At a Superbowl party, I met a psychiatrist who asked me (we were talking about Um…) if I believed in the unconscious. If you mean the semiotic detritus of life that’s lying around and can be borrowed, deployed, or shanghaied for acts of interpretation, sure, I replied (or something like that — it was the Superbowl). Here’s a perfect example. I sent Misty an email talking about a conversation yesterday, in which I’d been worrying about the social dynamics in various workplaces. But instead of “handwringing” I wrote “handwriting.” Ah, beautiful. Dr. Freud?
I can’t think of anything that would have led me to write “writing” instead of “wringing,” except maybe that I was thinking about the email I had just written to someone else. But since the content of my worrying was about writing, broadly construed (both as an act and as my future doing it), this is an opportunity for some interpretation, some meaning making. That’s what I think a Freudian slip is — not a bald linguistic error, but one with an opportunity for poetry. Or at least self-examination.