The Red Mustang Dream

I was a young man, as I often am in my dreams, probably in my thirties. I was in the home of a woman I knew. It was a standard modern place but basic and clean. I was standing in a dining area by a patio slider. She wasn’t there, but two other young women and a young man were present. They were about ten years plus younger than me. We in the middle of a conversation in which I related to them that they were ‘taking the wrong medicine’ and told them what medicine they should be taking. The man walked out to get it even though I told him that I had it with me. One of the women left and the home owner returned. She asked what was going on so the other young woman and I explained it, with me doing most of the talking, telling her that they’d been using the wrong medicine. She appreciated me correcting them because one of them was her niece (I never knew which). The young man returned then, without medicine because he could ‘t find it as “everything is closed”. I gave him a huge black backpack which contained the medicine he and the others needed.

As the young man thanked me, the other woman returned and the homeowner announced that she was leaving. She told us we could stay or go, it was our choice. I said I was going because I needed to do other things. The young man left with me. We walked down a busy small-town street for a bit, and then separated. I went over and got into my Mustang. Red, it was a 1965 convertible in very good condition, highly polished, with a white interior and convertible top. I needed work on it, so I took it to this little place. I backed into a spot and then got out to get a number and get in line, because that’s how it worked there. As I was waiting, another person arrived and backed his car into the Mustang.

I was upset, more so because he shrugged it off and walked away. He was much smaller than me and a little younger. I confronted him, pointing out the damage. Body damage, on the driver’s side front, was very slight, but the tire was torn up. Looking at it, the tire was made of white foam mattress and had lost a large chunk from the accident. He talked to the man about it but he claimed it wasn’t his fault, went and got a number and got into line.

I was upset. He’d hit my car and wouldn’t take responsibility for it. A friend arrived and I told him about what had happened. The guy who’d hit my car was in line with several large companions, who had been there when I arrived. My friend said, “Know how to start a confrontation?” I shook my head and he said, “Let me show you.”

He walked up and attempted to grab the younger guy’s nut sack, but one of the big other guys instead did it to him, saying, “You trying to start a confrontation?”

That didn’t make sense to me. As my friend was released and limped off, departing the business, I decided that I would leave. As I went to depart, I encountered another young man with thick dark hair. He was looking into the shop and asked me if I would recommend it. I told him that it depended on what he needed and how badly he wanted it, but I was disappointed in the shop and told about the accident. I asked him what he was looking for. When he told me, I said, “I recognize you. I read about your story on the net.”

He verified that was him, and then the homeowner from the dream’s beginning arrived. As the young man looked across at her, he said, “Excuse me, that’s my mother.”

Dream end.

A note that the dream Mustang reminded me that Dad had a 1965 Mustang when he was stationed in Germany in the late 1960s, blue with a white convertible top and black interior, with a 289 and four speed. I wasn’t with him in Germany, but he showed me pictures of him with the car with its top down in Paris.

The Cycles of Mail

The cycles of life came in the mail. Credit card invitations when he was young. Cable and Internet deals in his middle age. House and window cleaning services as he aged, followed by landscaping and financial planning, then house-painting and payday loans.

As he reached his mid-fifties, AARP became friendly, as did companies like Prudential, offering planning assistance, worrying if he was saving enough for retirement. Cruise and vacation suggestions came every week. Everyone became concerned about his estate and his will. Hearing-aid flyers were frequently received. Then came funeral and cremation services, with coupons and discounts!

Reaching his mid-sixties brought flyers and letters for Medicare plans. Of course, every two years through it all were pieces from politicians, PACs, and political parties asking for a little money, pleading their cases, railing against one another, and demanding change.

Coming with weekly persistence regardless of the year or his age were advertisements from his local stores, catering to the holidays and time of year.

Fondly he remembered his past mail as he perused the latest offering from an assisted living residence and dropped it into the recycling bin, letting his imagination run wild about what his future mail would bring.

Worth Noting

David Walden, Computer Scientist at Dawn of Internet, Dies at 79

I worked for IBM for over a decade after retiring from the military and became aware of David Walden’s name while I was there. I’d heard of the work of the I.M.P. before that while reading about ARPANET. People like Walden contributed to this thing called the net and develop it to the point where we have the connectivity of today. I take the net for granted, complaining about it when it’s slow or won’t load, along with the work that Walden did, but it’s pretty amazing when you regard its technology.

RIP, David Walden

The State of Things

I was thinking about being on Okinawa in December, 1982. I’d arrived there after thinking about other Decembers, starting with here and now. I’ve been in Ashland for fifteen years, the longest period I’ve ever spent in one place. Fifteen Decembers in Ashland. That’s extending the current record. I’ve spent Decembers all over the place. Decembers in the 1950s were in Virginia, California, and Texas. I don’t really remember them, except for glimpses, as I was born in 1956. Family lore, and old Kodak glossy black and whites, tell me that this is where I was.

