Ellen and I were on a boat that was leaving England for France. Just after we had set off, one of the other passengers stood up and announced that he'd just got a text that said that Margaret Thatcher had died. Thinking of all the people back home who'd be thrilled to hear the news and how great it would be to talk to my friends about it, I said to Ellen, "Oh no! What a terrible day to be leaving the country!"
The guy across the aisle from me heard what I said and understood what I meant. He caught my eye and started laughing, so I started laughing too. Then, people around us joined in and, soon, all the passengers were laughing, cheering, shaking each other's hands, slapping each other's backs and just looking overwhelmed to have been lucky enough to be alive on this happy, happy day.
Notes for Freudian Interpretation
The root of this dream is obvious to me: that day, I'd read most of Jonathan Coe's "The Rotters' Club" while I was waiting in for a plumber. It's about the disastrous end of the British socialist experiment in the 1970s and the threat of fascism that arises when the left fails to do its job (even though all the reviewers who were quoted on the back cover seemed to think it was a nostalgic coming-of-age comedy -- the fools!). The last chapter, set before the election in 1979, consists of one long sentence that stretches out a perfect moment in which a character feels himself to be in a state of complete happiness. Then, wonderfully, it undercuts all that by ending with one of the characters confidently predicting that Margaret Thatcher will never be Prime Minister.
Clearly, the trick was so effective at upsetting me that my subconscious felt the need to construct a soothing fantasy overnight in order to ensure that I awoke with my equilibrium regained. Thanks, subconscious!
I'm not sure about the setting of the dream, although Ellen and I went to France on the Eurostar earlier in the month. The week before that, on the last train home from Glasgow, Ellen and I were laughing about a drunk teenager further up the carriage who had passed out while listening to awfully bad heavy metal on her extremely loud and tinny iPod speakers and a guy sitting across from me caught my eye and shared the joke. I know that that has nothing to do with Thatcher, of course, but I have to admit that, like (I assume) a lot of people who grew up in the 1980s, I still have a tendency to instinctively blame Thatcher for virtually everything that I disapprove of, especially if it has something to do with an offensive or stupid teenager.