October 5, 2009

A Dream Of Lunch Unmade (aka Goodbye, Golden Bum)

I had a horrible nightmare last night.

I have a lot of bad dreams, and this wasn’t any of the usual suspects: being chased by evil demons down dark alleys, falling from great heights, realising I’m topless at a 40th birthday party, or being rejected by Josh Goldenbum at school.

No, this nightmare was about making sandwiches.

It was awful. In the dream, I was standing in my kitchen, desperately trying to cut the crusts off slices of bread for my children’s lunches. It was morning, and we were running very late for school, but despite my best efforts, the knife kept slipping out of my hand, and the slices of bread kept crumbling. In desperation, I went to the fridge to find tuna and sliced cheese to put in my kids' lunchboxes, but all I could find was broccoli and peanut butter, neither of which they like (besides, they’re not allowed to take nuts to school, but I wasn’t actually thinking about that in the dream).

I woke as I wake from any nightmare, in a cold sweat, with my heart pounding. And, as normal, I had to go through a mental reality check to calm myself down. Usually this checklist consists of things like ‘there are no evil demons’, ‘I’m not falling from anywhere’ and ‘I really will find a top to wear to the party’. (Sadly, though, I actually was rejected by Josh Goldenbum, so I can’t talk myself out of that one.)

In this case, however, the checklist was a bit different. I had to remind myself that the bread was fresh and the knives were sharp, so a crumbling loaf was highly unlikely. The fridge was well stocked with tuna and cheese, there was no broccoli to speak of, and the peanut butter was almost finished, after I got stuck into it with a spoon the previous day. I always make school lunches the night before so the whole dream was redundant anyway, and what’s more, the dream took place in the school holidays.

I finished my checklist and felt better. It was just a dream!

And then I felt worse. Much worse. Because it hit me.

I was dreaming about school lunches.

Not demons. Not nudity. Not even Josh Goldenbum. No, I was dreaming about sandwiches. Yes, this is my horror now. This is what wakes me, sweaty and panicked in the middle of the night. The fear of sending my kids to school without a nutritious, suitably non-allergenic meal. The terror of not being able to cut the crusts off.

I realised that I have turned a significant corner in my (inner) life. My subconscious - once a proud receptacle for all sorts of complex existential fears – is now completely empty, except for a couple of plastic lunchboxes and a pile of crustless bread.

So what does this all mean? Is it good news or bad? Have I become a simpler, less angst-ridden person? Or have I merely repressed my true existential anxieties (“Who am I?” “What is the meaning of life?” “Do I exist if Josh Goldenbum doesn’t know I do?”) and replaced them with metaphorical anxieties about lunch?

I don’t know. I do know, however, that the fear of a sandwich unmade is every bit as scary as thinking about death, or contemplating the nature of infinity, or pondering the meaninglessness of the universe.

And from now, I’m going to sleep with a lunchbox under my pillow.


  1. I blame the comments on MM. Just stop pandering to the children Kerri and give them broccoli on toast. If they are hungry they will eat it you know. Then you can get back to some good quality dreams like meeting Mark Philappousis on the Sunshine Coast like I did once. Oh yeah, dreams can become nightmares.

  2. Broccoli on toast? No, Bern, that's still pandering. If Kerri can only find Broccoli and peanut butter, then the kids should be eating the broccoli dipped in the peanut butter. If they're hungry, they'll eat it. Not only that, but it will teach them to not be so fussy, because fussy kids are a product of parents who let their kids refuse normal combinations of food, like that one.

    On another note, was Josh's last name REALLY Goldenbum?

    Also, in the category of spelling mistakes (only it's not really a spelling mistake, but I want you to try and find a rhyme for my name), your last sentence should start "From now on,", not "From now,"

  3. Yup - totally based on MM comments - don't worry - once all the comments about 'pandering' to your child if you give them something they want to eat (gee theres a shocking notion) have faded from your memory you'll be back to run of the mill nightmares :) - could have been worse- you could have been being chased by the five food groups and chained to a giant food pyramid - (thank you for making me smile) (oh and my kids will eat neither tuna, nor cheese, nor sandwich of any kind, nor broccoli, nor peanut butter - so I would be totally stuffed)

  4. is it only me who gets this image of putting your child in a fuzzy panda suit when I think of pandering them? ...only me...ok...I'll just be under the couch for a while...

