OBG

They called him OBG, because he’s the old guy who goes to the bathroom at least once an hour.

How old? They struggled with that; they were young. How young? In their early to mid-twenties, that period before things cease functioning (peckers, prostates, lungs, heart) and start dropping (breasts, butts, faces, and arches).

(They knew, intellectually, but still (and really, on the periphery of their awareness) that they were conditioned with a sense of the ideal and normal. They knew that others had body failures before they were twenty (they’d seen it on the web), but none (of those types) came to their coffee shop or university classes, and none (that they knew) were ever seen. Out of sight, out of mind, you know. Although, to be fair, they were self-aware enough to know that they were experiencing health privilege (although it wasn’t thought of that way). (Hey, you were either healthy, or you weren’t.) They were unaware (as the young and healthy often are) of the many changes quietly being made beyond their control in their young, healthy bodies.)

OBG knew (from his casual observance) (hell, it wasn’t hard) that they’d noticed his habits. With that shrugging air of one who’d lived and survive, he dismissed whatever they thought. Into the bathroom he went, first blowing his nose (damn sinuses) (he hated blowing his nose in public) (just didn’t want to bother others), and then stretching (because that fucking sciatic nerve was getting inflamed again and despised sitting in those chairs too long). (Yeah, he shouldn’t sit in those chairs so long, reading his Kindle and browsing the net, habits that he’d started when he’d retired, ten years before, which, in turn were begun by habits he cultivated in his twenties, when he was in school, like these servers who watched.) (Do you see the circle that he sees, the circles of behavior and culture, and how linked they are, like the Olympic logo?)

Then, because he was there, he went ahead and sat down and pissed (not that he had to go, but he was there, so…), flushed, and washed his hands. In all, four minutes of his life had passed, but it all adds up, you know?

The City on A Ship Dream

I felt wonderfully happy. I parked my black car, a little sports vehicle in an unpaved space and went in to talk to my wife. I had to go up steps. Speaking with her about tickets and time, I had the impression that we were getting ready to leave. Then, stepping out of our place onto an breezeway, I looked across the land.

Our place reminded me of the building where we lived on Okinawa, Japan, for a few years. Built in a new style in the sixties, it overlooked an old gray stone building, matching wall, and an unpaved parking lot. The similarity ended there; Okinawa’s paved streets were asphalt. The narrow, curving streets I saw in my dream were light gray cobblestones. As my eyes swept the vista, they were drawn toward the sea in the west. It wasn’t too far off. Changing my vantage and looking north, I saw sea there, too. For a moment, I thought we were on an island, but then I knew we were in a city on a ship.

Turning in another direction, I could see much more of it. The city on the ship reminded me of an old English village. The talk about tickets and time was about getting ready to dock and arrive, not to leave. That realization pleased and excited me.

Dream shift. My wife and I had come down to some shops. Now she went off to do something. Left alone in a large, crowded business, I found a place and sat down to eat.

While eating fries, I played with a game, something made to amuse young children. It was just on a table. A woman came up and teased me about playing with her game. She then ate chips out of my hair. I was surprised because I didn’t know I had fries in my hair. I teased her about eating them without asking for permission. She introduced me to her mother. As her mother went off, she sat down to chat with me at the table.

I enjoyed her company. I was young in the dream and she was my age. White, with short brown hair, she impressed me with her self-confidence and humorous outlook. We ended up running into one another and spending a lot of time together. She seemed always happy to see me. I had the impression that she looked for me.

Then, once when we were looking out a window, I saw my wife. Out on her knees by the sidewalk, she was planting small bushes. I realized that she’d volunteer to help with a beautification project, and she’d done it all on a whim.

I said as much to my companion. This seemed to change her demeanor, as she left the table after a few minutes and disappeared into the throngs.

In another shift, I was preparing to leave. I was driving somewhere.

I decided to eat first and entered a bustling business. It was both auto-repair and food. The man behind the counter was a large, swarthy, jovial person. He was separating the customers in line between auto-needs and food. When he asked me what I wanted, I replied, “I’m hungry, I’m looking for food.”

Pretending to be aghast, he asked, “And you came here? Then you made a mistake.” Then he winked and pointed. “Go forward, the lady up there will help you.”

I wanted rice with food in a bowl but decided to leave without it. Then a friend joined me. I was giving him a ride. I told him we’d leave in a minute, I wanted to get food. Then I saw the toys like the one I’d been playing with when I met the woman. I looked for her there. After not seeing her, I told my friend, “Lets’s go.”

We went out and entered my convertible sports car. We were turning left onto a four lane road. I said, “Hold on, because I’ll need to accelerate hard to get across to where I want to go.” As he said okay, the light changed.

We rounded the corners. Stepping on the accelerator, I downshifted to a lower gear. I missed the shift. My car stalled.

I was shocked. Fortunately, traffic was light and the car was pulled to the left, by a median strip of dry brown grass.

