A Racing Dream

A group of us — all men of various ages, builds, condition, etc. — were gathered. A tense but excited current ran through us. We were being given an opportunity to race a Formula 1 car. These were not the current cars but vintage vehicles from the eighties. All of us could attempt to qualify but only twenty-three could race. My father was encouraging me to participate. I asked if he was, too, and he said, “No. Too old,” with a laugh.

I was in my early twenties and eager for the opportunity. An overcast sky murmured, it might rain, and a cool breeze kept us shivering. The track could barely be described as one. A run-down, overgrown place, we would-be racers walked about, attempting to clean off the track a bit, kicking off gravel, twigs, and leaves, removing old, rain-sodden black branches. Several drivers seemed much larger than me. Most were older. We chatted in knots as we impatiently awaited our chance. I was more knowledgeable about F1 than others there so I asked more questions and pondered things. One older, larger care took note and started asking me for advice to help him. Each time he asked a question, I asked, making a suggestion. When he thought the suggestion didn’t help, he wanted to take it out on me. I told him, “Look, I made the suggestions but you made the decisions. Own your decisions.” That seemed to take him back.

Meanwhile, I was becoming annoyed with the organizers. I understood that we were to be given cars randomly. Okay. Then we would practice, qualify, and if we were fast enough, we’d race. Okay. But the organizers were also issuing us old racing coveralls to wear, and helmets. Shouldn’t we have a chance to pick those out ahead of time and get used to them some? Why not? In my mind, the uniforms could be important because they could be too tight and hamper our movement, you know, like shifting gears and turning the steering wheel.

I was mentioning these things to other participants. None of them could answer it, of course, so I went in search of the organizers. The dream ended.

Time to Paint

The blinds needed to be removed.

This was a requirement to paint around the frames. Somehow in the madness of life, I’ve decided that I need to paint the living and dining rooms. Together, they are, ‘The Great Room’.

Point of order: my wife hectored me into doing it. “These rooms are too dark. We need a lighter color.”

Me: “Huh-huh, you’re right.”

“When can you do it?”

“Wait, what?”

Life sometimes needs a rewind function.

Into the garage! To the tools! My tools are not greatly organized. Shelves hold several power tools and their requirements, along with a large toolbox. It’s augmented by a small thing with a work surface and four drawers. One drawer has lost its front. (I’m going to fix it sometime.) The top drawers are well organized with screws, anchors, glues, nails, sandpiper. The bottom two drawers are stuffed full of whatever I can get in there. I avoid opening them, except to retrieve tape and edger/trimmer string. My tape variety is impressive.

The screws holding the mounting brackets have a Philips-head X on it. They would not budge despite my grunting. “Get a screwdriver with more torque,” I muttered to myself. I already had the biggest. I would use the drill on it, but there’s not enough clearance. Bummer.

Sighing in frustration, I hit the ratchet wrenches. For some reason, I’ve acquired three complete sets. No, there’s more. At least two sets are metric. I bought them because I lived in Germany and Japan. Metric was used there, and I owned foreign cars – BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Toyopet. Plus, at least one set was priced at a dollar at a garage sale. Who can resist tools at a garage sale? They’re like books. You gotta look and see what might fill that imaginary hole in your library or toolbox.

The sockets are semi-disorganized. Most are in their proper places but the smallest sockets always go strolling. I go through them, looking for the 1/4 inch, along with the proper adapter to go from big to small. With all those socket kits, I have a multitude of options for changing spark plugs. Every manufacturer had a different size of socket required. Some had several. I also have a number of tools for setting the gaps on plugs and rotors, and wires for cleaning them.

Which reminded me of computers. Back in the office closet lives a set of shelves. On it resides office requirements like Wite-out, file folders, label maker, pens for the next century (if they don’t dry up), paper for the printer, ink for the same, assorted docks for laptops I no longer use, another printer I no longer use, cables for laptops and printers… You get it, right?

Disk drives also live on these shelves. Floppy 5.25 inch. Hard floppy 3.5 inch. Zip drives. CDs. All are ready to be formatted and written. I have not formatted anything in over a decade, maybe longer. I used to format things several times a week, back in, um, the last century. Strange that something that once was so common is now rare.

Not really. We were riding horses and trolleys more back in the last century, too. I only rode horses a few times for entertainment. Never mounted one to go to the store, or to visit the neighbors.