  5. Bern: I remember you posting about that dream. Why can't I have ones like that? Bloody MM readers....
    Cerry: No, that's not his real name. But it SHOULD have been. And his real name was much worse.
    And April: Yes, you're definitely the only one. LOL

  6. I try and punch people in my dreams and get increasingly frustrated when I can't make contact. It's generally Nathan on the other end of my punches too, which makes it doubly annoying.

  7. Kerri, it's definitely the MM comments that are playing on your mind. Good grief, woman!, Simon Baker didn't even rate a mention.What you need is a dose of The Mentalist , that you can put on pause play, and clear your mind of more mundane things........

  8. Veronica: Oh yes, I have dreams like that too. With my own version of Nathan....

  9. I just wanted to say that Ive been reading your blog for a while now (I gratefully found it via a link through one of your articles posted on Mamamia) and just love your writing... you never fail to make me smile (and usually laugh too)...

    So I just wanted to say thanks for the writing...and the laughs (lord knows we all need them!)

  10. God, the lunchbox! It is stuff of nightmares isn't it? I had a parent teacher interview today and a teacher complimented me on my lunchboxes. I was so proud. Now I am so depressed.

  11. Anonymous: THANK YOU - that is SO nice to hear. It makes me so happy to read feedback like that. Great to have you here xxx

    Sonia: I'm sorry but your comment made me laugh so much! Be proud. No-one has ever complimented me on MY lunchboxes!

  12. Thank you Kerri. Reading your blog has made me feel so much better. I am not alone :)) I was dreaming about cleaning the house the other day. Can't quite remember the details but I remember it was a nightmare. I look forward to reading more. Cheers, Sue.

  13. April, for the record. You are not the only one. I am frequently arrested by daydreams involving multiple pandas doing panda things whenever I hear that word. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Kerri, your nightmares intrigue me. But I like to think that, somewhere out there in the wild, a young, baby sandwich is enjoying a peaceful nights sleep after the nightmares (where a frazzled lady repeatedly slices and dices him into a school lunch) suddenly stop.

    "What's wrong Sandy" Said the Sandwich Mum.

    "That weird lady didn't make me last night!"

    And the world rejoiced.

  14. hi, im the same 'anonymous' that commented previously about how much i enjoy your work...

    i just realised that you dont always put your mamamia posts on this blog, which leads me to ask - what else do you write for? where else can i find more of your writing??

  15. Hey anonymous, how lovely you ask!
    I always put the links to the MM posts here (in the box to the lower right).
    I also write regularly for a parenting mag called Tribe (www.tribemagazine.com.au) and the Child mags (Sydney's Child, Melbourne's Child etc). I also have a periodical column in the Australian Jewish News, and am working on a couple of other projects that I promise to keep you informed about!!!
    Thanks SO much for your interest. Really.

  16. So far I have only had these kind of dreams about some of my low-skilled menial jobs, like having nightmares about having to cut a mountain of lettuce, that kind of thing. Now I have swapped menial labour for the glamourous position of Number One Mum, I am afraid it will be nightmares involving mountains of poo

  17. Hi Kerri,

    I've just followed the link to you from your Guestpost on Mamamia. Thanks for letting me finish what's been a stressful day with several belly laughs! It's funny the things we dream about. Being a mum is truly a 24/7 job. I've been dreaming (actually more like nightmares) about Miss 12's assignment overload and how it's the first day of school and she hasn't even started them (even though they are all finished).
    Luckily the lunches are made so hopefully tonight will be sweet dreams. I can't wait to read more of your blogs.

  18. Thank you Kerri. Reading your blog has made me feel so much better. I am not alone :)) I was dreaming about cleaning the house the other day. Can't quite remember the details but I remember it was a nightmare. I look forward to reading more. Cheers, Sue.


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