After realizing what I’d done, I went to start the car and saw the keys were missing from the ignition. As I processed that, I realized that there was a second ignition on the floorboard to the left, and that’s where the key was. Reaching down, I turned the key, started the engine, and engaged a car. The dream ended as I began driving away.

 

Destiny

Brooding with leftover anger and resentment, he stared at the page, unable to read.

The book, by Lee Child (a Christmas present), was a thriller (which he usually enjoyed), but an argument was displacing his attention. It’d been a stupid argument, not worth even recounting, but it was another in a string of stupid, exhausting arguments. One a day? Hell, on a good day, it’d be one a day. Most days, there was one in the morning before they left for work and another in the evening. They were part of the routines.

He was tired of that routine. He decided that if he could, he would change his life so that he and his wife had never reconciled after they’d separated. That had happened less than nine months in (nine years ago). His life would be so much more pleasant, wouldn’t it? Her, and her attitude. It infuriated him.

Maybe, instead, it would be better they hadn’t had children. Much had changed when she’d become pregnant. The pressure to succeed, save money, and everything else, had ratcheted up, becoming relentless. Besides, they hadn’t been getting along well before that point.

He loved his children, though, although they worried and wearied him. A friend said that having children was all about the three Ws: worrying, wearying, and weaning. That sounded right.

Maybe, instead of not reconciling, he would not marry his wife. Then there would be no children. He tried imagining that life. He’d be like Grover, alone on holidays (and declaring that he liked it most times, but also decrying it on other days), but doing whatever he wanted, whenever. But he’d asked her to marry him because he loved her. Probably be better then, to have never met her. But if he’d never met her, would he have ever met anyone and fallen in love? (What an expression.) Yes, he had other girlfriends. He’d been popular.

Setting his book aside to watch football on television for a moment, he waited for some spirits to show up, someone to tell him how different his life would be if he’d never met his wife and married. That sort of tale had been written to death. Hadn’t there been movies with that theme? He waited for the television screen to change to a movie where he was the star and the plot was that he’d never met his wife and married. But that would’ve required many other changes, since he’d met her in high school as freshmen.

He had to consider all that would’ve all changed to keep them from meeting. One of them would not have been in that school (or maybe just not that year) (but both were good students), or their activities, likes and interests would’ve needed to change. He tried peering into the past to see what needed to shift to stop their meeting from happening. Maybe they met but didn’t fall in love. That’d seemed instant for both of them, like destiny.

Wiping her hands with a dish rag, she stepped into the room. “Kitchen’s clean.”

“Good.” He heard the dishwasher running.

“Are you hungry? Can I make you a sandwich?”

“Okay, sure, thanks.”

She smiled. “Want a beer?”

“Okay.”

“Anything else?”

“No, thanks, that’d be good.”

She glanced at the screen. “Who’s winning?”

“Titans, third quarter.”

“That’s not who you wan to win is it?”

“No.”

“Well, there’s still time for it to change.” Smiling again, she turned and left the room.

One child hit the other. A scream erupted. He leaped up, refereeing, consoling, explaining, parenting. A few minutes later, detente achieved, he sat down with a slow exhale and looked at the television. The third quarter was almost over but the score hadn’t changed. He picked up his book. He couldn’t remember where he’d stopped reading, what was happening, or what he’d been thinking about.

Turning the page back, he began reading again.

 

 

Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s song popped out of nowhere into my stream, nowhere being an easy reference to the interior realms of the space where my little gray brain cells huddle for warmth. But overhearing the women across the coffee shop talking (powerful stage voices), the song is appropriate.

“Changes” by David Bowie (1972) was already nestled in my cerebellum when I sat down but I wasn’t sure if it was today’s music. Then I heard the women talking.

First, they mentioned streaming services. They were comparing Netflix and Amazon Prime (or Prime Video), and how they share and release shows and movies on their sights. Talking about Amazon Prime prompted one to mention the free two-day shipping on many items, and the associated guarantees. A joke about getting stuff faster so you would order more faster emerged. Memories about ordering stuff in the old days and getting it six to eight weeks followed. It usually came by mail, too. UPS and Fed Ex trucks weren’t rushing around every where in those days.

Then they talked about catalogs. Spiegel’s. Sears. Montgomery Wards. Ah, yes, they’d ordered from all of them, and had fond memories of ordering from the Spiegel’s calendar. (I’ve ordered from them all, too, especially when I lived outside of the U.S. in the 1970s.) The women then recollected tales of the outhouse where the Sears catalog sometimes ended up, as those thin pages worked well to clean up after your business.

Last, they recalled S&H Green Stamps and using a sponge to paste pages at a time.

Yep, “Changes” is appropriate for today, from the weather and the seasons, to the music and the times, and how long it takes for your order to arrive.

I decided to use this Youtube offering of “Changes” because of Bowie’s photo. Look at the lad. Ah, changes.