I don’t change my car’s oil any longer, either, although I have the wrenches for that, too, and the big wrench to remove an oil pan nut. I have baskets of computer and electronic gear. Ribbon wires, chipsets, an old power supply, old fan, along with a huge variety of RCA cords and adapters. There’s an extra monitor, too, and a VHS head cleaner for the VHS deck that I no longer use. I also own bearing grease, quart jugs of motor oil, and car cleaning supplies, like polishes and waxes.

Sometime, someone needs to go in there and clean all this stuff out. Not me, not today.

Time for me to paint.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

“Wednesday, Wednesday. Can’t stand that day.”

Yes, happy humpday, April 14, 2021. I have nothing against Wednesdays, myself. I enjoy Wednesdays. It’s a nice midpoint. I guess I’m a ‘week is half-done’ sort of person.

The sun snuck up on us at 6:32 AM and will shy back behind the planet at 7:51 PM. The weather is strolling away from winter, gaining more spring confidence everyday. Green thickens in the trees around us and adorns the rolling hills. Although it’s now 49 degrees F, we expect the thermometers to see 73 before beginning its evening descent.

I found myself singing a 1982 song. I dreamed of a Porsche 911 SC, which was produced between 1978 and 1983 (yeah, I looked it up to confirm what I recalled). Thinking of the car and the years the model was produced led me through the memory vaults. I recalled that I lived in Texas in 1978, having been assigned there in the military after I returned from the Philippines, then got out, moved to West Virginia, went back into the military a year later, was assigned again to Texas in 1979, and then ended up on Okinawa by 1981. The song that came to mind then was “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, get the vax, and enjoy the music! Cheers

A Riddle In A Dream

I had a dream in which I ended up wondering, while in the dream, if I’d dreamed what I was thinking. I’ve gone similar routes to this before, but this one ended up as a laugher to me.

I was racing at LeMans in a D type Jaguar. The race had just begun. My co-driver (name not given, never seen), had qualified us, putting us at the front of the grid (but not pole). I was starting the race for the team. I managed a great start, and was battling for the lead.

From my point of view in the open cockpit, another driver and I raced our cars down a long straight, engines screaming, car shaking and vibrating around me. Taking the car to the absolute limit, holding it there, I edged my car’s nose ahead past a competitor on my right.

Now for a surreal bit. There was a small, bright green, bean bag hanging to the left along the straight. Whoever reached the bag and pulled it down was the leader of the first lap. I raced toward it, pulling ahead of the other car. Veering left, I threw my hand up and caught the bean bag.

Wasn’t over, though. We were hurtling toward the final corner. My competition wasn’t making it easy for me. They were holding back to brake at the last second; they also had the inside line, the true racing line. Coming up on the corner, I counseled myself, “Wait, wait,” watching the competitor. When he finally braked I told myself, “Now, brake, downshift, turn.”

I guided the car into the turn. Teetering on the edge of cohesion, the car progressed through the long righthander. Then I was through, in the lead, leading the first lap of LeMans. Jubilation roared through me as crowds cheered me on.

Then, as the segment ended, I pulled into victory lane.

I’d won the race.

Still in the dream, I was stunned. I’d won LeMans. As it was a D type Jag, that was in the fifties. Sitting before my computer, I searched on “Seidel Wins LeMans”.

Then, I thought, hold on. I couldn’t have won LeMans in the fifties; I wasn’t born until 1956.

And in the dream, I wondered, did I dream that? It seemed so real.

As I was about to tell this to my wife, she brought a tall white man and his daughter into the room. I was like, “Excuse me, WTF, who are they, why are they are?” My wife brushed aside my questions.

The child went to play. The man joined me. Reading a newspaper on the desk beside me, he scoffed. “Mansfield is in trouble.” He scoffed again. “I’ve seen this happen before.” He blithered on about some other companies who’d been in trouble. “They’re going to need help. Search for Mansfield and help.”

I did as he directed. I was only typing with one hand, however, and kept screwing up the search. Then, dream shift, I’m in a writing class with other students. The instructor is telling us about four elements. I’m taking notes.

A man comes in and calls my name. He wants to know if I’m okay. “Yes, fine,” I reply, puzzled. The teacher tells the man that I seem fine, why is he interrupting the class to check on me.

“Because he sent a message that said ‘help’ on a computer,” the man replied. “We received his message.”

Realization rising about what happened, laughter spilled out of me. I explained that I’d been trying to do a search on Mansfield needing help but kept screwing up.

