Andrea Said

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Awkward

He considered it a sign of his life that this shit happened.

First, he’d outlived his friends and family. Said good-bye to all of them. By the time some died, they’d noticed that his hair remained shiny and full, wrinkles didn’t mar his skin, and that he remained energetic and athletic as a twenty-year-old. “Good genes,” he always said, even to his parents and siblings. “Why didn’t we get those genes?” they wanted to know. “Good question,” he replied.

Now, they were alive again, not because of his good genes, but because he’d awakened back in time. “Impossible,” he told himself.

But there they were. He wondered if he’d have to say good-bye to them again, or would they finally watch him pass away.

Either way, it could be awkward.

A Dream of Changing Countries

It was an uplifting experience, although strange. 

I was with several groups of men. We’d decided we were changing countries. I connected with a few others to hunt for country candidates. An adviser was telling us what our options were.

My first choice was Japan. I headed to the JP room with a few other men and our adviser. We entered, and then our adviser had us wait while he checked on availability. Coming back, he told us, “Sorry, but there aren’t any openings.”

A little disappointed but still optimistic, we selected another place. I knew the name in the dream but I don’t know it now. Our adviser checked and confirmed, “Yes, eight openings are available.”

Only three of us went, however, with the others backing out. We had to answer questions to be accepted in the new country, and also to put on a shirt with cultural significance to that country.

After putting the shirts on, we entered an office. Bleachers filled with people were to one side. Most of the people were young women. The first man of my group went to a desk. There he was asked eight questions. He passed.

It was my turn. I went to the desk and was asked the eight questions. They were so simple and basic, such as, “What is your name? What is your favorite color?” The process amused me as I wondered, are there wrong answers? I passed and then waited for my friend to go through the process. Then the three of us were sworn in as new citizens and congratulated. A spattering of applause followed.

Now citizens of another country, we walked toward the exit. I remembered that I still had the other shirt on. Wanting my own shirt, I took the shirt off, gave it to someone, and then walked back, shirtless, looking for my own shirt, with everyone watching me. I found this quite funny. The dream ended with me finding my shirt, but leaving it off, I left.

To me, the choice of Japan was interesting. When I lived in Japan, it was a successful and enjoyable time, and I was very happy. That it wasn’t available meant, you can’t go back, but there are other choices. These will give me new experiences (changing the shirt, see?), but they’ll be like Japan, successful and enjoyable.

And it’s my choice.

 

Unchanged

She’d thought about using a computer but decided that she didn’t want to. That would have been cumbersome to learn, as would changing her phone. The green wall phone with its rotary dial and long cord was sufficient.

She kept her old color console television, bought from Sears in 1969, because it still worked, so why buy a new one? She had to buy new furniture in 1969 because the old stuff fell apart, but once the gold and green brocade stuff she bought started falling apart, she kept it, even though the fabric was torn and worn, stuffing was coming out, and the frames were coming apart.

Her hair-style was unchanged from 1968, which is also when she started dying her hair brown, so she looked much the same in this century as she did the last. She loved Campbell’s tomato soup and had it almost every day for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich using Kraft American Cheese Singles, along with a Heinz dill pickle. Her breakfast was Quaker Oats followed by two cups of Maxwell House coffee that she made in her old percolator.

Days were spent reading Dick Francis, Nancy Drew mysteries, or Agatha Christie while watching Fox News. In the evenings, she watched The Family Feud and The Price is Right followed by Murder, She Wrote, The Andy Griffith Show, The Big Valley, and Perry Mason. Once in a while, she watched a movie, like The Sound of Music. For treats, she ate Little Debbie Cakes.

Not much had changed in her life, and that made her happy. Being happy, she saw no reason to change.

Monday’s Theme Music

Discussing my dreams with the cats as I fed the coffee maker and overfloofs, we went out for the paper and agreed, yep, just another day.

Paul McCartney’s song, “Another Day” (1971), squirted into my stream. Milliseconds later, I’m singing, “It’s just another day. At the office where the papers grow, she takes a break,
drinks another coffee and she finds it hard to stay awake, do do do dit do do. It’s just another day.”

The song is an observation of a woman’s life as she cleans, dresses, and works. Under that melody and the surface word, as they sing, “So sad, sometimes she feels so sad,” is a sense of milieu ringing through other pop-rock songs of that era, is this it? Is this life? And accepting that, yes, this is life, people hunt escape. It’s just another day, over and over and over, going through motions while looking and hoping for some unspoken other thing.

 

The Day

He put his dirty clothes in the recycle and tossed his used tissue in the laundry.

Returning to his study, he reached for his coffee, and remembered, he’d gotten up to get his coffee.

Leaving his study, he realized he put his dirty clothes in the recycle. Getting them out, he found the used tissue in the laundry, blew his nose into it, and threw it in the trash.

Then he fed the cats a few treats and went into his study to read, where he reached for his coffee.

Remembering, he’d gotten up to get his coffee, he laughed at himself. At least he was getting a lot of steps in today. He checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Getting up to go find it, he left his study, went to the kitchen, and made a cup of coffee with his Keurig. Satisfied, he returned to his study with his coffee to read, and then checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Then, he remembered, he’d put it in his shoe.

Leaving his study, he went into the other room, fed the cats a few treats, and made a cup of coffee.

This was going to take some time. Coffee would definitely help.

Rude Interruption

I was sitting and chatting with a friend the other day when my body said, “Pee.”

“Excuse me,” I told my body, “but that was very ru — ”

“Pee!”

“I was talki — ”

“PEEEE!”

“What are you saying? It sounds li — ”

“PEEEE!”

“In a minute. Let me finish this conver — ”

“PEEEEEE!!!”

Sighing, I stood. “Excuse me a minute,” I told my friend, and went off to the restroom.

Honestly, sometimes my body is like a spoiled, willful child, and it gets worse as I get older.

 

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