Tuesday’s Theme Music

A cat and I were admiring the night sky. Well, I was admiring the sky. He was alternatively washing and darting sudden glances at sounds that he claimed to hear. I think he was messing with me, myself.

A full, bright moon obliterated views of the stars but turning, I found some to admire, and toyed with identifying constellations while listening for whatever it was the cat claimed to hear. Besides raccoons, cats, dogs, rats, deer, and opossum, critters like bears and cougars stalk the area.

Still beauty descended from the night. With it came memories of other times when I looked up at a night sky. Most prominently came a time when Bobby and I were on Sicily. Stationed in Germany together, we’d flown down on a training mission. Now trashed, we shared a rallying cry, “The beach at dawn,” and were trying to stay up until that point. It was oh dark thirty, and the Med’s nearby lapping waves was lulling us. Above was a fantastic array of stars, planets, and galaxies, the kind of sight that whispers, “Oh, wow.”

It made me think of “Wheel in the Sky”, a 1978 song by Journey. I sang a little of it. After I stopped, Bobby said, “Oh, man, I really dislike that song.”

Man, did we laugh.

As for reasons why he disliked it, I vaguely remember him mentioning that he thought it too sentimental, sloppy, and shallow. Maybe I’m remembering wrong.

I still don’t know what the cat was pretending to hear. I went back in, leaving him to prowl the night. Maybe the sound he heard was just a promise of something enticing.

The Shoe Dream

So, as many of my dreams have taken me in the past, there I am, back  in the military after being out for several decades. It’s not a surprising dream sanctuary, and makes sense in many practical ways.

Once again, I’m there, in a command center or command post such as the ones that I spent much of my time. This one has windows, though. That rarely happened. We were often in  secure buildings or underground. As with other dreams, I’m trying to put together a uniform, and it’s all messed up, because I’ve been retired from the military for so long. With much joking and laughing, I get it together and get a semblance of an Air Force uniform on. There are others in this situation, so I’m not overly concerned with the bit. We’ve been called up…enough said on that, right? Yeah, my mind’s workings can be pretty transparent.

I’m worried about my shoes, though. They’re on, but they’re not in great shape. Meanwhile, the situation is developing. I’m senior enlisted there, and the experienced command post guy. The commander, a colonel, has arrived. He’s concerned about the sit. I share his concerns. Beyond the windows is a swollen gray ocean active with slow, heavy waves. We’re walking along the command post, looking out the windows, searching for an impending attack from across the water. Lights draw our attention. We watch, and watch, hoping that they’ll resolve into something more than blurry lights in the distance, ready to act if they do.

We begin walking toward the other end of the command post. I’ve been thinking as the commander and I scanned the sea, and I’d developed a sense that something wasn’t right. Maybe we were looking at the problem the wrong way.

Just as I formulate this to myself, I turned to look through another window and see a huge wave. Rising like a movie scene, it’s rushing toward us. As I see it, a young airman shouts a warning about the wave.

I spring into action, giving orders and directions about what to do as people begin running in panic. As they’re panicking and only a few are doing as I say, I take it upon myself to act.

It’s too late. As I realize that the wave is about to hit, I tell everyone to find cover and find cover myself. The wave slams into the building. Coming through windows, the powerful water wrecks the interior.

It’s over in a flash. I survive in good condition because I’d protected myself. My biggest concern is my…shoe.

Yes, I’m upset because my right shoe is coming apart. It’s not shiny and black, as I kept it throughout my mil career, as trained to do, as we all did; it is dull and white. Man, am I exasperated.

But we need to take care of things. It’s clear that we can’t continue operations in the current location. I and two others, a male and female, take off walking for the alternate command post location. We’re walking alongside a parade ground. I’m lamenting about my shoe as I go.

While walking to the alternate location, we start moving faster. The two I’m with cross to the other side of the parade grounds. We engage in an unspoken pseudo-race at fast walking speed. They become distracted with conversation. Seeing that, grinning, I surreptitiously speed ahead. They notice, and start walking faster, almost catching up. The guy starts running, so I do, too. Laughing, we reach the alt at the same time, and wrestle to get through the door first. I win.

Inside the small, old places, we find things that were left behind, like candy, gum, toys, and clothes. I’m amused as I go through some of the stuff and think about how to make it operational as a new operating location.

Holding up a piece of old candy in a weathered wrapper, I say, “I remember leaving this here.”

The dream ends.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I either heard this one used in some television or movie function, or in a car going by. Suddenly, Paul Young’s 1985 cover of Hall & Oates’ song, “Every Time You Go Away”, is streaming through me. I was surprised when Young’s cover arose as a hit. I knew it from a H&O album from a few years before. People liked it on the album, with one neighbor, a big H&O fan, saying that it was her favorite song. I thought it was a little too slow on the album, and do prefer the Young version, even though it has that disco-techno sound that irritates me. I don’t know how she thought about it; I knew her when I was stationed on Okinawa. She and her husband rotated to somewhere else and disappeared from our lives. By the time the Young version was out, I’d also left Okinawa and was stationed in South Carolina.

The Fake Military Dream

I dreamed now that I wasn’t in the military, but others were pretending to be in the military. 