Two other men, stocky, with crew cuts, in suits, solemnly brought stacks of books to me. “What are these?” I asked.

“Help books,” one man replied. “You sent so many messages for help, we thought you could use these books for help.”

End dream.

The Mall Dream

A dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic world had arrive in the U.S. It wasn’t extreme. Shit had happened. Infrastructure and governments were failing, oil and gas were limited, food and water were scarce, and security was precious.

Somehow, I’d taken over a large mall.

I established myself as its ruler and then set up a society to live within it. I’d managed to make it secure, acquire food and drink, and we were generating power. Details aren’t available.

Friends of different times in my life heard of it. A large horde of them arrived as refugees. Everyone from childhood to the recent past were represented.

After greeting them outside on a sunny day, I took them in, assigning them spaces and familiarizing them with basic concepts: everyone works, no physical violence or abusive behavior, and respect one another. Break one of these, once, and you’re gone.

They quickly settled in. One favorite old friend, Don, became de facto representative of that particular group. He ended up hanging out with me a bit. They had suggestions for improvement. I thought them good and adopted the suggestions.

Meanwhile, I had two Mazda Miatas and gas for both. Both were green but different shades, with the new one being darker, almost forest green. I often drove the older one around. On this day, I decided to take the newer one for a ride. I invited Don along.

But first, I went around pissing on the mall floors. I pissed copiously, everywhere. I was then ready to go, but then regretted pissing everywhere. “I shouldn’t have done that,” I told Don. “I need to clean that up.”

Don, his cheerful, relaxed self, answered, “Don’t worry about it. We got you covered.” He pointed out there, where everyone was already mopping up my mess.

That’s where it ended.

Two Short Dreams

‘Nudder busy dream night. Two stayed strongest with me. One which I found funny involved my wife.

Before that happened, though, I needed to get my phlegm tested to see if I had the flu. The local lab couldn’t test me for circular, bureaucratic reasons. I knew of a lab, though. Just needed to take my phlegm to another lab. So, I spit into a small piece of plastic, folded that in half, and put it into a plastic bag. Then off I went!

The lab wasn’t amused. They were downright pissed. “We can’t test this! What’s wrong with you?”

Chagrinned, I returned to report my failure to get my flu results because my sample had dried up and become contaminated. The man in charge was angry. He’d just received the report from the lab and was chastising everyone there, demanding to know who was responsible. I immediately went to him and told him, “It was me and only me. I’m the one who did it, all on my own. Put all the blame on me.”

He started righteously chewing me out but as he did, I could tell that he was trying not to laugh. That made me start laughing. He finally gave up and we both started laughing. He told me that what I’d done was silly and not to do it again, and then we went on our ways.

My way took me and my wife into a car on the road. We were young, in our early twenties. Ahead of us, a pickup truck was stopped in our lane. Weirdly, thinking back on it, we were driving on the left side of the road. The steering wheel was in the right place, though. Anyway, a pale metallic green, second-gen Prius — you probably know the type, it’s the ubiquitous spaceship-looking version that I seem to encounter all over the place — crossed the double-yellow line, pulled out into the other lane and passed the pickup — on a hill, going into a curve. Not safe, was what my wife and I said. Much finger gesturing and shouting ensued by both parties involved ahead of us. The pickup immediately started after the Prius with my wife and I right behind them.

We all pulled into a busy, dusty parking lot. My wife and I hurried into a little cafeteria-like place. She rushed to the counter. Two younger blonde twin women were approaching the counter, gabbing as they went. My wife deftly managed to reach the counter first. Holding up a quarter, which the male cashier accepted, she said, “Lemonade, please.”

The cashier answered, “I need to serve these two women first. They were here before you.”

“Then I went my quarter back,” my wife snapped.

“One gently used quarter returned to its previous owner,” the cashier said with a smile. My wife stomped off.

She was angry. Going to a table, she spread out newspaper sections to read. But, too angry to read, she then marched off, leaving the paper there. The cashier came up as she was departing the table. Pointing at the sections, he began, “Could you please,” but she rushed off without looking at him. He then appeared very dejected and walked away.

Seeing this, I quietly went up, folded up the newspaper sections, and put the paper back into the basket.

A Jag Dream

Back into cars for last night’s dream. This car didn’t belong to me, but to a late uncle. He never owned a car like this, to my knowledge.

