Romance in the time of social distancing

I want to share with you a dream I had last night in the hope you might explain it to me. It’s quite amusing.

I’ve just returned to my apartment with an appealing neighbour I’ve met for the first time downstairs. She’s tall and though not beautiful, has an alluring quality: earnest, but wry at the same time, a person of substance who also knows how to have fun. There’s a faint and attractive northern European intonation to her voice. She wants to discuss with me some neighbourhood issue and, good citizen that I am, I’ve suggested we do so over a bottle of wine.

I leave her in the living room while I dash to the bathroom and quickly tidy up, as you do, putting away incriminating evidence and making sure the toilet seat is down, and so on. I return to find a little old lady is in my kitchen, putting things away in the fridge.

Turns out she’s from a delivery service I’d forgotten about and my neighbour has let her in. She’s all business, small and prim, like someone’s no-nonsense grandmother. She asks me to check things and to sign here.

When I look up, she’s in the bathroom and has shifted the washing machine out of the way (this is set in an apartment I lived in SY many years ago). She returns and tells me I have an amber alert on air-freshener.

“Um, an amber alert?” I mutter.

Turns out it means I’m almost out, and my surprise is not so much that such a thing as an amber alert exists, but rather that I possess air-freshener at all. I agree to add it to next weeks order.

By now she’s rummaged around in my bedroom and reports I’m short on condoms also – and I wonder what alert that is. “There’s more in the bathroom,” I tell her, my neighbour smiling in amusement at my predicament.

“Do you need any more?” the lady says.

“Sadly, no,” I respond.

My neighbour pipes up with a twinkle in her eye. Did I tell you she was alluring? “Oh, don’t be so pessimistic,” she says, “you can never have too many condoms.”

In a time of hoarding, who am I to argue? And so I agree to add some to my order, wondering if this is real life or a dream.

Without batting an eyelid, the little old lady asks me what sort, and begins reeling off the different types: “….ribbed, studded, flavoured, ultra-thin…”

I’m at a total loss by now. I turn to my neighbour. “What do you think?”

With a wry, confident smile, she tells me: “I like ribbed.”

Indeed, I think, and to no-one’s surprise, I order the ribbed, my mind by now in lurid and hopeful overdrive. The little old lady notes down my order – and the dream ends.

Hopefully, I get to part two tonight.

I posted this on Facebook earlier hoping to get some dream analysis. I got some surprisingly intelligent feedback. It was said this was a classic dream of being interrupted – the old lady being the force that prevents me from what I want to do. What about the amber alert? I felt sure it must mean something. I was told that it meant that I should stop and think before doing anything.

Fine time to tell me now!

I’m not going to argue with the analysis as it sounds pretty sensible, but I will offer my own explanation of the dream. It’s weighed on me the last couple of days knowing that for the next few months I’m not going to meet anyone new, not going to have the chance to flirt, and have no chance of a random fling even if I met someone, somehow – it’s hard to get intimate standing 1.5 metres from each other. These days, it’s probably illegal, too.

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