Dream of: 14 October 1996 "Baby-Sitting"

I was sitting on the floor of a living room where I was baby-sitting for some children. When the father of the children came into the room, he began severely criticizing me for something which I was doing. Although he was standing behind me and I didn't see him clearly, I knew he was a tall thin black-haired man in his early prime.

As I had been sitting in the floor, I had been working on something and in the process had been using a wooden letter opener, made of ebony wood, which was shaped like a knife. I had had this particular opener, which had been hand-carved in Africa, for quite some time and had always enjoyed it. The handle was about four inches long and the blade was about eight inches long.

When the father saw the letter opener, thinking it was a knife, he began reprimanding me for using a knife near where the children might be able to lay their hands on it. I immediately held up the letter opener and replied, "Its made of wood," thinking my explanation would assuage him. But I made the mistake of adding that I had also been using a much smaller metal knife on my project, and he immediately jumped on that. He became increasingly irate when he saw that I was unable to find the small metal knife. Although I searched through the clutter on the floor, I simply couldn't find the knife.

What was worse (in my mind at least), was that I now noticed that about a half inch of the tip of my wooden letter opener had broken off. I thought that when I had grabbed the letter opener to show to the father, I had caught it in the carpet on the floor and had broken off the tip. Looking more closely at the letter opener, I now discovered the break was worse than I had thought: the letter opener was actually broken in half, right at the juncture of the handle and the blade. Although I quickly found several small pieces which had broken off, I was uncertain I would be able to repair the break. At the juncture of the handle and blade there had been two tiny arches, one on each side of the blade, something like miniature flying buttresses, which helped to hold the blade in place. Both pieces had broken off. Although I was able to find them and I saw that the breaks were clean, so that I could easily hold them in place, I didn't know if I would be able to glue them back so that they would hold. It looked doubtful.

Meanwhile, the father, who was still behind me, had turned his attention to something else: the television. Although I couldn't see the screen, I could hear the dialogue, and I quickly realized what was on: the movie Patton. The father changed the station several times, each time returning to Patton. I wished he would just leave the television alone on Patton. I knew the movie well, and even if the movie had already been playing on the television for a while, if the father would just leave the channels alone, I should be able to place at what stage the movie was and be able to follow the rest of it. But the father seemed like such a moron, he simply would not leave the television alone.

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