Identity Dream

Surprisingly, this dream wasn’t about the military. It’s a surprise because it has the feel of one to me. I was a military brat, who then joined and served twenty years. I moved on to civilian careers after retiring from the military and did okay, but my heyday was in the military.

I was in an office. A report needed to be sent. For some reason, this was an urgent concern for which we in the office weren’t ready. Send a report? What? How? Oh, the computers were out…hmmm, that sure reflected my Sunday computer frustrations.

Improvising in the dream, I procured an old electric typewriter, sat down, and typed up a draft report. While I was typing, I needed to piss. I did it under my desk, shocking my young employee. I did this three times. His shock turned to disgust by the third time. I was also shocked by the third time that I peed under the desk, vowing not to do it again.

Then I submitted the report to my boss. He surprised me by saying, “That’s not necessary.”

“We’re not submitting it?”

“No, we were told we don’t need to.”

“Who told us that?”

“A higher power. They’re submitting it.”

“Okay, if that’s what they want.” That was a task that I didn’t need to do, so I was satisfied. After informing my staff, we called it a day. I changed clothes (right there in the office) and rushed out to meet a friend, Ted.

He was there, waiting for me. “About time,” he told me. I apologized for being late, but he laughed it off. “I’m just bustin’ your ass. I ordered food for you.” He pointed over a railing. Below was a dining room. One table was set. A large sandwich with french fries was on it.

“That’s for me?” I asked. “That’s too much, but thanks.”

“No worries. But first we need to get inside.”

Get inside? Yeah, apparently there was a process. Ted knew it. “You need to show your ID,” he told me.

I said, “Yeah, I got it. It’s just…it was in my pants, and my pants were caught in a flood. I changed pants but everything in my wallet is soaked.” Pulling out my identification, I showed Ted a limp, soaked piece of rectangular paper.

He laughed at that. I took it to the woman manning the entrance. I was embarrassed but she laughed. “No, it’s alright. I heard your story. I feel your pain. You need to get a new identification.”

Card, I wanted to correct her, but other customers were arriving. Ted hustled us through, thanking the woman as he did. We went down to the table. There was more food and drink than I’d seen before, including a large, cold beer.

Although grateful, I gaped at the food and worried. “I don’t have that much money, Ted.”

Ted waved that off. “Don’t worry about it. It’s taken care of.”

The dream ended as I sat down to eat.

The Unlocked Doors Dream

I was in a city. Busy, busy, busy, I was trying to take shortcuts to get from one place to another.

As I rushing along, I saw an MG TC. In beautiful shape, I was familiar with the car, and was aware that an elderly man owned it.

What the hell, I thought. I’ll take that. Then I’ll return it to him later.

The car was cream-colored, it’s top down. It fired up immediately. Off I went. The drive was magnificent. Its smooth ride amazed me. Driving on residential streets through autumn weather, I encountered no traffic, stop lights, or stop signs. It put a smile on my face.

As I arrived at my destination, guilt and worry struck. How was I going to get the car back from here? Why did I take it? What’s wrong with me? He’s an old man and that car is his treasure. He’s going to worry about it.

Another man came along. As though aware of my thinking, he said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get the car back to him and take care of it. Go on.”

I was reluctant; this didn’t seem right. But the man had already taken the car and was gone.

I turned and went on, entering the building. Inside was a cypher-lock door. I entered the combo but it didn’t work. Others were arriving. No one knew the cypher code. “He must have changed it,” I said. Finding a phone, I called to get help, dialing extension 2884, which used to the telephone extension used for U.S. Air Force command posts around the world. Whatever base you were on, if you called that extension, you could reach the command post.

I dialed it but the door was unlocked as I did, and then an old friend opened the door from the other side. He said, “I saw you on the monitor and came out to let you in.” As we entered, I headed for ‘my’ door. “Oh, no, my door is unlocked,” I said with worry. “All the doors must be unlocked.”

“No,” my friend said. “I just unlocked your doors for you.”

The dream ended.

Image from MGexp.com/registry. Sorry, not my car.

The Pie and the Professor

I dreamed I made a pie. I think it was something creamy but it looked like it might have been key lime. The flavor was never addressed.

I was talking to a friend on the phone. A retired Yale professor of literature, Herb, he’s a social activist and someone I admire. Never dreamed about him before, though.

I told him about my pie during my telephone conversation with him. He said it sounded good, so I told invited him over to have some whenever he was in the area.

