Two Beefs

I know these are probably just me, but it’s a Monday and I feel the need to spleen.

Rant #1.

People are in line buying something, somewhere, and then wait until the cashier tells them the final before finding their wallet/billfold, money, whatev, to pay. Yes, I am an impatient person, but, really? Are you just doing that to annoy me? If I was a more paranoid person, say at the Donald J. Trump level, I’d suspect that there’s a secret society out there that are doing it just to frustrate me.

Rant #2.

Speaking of being impatient, I’m the second, third, fourth car in line, whatev, when we’re stopped at a red light. The signal changes to green but one of the preceding cars recognizes the light change so slowly, and then accelerates at a rate that would make molasses oozing out of a tree in winter look fast, that the light changes again before I can enter the intersection. Makes me want to shake my fist and shout, “Damn you.” Yeah, I know, it’s completely irrational, adding about ninety seconds to my commute. Hey, it’s a rant, you know?

What ’bout the rest of you? Any rants that you’d like to share? And don’t rant about the guy ranting on a blog post. I’ve read that one before.


He was recovering from his surgery. Blood, of course, kept seeping into the bandages. They told him that would happen.

The surgery’s grogginess was finally gone by the next morning, but he was surprised by how much the surgery limited him. His movements were slow and tentative. Talk about a damn anchor. He felt pain, too, dull, throbbing, and steady.

They’d given him pain killers. He read the label and all of its warnings. Taking hydrocodon ACET 5/325 might make him drowsy or dizzy. “Do not drink alcohol with this drug.”

Well, that was that. He preferred a glass of wine or a mug of beer over some pain relief. Besides, if he took the hydrocodon, he wasn’t supposed to drive. He’d been driving since he was fourteen, beginning on the back-country roads of western Pennsylvania over fifty years ago. Not drive? That was unacceptable. He kept his red Camaro convertible clean and polished. Forget all of his education and work success; driving was one of the foundations of who he was, driving, beer and wine, and rock and roll.

That was him.

Friday’s Theme Music

Today’s music comes right out of my dream.

To begin in the dream, my older sister and I were in a walk-in closet. No reason ever became clear as to why we were there. She was chattering, as she’ll sometimes do, which irritated me. A song was playing. The song was muffled, as though it was being heard through walls. I knew the song but I couldn’t place it because of her chattering.

Then I was in a car, driving. My car was fourth in line. We were on a street with a double-yellow line. The three cars ahead of me were on the left side — the wrong side — of the road. I didn’t know why. They were going very slowly. The road was in excellent shape but the fact that we were on road’s wrong side annoyed me. No signs were visible to account for that. I wanted to change over to the right side but not knowing why they were on the left side – what did they know? – kept me behind them, following. I was hugely irked.

Music played then, something about going straight. Then the song, “Amber” by 311 played. I thought amber is all about warning, as in amber flashing lights. “Amber” didn’t end, but “Forty Days and Forty Nights” began. That song, covered by Steppenwolf, was what I’d heard in the closet with my sister.

It was still streaming in my head when I awoke, so here it is, today’s theme music, the Muddy Waters classic as Steppenwolf did it in 1970. Enjoy a little bluesy rock.

Lane Envy

Lane Envy – anxiety and desire to be in a different lane, often associated with driving and shopping.

In use: “Seeing the other lane going much faster, lane envy struck, prompting him to contemplate moving, but he knew the shopping gods were playing a cruel joke on him. As soon as he changed lanes, this one would go faster, so he stood where he was and bridled his longing to go to another cashier.”

The Old Friends Dream

I dreamed that I was with a lot of old friends. People I’d gone to school with, neighborhood friends from my youth, and people I’d worked with around the world while in the Air Force, or working in Progressive Angioplasty Systems, Tyco, Internet Security Systems, and IBM were there. Writing friends were there, along with sports and drinking buddies.

No occasion that I know was mentioned for the gathering. We were just having a big party in an enormous ballroom, a place so large that I couldn’t see the other side. Well-lit, round tables were set with crystal and silver.

Weirdly, I entered after being out with some, and that’s when the dream proper began. I’d been with one person who I no longer wanted to be with. I had no enmity with him, but he was drunk and being obnoxious, so I was avoiding him. As I was skirting where he was, a group of friends streamed in. Seeing me, they shouted, “There he is,” and waved, happy to see me. I joined them, and we chatted, having a good time.

Then Chris suggested we go somewhere. “Where?” I asked.

“Who cares,” he said, with the friendly and easy smile that he habitually presented.

“Let’s go,” I said. “We can take my car, but I don’t want to drive.”

Chris said, “I’ll drive.”

We got into my silver Mazda. I was in the back seat. Setting off, we talked about where to go. Chris came up with a suggestion, but nobody knew where it was. “Use the GPS,” I said. Chris knew how to do that and pressed the buttons needed.

With my next awareness, we were at a more intimate setting. Many of my friends were there in their party clothes, but everyone seemed tired, I think from partying so much. They were barely interested in the music.

And that was amazing, because up on stage was a young Marvin Gaye with a back-up group. All of them were in amazing bright blue outfits with white shirts.

Marvin finished his performance. I looked around, like, why isn’t anyone applauding. As I began clapping, so did someone else. Putting his hands out, Marvin said, “Hey,” and everyone else sat up and applauded.

Then Jeff was by my side. Pointing at Marvin, he said, “He’s wearing a one.”

Yes, the number one was in black on a white porcelain appearing badge that hung down from his shoulders on his front. Seeing Jeff point at him, Marvin came over to speak with us. I was awed to be in such close proximity to such a creative and intelligent person. He was so pleasant and polite. We shook hands and chatted, and then Jeff, pointing again at Marvin, said, “That one is for London Park, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Marvin agreed.

Jeff bobbed his head with enthusiasm. “I was there, I’ve been there.”

Bewildered, I wanted to ask, where’s London Park? I’ve never heard of London Park. How do you know the one is for London Park?

I didn’t get the chance, because that’s where the dream ended.

Don’t You Hate It?

Don’t you hate it when you’re stopped behind two other cars, because they’ve legally stopped for a person in the crosswalk, and the car coming up behind you whips into the other land and accelerates to about ten M.P.H. over the speed limit and just misses the pedestrian in the crosswalk?

Yeah, I don’t think the man in the crosswalk was happy, either. Mindful of people being like icebergs, with so much of them hidden out of sight, I wonder what kind of idiot is driving that car.

Thursday’s Theme Music

I dreamed last night that I was driving a convertible with the top down on an oceanside road. I was alone, and the weather was gorgeous. The road could been the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway between Big Sur and Carmel. I saw myself and the scene from different angles, like I was in a movie montage, but I don’t know what kind of car it was. No one else was seen in the dream, just me, happily driving. (Almost seems like a pretty metaphor for my writing process.) This song, “One of Us,” performed by Joan Osborn was playing on the car radio during this dream montage.


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