Wednesday, August 1, 2012

American Dreams

I've recently made two new guy friends.  They could very quickly become "my boyz," if I weren't moving out of town in a month.  They're both somewhat outside of the normal circles in which I travel.

One is an Army dude.  He loves cooking, costumes, and karaoke.  Kind of an eclectic mix, but always entertaining.  The other is a firefighter.  He loves good scotch.  That's enough for me to go on.

This post is called "American Dreams" for a reason.  I had a weird dream involving these two guys, and it was somewhat telling of what may be (just barely) subconscious urges under my veneer of ivory-tower elitism.  Here's the breakdown:

Mid-summer, possibly the Fourth of July.  A wide backyard, with unimaginably cliched white picket fence around it.  The Weber barbeque is smoking away, burgers and dogs sizzling happily.  The three of us stand apart (I apparently dream in 3rd-person omniscient) from a larger group of party-goers--a group which I have the distinct impression are supposed to be "the neighborhood."  So far, normal enough.

The weird part is in the details.  Apparently I have a strong desire to live in 1980s middle-America.  The three of stood around the grill, wearing oddly similar bowling shirts, too-high shorts, and tasseled loafers.  Frightening.  All three of us sported thick, black, full mustaches--which is odd because none of us has black hair, and they just didn't match up.  Those visuals, and the cans of Blatz beer in our hands put this dream over the edge.

I can understand where this dream probably came from.  I have a more-or-less unconscious desire to have the classic group of guy friends as my neighbors.  The fellas I compete with for the greenest lawn and best-trimmed hedge.  The guys who borrow my tools and never quite get around to returning them.  I have a desire somewhere for this bizarrely stereotypical image of white America.  I imagine we'd all be middle-management at some sort of vaguely defined "business" or "firm."

It's not bad to want for yourself a life that matches up with the picture of a satisfied life you've perhaps grown up with.  I suppose it can become a problem when we try too hard to force that dream into reality.  If the people or places actually around us refuse to fit quite into where we'd like them, we're bound for dissatisfaction.  So, how best to approach our dreams, our desires, is the question.  How can I make a life for myself that fits the standards I set for my happiness, and to what extent do I need to remain open to shifting those definitions?

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