Next, I’m walking down the street. It’s a sunny, pleasant day. A dark blue Volkswagen is coming toward me, a diesel, from its sound. I think that can’t be my friend, because he doesn’t drive a VW, but then he pulls alongside, and it’s him.

He puts down his window. “Michael! I came by to taste your pie.”

Well, cool. We go into the house. I’m about to serve him a slice when my phone rings. A woman on the line says her name is Lily and she’s my friend’s wife. Except I know his wife and her name isn’t Lily.

She tells me that she needs him to come home right away. I relay this information. He replies, he’s going to have a piece of pie first. I relay that to Lily and hang up. Then I serve Herb some pie. Grinning — as he’s so often doing — he sits down to eat.

Dream end.

A Wistful Dream

Light and airy was how to describe this dream. It was all about a friend, Kev. I’ve not seen him in over twenty years. A military friend, we were assigned together in California (Onizuka). Though he was about ten years younger and assigned to a different unit, we spent a lot of time together during off hours. Our relationship continued after I retired from the military. Then we each moved. I went north and he went east. We are FB friends.

I recognized after thinking about the dream that he’s emblematic of better times, fun times…younger times. There’s nothing in any of this. I’m twenty years older and more aware of my life changes. Fold in the pandemic situation, isolation, and the travel and activity restrictions incurred with the situation. Add a cup of writing frustration. Stir in a tablespoon of malaise because of my broken arm and self-pity. Bake.

In the dream, I found a piece of paper. Reading its contents, I realized that it could only come from Kev and went to find him, which was immediately achieved. We struck it off again as we always had. He was back from a temporary assignment somewhere and filled me in Then, growing sad, he told me childhood stories and began a tragic tale about a female friend. He never finished that story.

It reminded me of so much that’s incomplete.

The Library Dream

Randy and I were going to the library. Randy is a friend who died of colon cancer five years ago. He was a few months older than me.

In the dream, he was the Randy I always knew, although he was driving a black Mustang GT, which is unlike Randy. When, in the dream, we got out of the car, I said, “I like that car. I’ve rented one three times now, although they were the next generation. All of them were white. One was a convertible.”

Randy said, “I know, you told me.”

We went into the library. It was a modern brick and glass building. They’d called me to fix something there. Randy was just giving me a ride. Then he and I were going off to have a beer.

In the library, I sought the head librarian. She gave me blueprints. They were highlighted by supports that I needed to fix. She went off immediately. As I studied the blueprints, Randy asked, “Why are they having you do this?”

I replied, “I’ve done it before, and they know that, I guess.”

Studying the prints and the building, I found where the supports were to be fixed. But as I studied the situation, I decided that what they intended wouldn’t work.

Off I went to find the head librarian.

She was in another section with a man, working on fixing something else. Seeing me, the man said, “Oh, just fix it.”

Showing them the blueprints, I explained to them what I thought was wanted and why I didn’t think they’d work.

The head librarian said, “Well, you’ll have to take it up with him. He’s the one that sent the plans down. I’m just a messenger.”

I’m like, “Who is him? How do I get old of him?”

But the librarian was ignoring me.

I went off again to reconsider the supports and the fix. I remained convinced that they wouldn’t work.

People started entering the library. Some event was going on. Randy and I found books and then sat down to read, along with dozens of others. Most were men.

A woman introduced a man. The man, small and dark, began speaking. I stopped reading to listen to him but he was speaking so softly, I couldn’t hear and understand him.

Randy kept reading. Seeing that, the man walked over and handed Randy a card, and then walked away. He was still talking but I couldn’t hear him.

Holding up the card, Randy said, “What’s this? Let me take my glasses off.” He couldn’t do that because he had a book in his hand. He handed me the card. I read, “See what you’re missing when you don’t listen?” on it. Randy took his glasses off, handed them to me, and took the card. As he read the card and I held his glasses, I realized that my palms were sweating and his glass lenses were getting wet and smudged.

I apologized to Randy as I handed his glasses back. That’s where the dream ended.

Two More Dreams

I often dream about four things: being in the military (again), cars, houses, and animals. Two of those made it into the second dream. It was the main event. First, though, came a dream snippet.

I was working on rice flavors. I came up with a new, exciting idea: cinnamon rice. Awakening, I thought, cinnamon and rice? That’s been around for eons, as in, say, rice pudding. I was quite excited in the dream, though.

My boss entered. I made my announcement.

He loved the idea. “Cinnamon and rice. That’s our new potato chip flavor.”

