The Beer Group

The weekly beer group would’ve met last night under ordinary circumstances. These being ordinary circumstances, they did not.

As a group, we range in size from six to sixteen attendees on most week. Volunteerism and traveling to visit family are the usual culprits pruning our numbers. We range in age from sixty to eighty-eight. Several college professors, computer programmers and coders, a physicist, doctor, and wildlife management people and biologists make up our group. Death has taken two since I joined it, an eon ago.

Businesses are re-opening in Ashland, Oregon. Technically, we could’ve met last night, wearing masks and social-distancing. These limitations made me laugh, right? We’re already on a group that struggles to hear one another. Imagine us now six feet apart trying to do that. Add the mask. Then, let us drink the beer.

You’d think with all this intelligence in the group, someone would devise a solution, something akin to the shower curtains being deployed in some restaurants, or the little greenhouses in Amsterdam, but no. We didn’t meet.

Think it’ll be a while before we do.

The Aliens Dream

It’s a frustrating dream, at once very clear but not understood. I dreamed it twice.

The first time I dreamed it, paperwork was being hunted for me. As Fred discovered it and brought it to me, I had my pecker out and was looking for somewhere to pee. Taking a hint, I woke up and went to the bathroom.

While awake, I reflected on the bizarre dream. People had been telling me that they’re been a day when aliens had contacted some. I was incredulous. It was like a big, open secret among these people.

When I returned to sleep, I dreamed it again.

I was at a friend’s home, having a beer. Somehow a conversation took place where they revealed there was a day when aliens contacted them. They’d documented it. Three primary people emerged: Pat, a person who I used to work with; Fred, father of a childhood friend; and Greta Thunberg. There was also a larger group of people that I knew but who remained vague in the dream.

Pat was a big, jovial smart guy who worked in Intel for the USAF and the NSA and DIA. Fred, my friend’s father, was also a big guy, quiet and solemn, who worked for U.S. Steel. You’re probably familiar with Greta. I’ve never her, but have seen and read about her.

A fourth person was the one telling me about it. He had a chart on graph paper showing when the aliens contacted him and what happened as a result – weather and stock market changes. There’d been a twenty-four hour period when the aliens were with humans. Most humans were completely ignorant about it.

Fred, coming in to give me another beer and ask if I was hungry, confirmed what the other guy said. Fred had also been contacted. He had written about it and had a graph like the first guy. I asked if I could see it. He agreed.

This kept going like this. More people came forward with the information, telling me the same thing. Then Pat dropped the bombshell: the aliens had contacted Greta.

I was eating and drinking beer as all of this was taking place. I wanted more information. Someone gave me an information packet that they’d put together. I asked, “Has anyone put together and contacted an entire list of who’d been involved with the aliens?”

Either no one could or no one would answer the question. As I put information together for myself, I discovered a pink sheet of paper. I noticed that everyone had charted their own involvement in a green sheet of graph paper; the pink sheet of paper on top of the package in my hand was a summary.

I sat everyone down. Twenty-two people were present. We were in a large commercial dining room with round tables. A friend, Shari, had joined us. She confirmed that she’d been contacted. I read everyone the pink summary. I can’t remember a thing that it said but all agreed that it was right. I asked if anyone had ever compiled the graphs and analyzed them; no, they all agreed.

That floored me. I decided I would do that. But, the place was closing; everyone needed to leave. They all began departing. Pat was at a table. He was making calls to find more information. I went in and used the restroom. When I returned, I began singing Joe Cocker’s cover of “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”. Pat, sitting at a table alone, sang it with me. We sang the verses, “Didn’t anybody tell her? Didn’t anybody see? Sunday’s on the phone to Monday. Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”

I left the building. It was a long, two-story place like a U.S. motel. My car, a dark blue sedan, was parked on the street. I was in a happy mood as I walked across the unpaved parking lot and looked at the gathering dusk.

The dream ended.

Thursday Theme Music

Lovely day — sun drenched, kind of warm air, patches of snow on mountains a few miles away, no clouds — yesterday. Went for beers with my friends (our weekly meeting, which I don’t always attend). We sat out on the deck under thinning sunshine for a few hours. Medical updates for a few were provided, then politics, books, science, and plays (Oregon Shakespeare Festival is beginning) were discussed. For a while, we put troubles and worries aside.

Afterwards, walking home (just under a mile up a long, steady hill), and feeling mellow as the night swallowed the sunset, Ray LaMontagne’s song, “Trouble” (2006). It’s a mellow, bluesy song and fit the day well.

Daydream

Things that are dark in flavor appeal to me. I like dark meat, dark chocolate, dark red wine and port, and dark beers like port and stout. I try – and often fail – to keep an open path to my taste buds. That means sampling offerings that don’t appeal to me based on familiarity and comfort. But I’m such a creature of ruts and routines that varying my choices becomes a challenging exercise.

Daydream is part of that.

Daydream is a Noble Coffee dark blend. As dark as an Italian roast in appearance, it’s not as sharp and bitter as an Italian or a French roast. Its flavor is smooth and fresh to my taste buds, toying me with mild nuttiness.

I do try others at Noble. Each day, they offer a blended dark and a unique, single origin that’s a lighter roast. True to form, the light roasts are revealed as winy and bitter to me. Some, though, have a terrific grapefruit juiciness, a taste that my taste buds like to have in IPAs, red blends, and Pinot Noirs.

Ultimately, it’s a world of choices out there, a distant shout from those early days at work, sipping Maxwell House re-heated in the microwave.

Got my brew, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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