Ch-ch-changing

Changing seasons

changing times

changing clothes

changing rhymes

 

Changing mind

changing ways

changing hours

changing days

 

Changing tastes

changing drinks

changing food

changing links

 

Changing sea

changing skies

changing clouds

changing eyes

 

Changing hope

changing dreams

changing plans

changing schemes

Here We Go Again – A Microsoft Rant

Microsoft has done it again; they’ve “improved” their Word product. 

Three features that I’ve grown used to are suddenly no longer functioning correctly after the latest MS “update”. As a writer, I liked the recently used files, pinned files, and the bookmarker that lets me pick up where I left off the last time that I was in a document. Stupidly of me, I like them so much that I trusted Microsoft to leave them as they are.

No.

I’ve been dealing with Microsoft products for over thirty years. Their updates and improvements regularly ripped up what I’m used to using, slowing me down, wasting time, and adding unnecessary aggravation.

My latest used files, according to MS Word, was in September of 2016. This is from a program that I use every day. The pinned files? All unpinned. Thanks, Microsoft. You’re a fucking peach. 

After finding the files that I used yesterday, the bookmark for where I left off is absent. I know where I was working, etc., but what the hell?

Of course, I must laugh. I must release long, bitter peals of angry laughter because, while Microsoft taketh away and fouls things up, it urges me, “Look! Look at our bright, shiny, NEW stuff. We’re improved, not like the sucky old product that we used to be.”

  1. Why should I look at your new and improved shit when you just removed my normally used shit, Microsoft?
  2. Why can’t I keep using the old, sucky shit.

(And yes, I recognize that the MS Word features that I’d grown accustomed to using were themselves new features, once upon a time. It’s great that they created an provided them. But can’t they see how it builds distrust when they do this sort of crap? It’s like good ol’ Charlie Brown trusting Lucy to hold the bowl. She always pulls it away, and he keeps believing that THIS TIME it’ll be different. Then, Lucy, like Microsoft proves, nope, we fooled you again.)

It’s the world’s way, innit? Don’t know about that, but it sure as hell is the Microsoft way.

GRRR.

A Dad Dream

I dreamed my Dad and I were in a store, but a few caveats are needed to qualify this. Much younger, I was taller than I’ve ever been. Dad wasn’t my true father but a colonel I’d worked for in the Air Force. This colonel and I didn’t get along well. Fortunately, he wasn’t in my chain of command. He was the Deputy Base Commander, though, so I had encounters with him almost every day. Another colonel that I was buddies with told me that the other colonel had changed through the years. He said, “He used to seem so happy and had so much fun. Now he barely wants to smile.”

That was my Dad in this dream, not at all like my real Dad. Dream Dad was retired, and I was still active, and outranked him. Neither of us were in uniforms, though. These were matters that I knew.

We were at a Home Depot shopping for plants. Dad wanted to plant flowers at his house. I was there, assisting, following him around. Dad had become forgetful and clutzy. He kept knocking things over. I was concerned, amused, and exasperated as I followed him around and watched the Home Depot personnel cleaning up after his messes.

Dad and I were chatting through all of this, mostly about what he was doing, from what I remember. I began suggesting that we leave but Dad wasn’t ready. It went like this, me following him around as he carried a basket, looking for plants and knocking things over, until I quit following him and drifted away. After I did that, I heard a loud crash. Knowing that he was behind it, I trotted into another area.

A clerk stopped me. “Some hazardous stuff has been spilled,” he said. “We need to clean it up before anyone can go in.”

I looked into the room and saw my dream father standing to one side not far away. Clerks and customers were standing around the perimeter, arms folded, leaning against shelves, as two others cleaned up a mess in the middle.

“Just tell me this,” I said to the clerk. I pointed at Dad. “Did he cause this?” As the clerk nodded, I smiled and said, “That’s what I thought.”

The dream ended.

An Uplifting Dream

Last night’s dream felt so uplifting and positive. I remember taking off my shirt and having my abdomen suddenly beginning muscular, showing off an eight pack. Suddenly, everyone was looking at me in admiration. I’m usually withdrawn and self-effacing, but I was happy for the attention and accepted it with grace.

As marvelous as that was, a woman suddenly sought me . I vaguely knew and recognized her. She said that she was back to get a story from me, fulfilling a promise she’d made a few years before.

Delighted, I was completely taken back by the unexpected request. I wasn’t aware of any promise, but I wasn’t about to question it and scrambled through my files for something.

Nothing was ready. I confessed to her, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have anything ready.”

She said, “Do you have anything that you think is promising?”

“Yes, yes, I have many things partially begun or sketched out.”

“Pick one.”

I returned to my files and began searching. “Okay, I think I have one in mind.”

As I continued searching, she said, “How soon can you get it ready?”

“I’m not sure. It’s going to take some time and work.”

“Get it ready. Finish it. I’m waiting for you.”

The end.

Well, cool. Amazing how something as unexplained as a nocturnal dream can feel so empowering, infusing me with positive energy while it shunts negative energy away.

 

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