For the 1960s, I was in and around the Pittsburgh, PA, area — Wilkingsburg, Verona, Plum, Penn Hills, Monroeville. These are more sharply remembered. Then I left Mom to live with Dad, ending up in Ohio and West Virginia. Graduating high school in 1974, I joined the military. Decembers were spent in Texas and Mississippi; Ohio and the Philippines; West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Korea, and Texas. There’s split time, as I often started December in one place in that decade and ended it in another. The last December of the 1980s was spent in Texas, and then the next four were spent on Okinawa.

But I stopped at Okinawa, remembering people and events. I struggled with one event: was that 1982 or 1983? Well, I’d look it up. That’s what the net is for, right? Goofing, I just put in, “On this date 1982”. That search brought me in information on November 27, 1982. May, 1982, July, June. December? No. What the what? Thinking, maybe I’m crazy, and this isn’t December, I checked my computer’s date: it showed 12/9/2020. Okay, twelve is December, right? (Yes, my computer shows month, day, year. In the military, we always showed year, month, day. Took years of weaning to unlearn that.)

Blame it on the search engine. Had to be. I tried other search engines. Weirdly, they all came up with information about those dates but none sprang up with what happened on this date in 1982.

That’s the state of things. The computers don’t return what you want, but what others looked for, or maybe, trying to second-guess me, what they think I want. I kept flipping through search pages: April, August, October. One December result, for December 2nd, from Facebook, something about Michael Jackson.

Maybe my memory is doing things to my mind, but I recall being able to put in such a nebulous search and having today returned, along with happened on this date in history. Not any more, though. When I put in December 9, everything came up as I thought it should.

Yeah, just another rant about the way it used to be, innit? Or maybe I’m just imagining what I think I used to remember.

The Fingerprints Dream

I was working for a company whose mission seemed to be tracking fingerprints on the Internet. A young and brilliant bearded guy was our leader. Many young people worked there.

I’m not certain of my responsibilities with this company. I also had a second job with the NSA. When I came into work at the company, they told me, “We can’t find any traces of you on the Internet. Your fingerprints are completely missing.” They took some time to explain that was very unusual.

I resumed working but kept thinking about what they were saying. I knew that the NSA was always covering my tracks and hiding my fingerprints. I suspected something they were doing was spreading to other activities.

I took my suspicions to the CEO and engineering time. They didn’t know I was working for the NSA but thought that what I was suggesting was possible.

It was time to party. The company was celebrating a milestone. As part of that, they were re-creating early scenes from the company. Everyone but me was involved. I hadn’t been there, so I stayed back to watch. It mostly involved people singing, dancing, and laughing.

The CEO visited with me. “Do you want some tea?”

“Sure,” I said.

We were both lying down, which is how we worked there. He turned. Behind his back was a small white tray with two tiny white cups and a small and delicate teapot and creamer.

He handed me a thimble-sized cup. I reached for the pot to fill it but discovered it already full.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Wheatberry.”

I drank it down. It scalded my throat but tasted fantastic.

“Wow,” I said. “That’s amazing. I feel like it’s a shot of energy.”

Nodding, the CEO answered, I”It is,” and walked away.

The dream ended.

Dissecting A Diversion

I was ready to start a new chapter, and went back to where I’d stopped yesterday.

Main character was on a zeppelin. I decided I needed to get him there, so I moved back in time. Yeah, my process is very non-linear. I’d written what I saw the day before, and that meant he was on a zeppelin, taking a trip. Now I needed to get the hero and team there. I decided to pick up the action where he first encountered the zeppelin. I began visualizing that moment. The zepp is tall. How tall? How big? To the Google!

Wikipedia was a bitcoin mine about zeppelins. A company had built some and had been giving tours, but folded. The company was based at Moffett Field. Well, shoot, used to live there!

I needed technical information on the zeppelin. How many engines did it have? What’s its payload, crew size, etc. Remembering my time on Moffett, I recalled the U.S.S. Akron. Well, let me search and read.

From the Akron, I went to the Macon, and on through the history of German, British, and U.S. military and civilian zeppelins, designs, and disasters. Nevil Shute helped design R100 and R101 for the British military. A side path was followed to a summary about his autobiography, Slide Rule. Clicks uncovered information about hybrid air vehicles (HAV), dynastats, rotastats,  Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), the Airlander 10, and the Flying Bum.

This novel is set in a future dystopia so I needed to wrap my head around how HAVs may progress from now to then. Then, what limitations would be encountered, and how they would address those.

Hours had elapsed. I’d taken bathroom breaks, replenished fluids, and stretched and walked around. I hadn’t written, although I’d collected a stack of information as building materials. It was almost four by then, so…well, I needed a break. I’d do a Sudoku, and then write. But, by the time I finished the puzzle fifteen minutes later, well…I went on to my jigsaw puzzle in progress.

And that is how a novel doesn’t get written.

Got my coffee. Time to try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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