The car was a silver 1967 Jaguar E-type roadster. Calling it silver, I want to stipulate that it was so bright and polished, it seemed almost chromium. Absolutely stunning.

I was agog over it in the dream, where I was a young man in my late teens. He’d given me the honor of cleaning it and I did a damn thorough job. Afterwards, I proudly showed him what I’d done, opening the doors, bonnet, and trunk to display my results. He was duly impressed. After I returned his keys to him, he returned them to me. Turning away, he tossed a walk off: “Why don’t you take it for a drive.” Delighted and incredulous, I replied, “Are you serious?”

“Sure,” he answered. “You earned it.”

(I couldn’t find a photo of a silver Jag roadster, and none could be as silver as the one in my dream. Sorry, but this will need to suffice to show what kind of car it was.)

Car In A Dream

He awoke with a fast start. Pulse still hammering, heart palpitating in his chest, he kept still, eyes wide open, focused on the dark night around him, waiting for his eyesight to catch up.

Common sounds asserted themselves: others snoring throughout the house, including the dog on the floor and his wife beside him in the bed. Wind was kicking around something loose on the house, reminding him that he’d need to hunt the object down before it broke free. Something to do when daylight arrived, after the other winter chores were completed, something to complete while the sun shone and he paced himself until spring.

Sleep was not coming back soon. Lightly he unfurled the heavy blankets and quilts, untangled himself from his wife’s grasp, and slipped free. An icy floor met his soles. Shivers jumped through his body. Eyes finding form in the darkness, he eased out of the bedroom, past the old dog, and out into the kitchen.

A tabby was settled on the kitchen counter, watching him with still eyes. Drifting to the window, he peered out past the curtains and glass while he scratched the cat. It purred happy in response. He’d dreamed of cars again. The car in this dream had been from about 1980, although he thought he was living in 2021 when he dreamed it. Just speculation about that, as those dates felt elusive. He knew the car, though, green and low, was not like anything seen in this century. Cars were still to be invented. He shook his head at that. Cars were still to be invented, but seemed so real… If the car was from 1980, that was still one hundred twenty years away. Scratching his face, he prepared to return to bed.

He awoke with a fast start. Gaping at his familiar bedroom, he settled onto his side with a long sigh. He’d dreamed again that he was living on a farm in eighteen sixty. Breaking free of his wife and the cats huddling against him, he slipped out of bed and moved through the house. Night lights embedded in the walls helped guide him as he made his way to the garage and flipped on its lights. His BMW M1 reflected the scene in its gleaming green surfaces, including himself, staring at the car. For a moment, he saw himself as another person, the old farmer? And then another — the man from 2021?

Shutting the garage lights off, he returned to the house. Cats had followed him and now demanded food, attention, or both. Touching his wrist, he woke his Backhand. “Show me today’s dreams,” he said, amending, “from the last two hours.” The dreams paraded by until the green car arrived. “Freeze.” He drank it in. “Enlarge the driver’s face. Clarify and sharpen.” He squinted as it grew in size, trying to decide if it was him, the man from 1860, or the guy from 2021.

Were they — he — all the same?

He closed the dream. Either something — worlds — were coming together, or something — the divide between worlds? — was coming apart. Maybe something else, like his sanity, was coming apart. Padding down the hall, ambivalence slowed him. He wasn’t certain he wanted to return to bed, wasn’t certain if he wanted to return to sleep. For to sleep meant to dream, and he was becoming worried about where his dreams might next take him.

The BMW M1 Dream

I dreamed I was driving a BMW M1 in a dream last night. The road was slushy and snowy and the car was dark green. I was having a ball sliding the powerful, capable car around curves and slamming down straights, managing the direction as the car attempted to fishtail and spin.

Awakening and thinking about the dream kept a smile on my face. Although I know of the BMW M1, I’ve never actually seen one. It’s a rare model. Research shows it was produced from 1978 to 1981, with four hundred fifty-three cars built. A mid-engine mounted sports car, it was powerful and capable, with output coming from a straight six engine. Top speed was 164 MPH and 0-60 MPH was about 6.4 seconds. These aren’t brilliant numbers these days, but back then, that performance put it in a special category.

Of course, the query in my head is why that car in that dream? I often think of my dream cars as representing me. It’s pleasing now to think that I’m a rare but outdated exotic sports car who used to be capable of performance that impressed others. Carrying the analogy further, now I’m just an old rarity, long out of production, and infrequently seen.

I like the green in the snow though, you know? You can see why, right?

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