March 5, 2000
Breaking the Rules


I am pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles of the local grocery store, selecting dinner materials. Suddenly I find myself *parked* in front of the cold beer and wine section.

"No, Secra! You can't buy beer!" says the Good Angel on my right shoulder. "It'll mess up your year and a half of sobriety, and you'll have to start all over again!"

"Oh why not?" says the Bad Angel on my left shoulder. "You've had a shitty week. You deserve a little relaxation. And if you're careful, nobody will ever know. Just hide a couple of beers under the Freschetta boxes, and then drink them in the bathroom before David gets home."

In spite of everything I've learned the past eighteen months ... in spite of all the progress I've made ... the temptation is too strong. The Bad Angel wins. I tuck a six-pack of Saxer's Lemon Lager at the bottom of the shopping cart, underneath the frozen pizza and the mega-pack of Charmin Ultra Unscented, and I head for the check-out counter.

At that precise moment, Keith Richards reaches into my shopping cart and snatches my purse. (It's either Keith Richards or the Troll King from "The 10th Kingdom.")  I yell "Whut the fudk?!" and grab the handle of my purse, yanking on it with all of my strength. I'm not about to part with seventeen dollars and a new box of Penguin Caffeinated Peppermints that easily. For a minute or two, Keith Richards and I  engage in a furious tug-of-war, but finally he loses his grip and lets go, and I reclaim my purse, and he disappears.

The commotion, however, has drawn the attention of my mother, who just happens to be shopping nearby in the produce section. (Yes. That's right. My mom commutes from TicTac to California to buy her acorn squash. You got a problem with that?)  Mom glances at my shopping cart, and a funny look crosses her face. I follow her gaze and realize -- to my horror -- that one of the Saxer's bottles has rolled out from underneath the *real* groceries, and is clearly visible.

"That's not MY shopping cart!" I lie, and she gives me a look that clearly says ''Terri Lynn, I did not exactly fall off the Freschetta truck this morning.'

I break down. "OK," I admit, feeling sick and ashamed and stupid. "You've got me. I was going to buy beer." And I begin pulling the bottles out of my shopping cart and replacing them on the grocery store shelf, while my mother and everybody else in the store watches.

"Wow!" David says admiringly. We are laying in pre-dawn darkness, exchanging dream snippets. "You just had a classic 'Recovery Dream!'
Temptation, guilt, denial,parental conflict ... it had a little bit of everything."

"AND groovy pop culture refs!" I happily remind him. Somehow, the retelling of the dream is making it seem slightly less menacing.

He nods. "I think you should write this one down," he says. "Maybe post it on your website. Think you can remember the details?"

I assure him that this is one dream that isn't likely to go away any time soon. Dreams this vivid and goofy have a tendency to stick with me for a while. (I'm still recovering from the infamous Lorenzo Lamas/Overflowing Toilet Dream of March 1996.)

As for posting the details of the dream on my website ... I dunno. I have a handful of *rules* I try to abide by when it comes to this journal, and how I maintain it, and what I do or don't write about.

  • Show, don't tell.

  • Stay on-topic.

  • Tell the truth ... even when it makes me look stoopid/whiney/weak/manipulative/unloveable.

  • Change the names to protect the innocent. [The not-so-innocent can fend for themselves.]

  • Avoid annoying, gratuitous references to other Internet journals. [Hiya, Sunny!]

  • Avoid annoying, gratuitous product endorsements. [Penguin Caffeinated Peppermint, anyone?]

  • Verify links before you post them.

  • Change things around occasionally. (Just don't ever ever mess with the Happy Panda Toaster.)

  • Spell something wrong once in a while, just to see if they're paying attention.
And my #1 Rule? Don't write about dreams.

Why? Mainly because I've never forgotten a saying I read once (and which I have been unsuccessful in locating on any of my favorite "Quotation" sites this morning, so I'm forced to paraphrase it here) ... something along the lines of "Dreams which seem so interesting to the person recounting them are almost invariably boring as hell to the person being forced to listen to them."

And THAT is why I'm not going to post the Buying-Beer-and-Fighting-With-Keith-Richards dream on this website.

I'm sure you'll understand.