Whaaat? I’d been working on potato chip flavors? I was aghast, horrified, and crestfallen. Then I said, move on.

My second dream found me in a huge house. My wife and I had been living there for years, but the place surprised me with its size. Besides several levels, the house featured several wings and a huge yard.

I’d been living on the main levels, I realized, and had forgotten about the other parts. Now, remembering them, I went on a re-discovery exploration. Everything was well lit, plush and well furnished, but some of the white marble steps were dusty. I had to clean those off, I told myself.

Back in the house, my black cat was clamoring for my attention, but I had a house guest. I took her to a breakfast nook off the second dining room (the more informal one). There was a table with three chairs. Two were standard dining room chairs, white with light blue padded seats. The third, in the same motif, was on wheels and featured a wicker headrest that could be folded up to extend the back.

I presented this to my friend. I hadn’t seen here in over a decade. She’d never been to my house. Dressed in light blue and white that weirdly matched the dining room and breakfast nook, she stood there with a laptop bag over her shoulder. “Perfect.” She set her bag down. “I will write and type here.”

Good. She wouldn’t bother us there. But I said, “You’ll be facing a wall.” That was anathema to me; I liked facing a window so I could look out.

“No, I like facing walls, so I’m not disturbed,” she replied.

Weird to me. Meanwhile, I had to pick up the dogs from the vet. I went out as the van arrived, bringing them back. (Yeah, that confused me for a second; I thought I had to go get them, but no, they’d been brought to me.)

I took the dogs inside and let them go. They rushed to one bathroom. Surprised, I followed them in. There, I found kittens: a gray, ginger, and two black and white. They were toddling around, their little tails straight up the air like pointers. The dogs avidly sniffed them.

I called to my wife, “Where did these kittens come from?”

She didn’t answer. That’s where the dream ended.

The Factory Dream

I was working in a factory. I don’t know what was produced there.

Management was coming through to evaluate people, change positions, fire and promote, as they saw fit. Part of that, they were first going through a specific section that was designated personal work space. They would judge it and give us recommendations about our chances and where improvement was needed. Sort of feedback.

The personal section were about the size of a letter slot. Each had eight brass nuts on it.  Space at the corners and across the middle, the nuts were to be there and tight. They were on walls from floor to ceiling, with a continuous varnished blonde wood bench in front of it.

My personal section was faded green, scratched, and worn. It looked like it’d been there since the factory’s beginnings. On the wall opposite were personal sections that looked black and newer. They almost appeared unused.

People packed the factory. Excitement boomed about this pending activity, but I was unmotivated and distant about the whole thing. Then, we came returned to our personal sections. Most people had red tags and were disappointed that they’d not been selected.

I had a note. It read, “Your nuts are loose and your box is dirty. Fix these and you have great promise.”

The feedback amused me but my co-workers and friends were impressed. Reflecting, I didn’t know what it meant in the dream. Others took time to explain that out of all these boxes, maybe one in a thousand had a note. That gave me a chance that most didn’t have, if I took care of the things that were noted.

A manager came by. He told me the same thing and then asked me what experience I had. I told him about my previous involvement with databases, CRM, and RM systems, and my analysis work. Giving me a thumbs up, he said, “You have strong potential, good luck.” Then he left.

Now motivated, I cleaned my worn green box and started tightening my nuts. One was loose and immediately fell off. I searched the floor for it but couldn’t find my nut. That dismayed me. Not having a nut meant a demotion, I’d learned. I didn’t want that and wanted a possible promotion now.

I went searching for a friendly co-worker to get his advice. “He’s been traded,” I was told.

“Traded? To another company?”

“Yep.”

“They can do that?”

“They can and do.”

That amazed me. I wasn’t certain about being traded but I definitely wanted advancement. I needed a nut.

Looking at the black boxes behind me, I decided to steal a nut from down by the floor. I’d used it, get the feedback, and then put it back when I was done. It wasn’t stealing, but borrowing.

I started executing my plan. A young woman in black clothing saw me. “You’re stealing someone’s nut,” she said, pointing. Denying it, I hastened away with the nut in my hand. As I did, she said, “I’m reporting you.” Turning away and hurrying off, she called out to another.

I stepped off. Looking back, I saw her talking to a man and pointing at me. Swearing, embarrassed, and humiliated, I took off into the factory.

I went out onto the floor where huge equipment was located. I’d never been out to the floor before. What I saw awed me. A friend who worked in that section came by and asked me what I was doing. I explained my predicament. He said, “You’d better go back and put that nut back. You don’t want to be caught with another person’s nut.”

