Middle-aged to the young side, I’d join some sort of commune. We were interested in helping one another by joining resources. It was a sprawling, wooded compound with multiple cabins and buildings. I wasn’t part of the core group, but I was an early member, joining while the group was still small. I was member number ten.
After joining, I noticed that they were a bit disorganized. I’d always had a knack and desire for organization and began addressing the organizational needs. I didn’t want to be aggressive about it nor upset the balance; I just wanted us to be more organized. As newcomers arrived to join — a young couple, then a smiling, middle-aged white male (who turned out to be retired military, like me), then several single women — I began inserting gentle reminders to the people placing them about where we’d put others, suggesting we could write these things down.
Several people suggested we have beer. A group of us sat down and sampled several different beers — IPAs, red and brown ales, stouts, porters, lagers. Another man asked me how I viewed the general groups. I told him my first preferences were stouts and porters, then ale and IPA, followed by pilsners and lagers. But drinking beer was like listening to music, and my preference and desires changed with the moment. We had a good conversation, full of laughter, about this.
We went back to the compound. It was a sunny day. More arrivals entered. One of them, a tall, tall-haired man, came to me and suggested I was the resident beer expert. I denied that and we joked back and forth. Then he invited me to have a beer with him. We sat down at a table. A woman asked us what we wanted. I wanted to know if she had any Oregon beers. She didn’t know and invited me to look around.
While looking at the beers and going through them, I noticed a food section that’d fallen into chaos. It was part of a circular display. Beers were on top; under them were layers of food, napkins, and utensils. Gleaning what was meant to happen with the setup, I re-organized it into what I thought was a better flow. A burly black man came up and announced, “I’m the proprietor of this establishment. I saw what you did with that display, and I’d like to offer you a job.”
We shook hands, and I thought about it, but declined the job with a smile. He replied, “I didn’t think you’d take it because you don’t look like you need it, but it never hurts to ask.” He told me to help myself, that he’d cover my bill.
I was flattered by his generosity. I found a dark, creamy ale to take back to my body. I poured into a glass; the creamy head rose up and overflowed. I sipped off head, laughing while I did. After talking about what I liked about the beer, I invited him to sample some. He did and declared that it wasn’t to his taste. “Too creamy.” I understood his criticism, as others had said that. “It’d been good as a beer float,” I told him. He’d never had one. I explained what it was and offered to order one for him when I realized that I was supposed to be meeting others. I said bye and left.
The others were supposed to meet me in a pub along the street. There were dozens of pubs, so I started at one end and entered, looking for them. Someone bought be a beer to sample at each. I thought it was would be boorish to decline their offers, so I accepted and drank. By the time I reached the last pub and found my friends, I’d drunk a lot of beers.
The new place was light and airy, with light pine walls, many windows, and picnic tables. I apologized to the others for being late and found that one of them, a female, worked there as a server. I didn’t know that and told her so, then sat. She brought me a beer.
On the table was a pair of women’s athletic shoes and a tube of pink gel. I wondered about these. The serving woman pointed out that the shoes had grass stains. The pink gel was supposed to get them off but it didn’t work.
Well, that was like a challenge to me. I took a shoe and applied pink gel. The gel started sliding off. She said, “That’s what always happened.” Undeterred, I used my finger to spread the pink gel along the shoe. Like that, the grass stains disappeared.
“You did it. You’re my hero,” she said.
The dream ended.