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’s Theme Music

Such a simple mind have I. Watching the sunset pulling into the day, my mind punched the buttons for a 1984 Don Henley song, “Sunset Grill”.

Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill
We can watch the working girls go by
Watch the “basket people” walk around and mumble
And stare out at the auburn sky
There’s an old man there from the Old World
To him, it’s all the same
Calls all his customers by name

h/t to Google.com

I was feeling nostalgic. We’d hit 75 degrees F, and summer was strolling through, teasing us with looks and smells. Also, it was Wednesday, when my buddies and I meet to chat about science and the world and quaff a few pints.

It would’ve been a perfect day for the Sunset Grill.

 

The Clothes & Garage Dream

I had a large new home which made me proud and happy. Then, dream switch, I was visiting with Mom.

Mom wasn’t home. She and the girls were out. I was about my current age. Mom’s home was the small brick ranch style house where I lived from 1965 to 1972 in Pittsburgh before departing.

In the dream, she had coats hanging up outside, like on a clothes line that stretched from the house to a pole by the street. It was a temporary thing, but she’d had this going on for several days, and it bothered me. When it lightly rained and the rain then turned to ice, I decided that I needed to move them into the garage. However, the garage still needed to house Mom’s car. It was a one-car garage, so that would be a challenge.

Going through the garage, considering angles and materials, I began thinking about how I could do it. My little sisters (who had been out with Mom) arrived and commented on my plans, expressing doubts that it could be done. (They were their current ages and appearances, and in the dream, I wondered if they as little girls were with Mom while their adult selves were present in the garage.) I was gaining confidence that it could, then, and passed off their objections with jokes. They left.

As progress was being made, TC arrived. He and I had been stationed at Onizuka together. The same rank, he retired a few years after I did and moved away.

In the dream, he was coming for a visit. I was expecting him. He showed up in an exoctic burnt orange car, not the kind of vehicle that he would ever drive. He had young twin children with him. I played with them as we exchanged greetings. The car then went off and I realized that he’d been dropped off.

I returned to working on hanging the coats in the garage. I could show progress. TC asked what beers I had. I’d been planning that moment and replied as a joke with the names of a number of cheap American beers such as PBR, Schlitz, and Old Milwaukee. He always drank Miller Lite, and I knew that’s what he wanted.

Then, in a move that surprised me, he said he was going to the neighbor’s house. He said he and the neighbor were friends. As we discussed this, I stepped outside. The light rain had ceased. A car drove by on the street. Dusk was falling. My Mom’s neighbor was at a table in his yard, waiting for TC, who walked toward him.

The dream ended.

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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