I knew he was right. I headed back with intentions of covertly replacing it. Of course, I wanted to avoid that woman and the man she’d been talking to. Not seeing her, I put the nut back where I’d taken it.

Of course, I still needed a nut. Now the future seemed bleak. Looking down the line, I saw the inspectors coming.

My friend from the manufacturing floor came up. With deft moves, he put my nut on and tightened it. “Now you’re covered,” he said, and rushed off.

The dream ended.

 

The Friend Dream

I dreamed I was working for a friend. He was unreasonable and kept getting shunned by co-workers. Then he’d be fired and get hired elsewhere.

This happened multiple times. I’d always end up working for him again. We’d always be working in a clean, modern office environment, much like the ones I worked in in Atlanta and Foster City. Realizing what was happening to him, I started avoiding him. This often entailed me going around the hallways to avoid him, but the hallways formed a square, so he could turn around and confront me. Further, a co-worker who also worked for him informed on me.

At last, though, seeing that the inevitable was happening again and deciding that I wanted to break the cycle, I stole into the office, grabbed my gear, and ran out. Hearing him calling me in another hallway, I changed direction and quickened my pass. The co-worker spotted me and called to my friend. I found a stairwell and hustled into it.

Although I was now in the stairwell, I witnessed the co-worker tell my friend what I’d done, and then heard my friend tell her, “If that’s how he wants to play it, I’ll just cut him off.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but deciding that I needed to get away, I raced down the the steps and  out the building. As I left the building, I heard him shouting from the door. Looking back, I saw him waving at me.

The dream ended.

The thing is, I worked for this guy several times. We’d worked together in one place and then sought me out and lured me to another place. I enjoyed working for him. He was intelligent, insightful, patient, and good-natured, with good communication skills.

The dream is something to ponder as I go about things today.

The Good-bye Dream

I’d been thinking about J on and off during the past week, a typical melange of, “How long has it been?” blended with “I wonder what he’s up to?”

Easy math answered how long, coughing up thirty-four years. I choked on a “wow” response as tangent thoughts about his children’s ages and lives bounced through. Thirty-four years since I’d heard or seen him, thirty-four years since I’d heard anything about him.

These thoughts boiled into my dreams, bringing a visit from him in a dream last night.

I was in a steel, glass, and concrete complex. Dust motes surfed wind currents as people walked along the corridor. Hot, I squinted against sunshine through the windows. I thought, it’s winter outside, but it’s so hot an stuffy in here. Then I paused, looking ahead at an intersection.

His back was to me but I knew it was him. “J,” I said, increasing my stride. As he turned, I caught up, but we didn’t close the distance.

Always a smiling person, even when pissed off, he was smiling and much, much younger in my dream than when I knew him. “Where you been?” I said.

With the smile hanging on his face, he said, “It’s okay, I’ve moved on.” Giving me a wave and a shit-eating grin, he walked on down the corridor, leaving me behind.

Awakening, I wondered what that was all about, and whether this was a signal that he’d died. I searched for him through social media this morning, but he has a common name. Not the first time I’ve search for him, but it was the same results.

Not surprising. He didn’t trust computers as they were emerging. He didn’t really trust society and the government. Buying and stashing gold and silver coins in a safety deposit box, he planned to buy a large plot of land after he retired.

We’d always had good times together, and we’d work well as a team. A few years older than me, a survivor of the Vietnam war (although served in Thailand), I wish him well, whatever he’s doing, and wherever he is.

Our Twinkling Star

We’ve lost our twinkling star. It came (at last, we thought with some relief even as we mourned, because the last few years were so difficult for her and her family), but it came at last, a few weeks short of her hundred and first birthday.

We think and talk about the amazing person we knew, and all the things she did in the thirteen years that we’ve known her. She’d wanted to be a comedian when she was in her teens — that would have been around 1935 — and loved hamming it up for us, and we loved her for that humor.

She also loved ice cream, and family. If you wanted to fire up that twinkle in her eyes, just ask her if she’d like to have some ice cream.

She marched in parades for social justice and equality. She put her name on petitions for change. We thought about all the change and upheaval she saw in her hundred years, the wars that she witnessed, and the others that she lost through death, and wondered if upheaval isn’t our natural state.

She was such a cool, friendly, and happy person, but this is life. You meet people, and eventually one of you goes away, leaving the other to remember and wonder.

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