact by keeping me talking as long as possible, like he did the time I insisted, while half asleep, that our dog Ruby was on the computer, printing our wedding pictures. (Which, frankly, would have been a huge favor to me.)
You can be the judge of whether these particular dream stories pass the bar or not. I find them interesting, perhaps because they sprung from my own subconsious.
Discuss. And feel free to share a dream of your own, succinctly.
Coming up in my next post: Stories about How I Slept, My Period, and My Health.