My wife and I were at a social gathering. Packed and chaotic, it seemed so odd. Cakes were being served. People were drinking coffee and lemonade. Nobody was in a uniform but a man who claimed he was a colonel was demanding subservience and respect because he was the ranking officer. He was an old and bent, gray fellow. We were to obey every order, even though these orders were nonsensical. Obeying him and doing as he told was part of the social gathering. Part of it, as example, was that we, the fake military, stood at attention in rank and file, making fake weapons out of paper. I told my wife, “This is ridiculous. Why are we doing this?” I was ready to step out of line and walk away.

She replied, “Shhh. Just go along with it.”

Her response annoyed me as much as doing the fake crap, but I was doing this for her. The fake weapon-making finally ended, though. Relief flooded me. Walking away, I said, “Thank God.” But no, more crap was to come. The colonel was to give me a haircut.

I wasn’t willing to go along with that. One, I didn’t need a haircut. Two, I wasn’t going to get a haircut just because of some set of tradition, fake rules, or crazy personalities. I didn’t quite grasp why my wife and I were going through this mess of socializing and obedience, and I became more irritated and impatient by the minute.

But I acquiesced, for my wife. I was led to a small, crowded cubbyhole. Sitting in the worn, red-leather barber chair, I closed my eyes as the fake colonel cut my hair and talked to me. I understood little of what he said. First, he had an unusual accent. Second, he spoke an erratic syntax. His statements seemed unconcerned with whatever had been previously said.

The haircut was fast. He barely did anything. Eyes still closed, I attempted to get out of the chair. I didn’t realize that I’d been belted into it, and that a restraining arm was down over my waist. Hitting them, I stumbled to one side.

I caught myself without falling. The colonel said, “What are you doing? Why did you get out of the chair?”

I answered, “Because I wanted out of the chair.”

I’d briefly opened my eyes to see what had happened, and then closed them again. The colonel said, “The customer doesn’t decide when to get out of the chair. I tell you when to get out of the chair.”

“I don’t agree with that,” I replied. “I wanted out of the chair, so I did it.” Then I added, lying, “Because I was dizzy, and I wanted to stand up.”

My wife then arrived, asking what’d happened. I told her about it, including the lie that I’d felt dizzy and left the chair to feel better. I kept my eyes closed as I talked to her.

Then I said, “I lied. I was’t dizzy. I wanted out of that chair.” I immediately felt better.

The colonel asked for payment. Opening my eyes and looking around, I saw the crap around me and shook my head. My eyes were open. I was done there. It was time to go, and that’s what I told my wife.

The dream ended.

 

Monday’s Theme Music

I like watching people, seeing where their eyes move, their non-verbal language, and how they interact with the world. The phone people — PP, or P2, the ones with attention glued to their phones as they walk along — demonstrate little expression or body language. It’s not a surprise; they’re usually totally invested in that little electronic device. They’re interacting with it. It changes when they’re on video, or actually speaking someone, and — of course! — when a selfie is being orchestrated.

As an aside rant, the P2 annoy me when they’re absorbed by their phone and walking. They expect everyone to move aside and look out for them. Sometimes, I’m an asshole, and I don’t move.

Today’s song was inspired by a woman walking toward me. She was quite the haughty person, swapping all with her eyes but avoiding eye contact with anyone. I do understand it more, now, why many women avoid contact that could be misconstrued with others. Many have horror stories about how their friendliness was misconstrued, leading to ugly encounters with men who thought the women were flirting with them.

This woman’s dark eyes struck a chord with lyrics from a past song, “Here comes the woman with the look in her eye.” Before she’d come within six feet, Michael Hutchence and INXS were streaming “Devil Inside” through me. Although this song came out in 1988, when I was stationed in Germany, I’d heard INXS in the early eighties while on assignment at Kadena AB on Okinawa. That’s because I knew some Australian special forces members there. They knew of INXS’ music and introduced them to me. So INXS is forever associated with Okinawa in my mind.

Sad day when I heard that Hutchence had killed himself, thirty-seven years old. He was younger than me by four years, and it seemed astonishing that such a talented, young, and successful person could kill themselves.

I’ve learned a lot since then.

Friday’s Theme Music

Planning a trip home, to see Mom in PA. I guess as part of that, Harry Chapin’s 1974 song, “Cat’s in the Cradle” started playing. Perhaps it’s because I’m not planning to see Dad, and I feel guilty. Mom and Dad each have birthdays in October’s last week. Mom lives in PA, Dad lives in TX, and I live in Oregon. Arranging to see them is a challenge with flight schedules.

The song came out the week that I entered the Air Force, as my Dad had done decades before. During basic, we heard little music and saw little of the outside world until basic was finished. Naturally, hearing this song after my basic was completed struck me as completely, and sadly, true.

Anyone, “Cat’s in the Cradle” is in my stream, so I’m presenting it to you.

Monday’s Theme Music

Rain arrived yesterday afternoon, bringing its evocative smells and sounds. Late in the evening, I slipped out onto the covered back patio with a pair of my feline companions to enjoy the sounds. Steady but soft, the rain imbued the night with tranquility.

Out of my thoughts and into my stream came an old Eddie Rabbit song, “I Love A Rainy Night” (1980). I came to know the song through my wife. We were living in Texas then, assigned to Randolph AFB outside of Universal City, not far from San Antonio. She enjoyed the song and frequently played it on our stereo cassette player. Hearing the song takes me right back to that year and place.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Ever get up and feel like your day already feels like a genre of music? Perhaps you have swing or a big band sound reverberating through your soul. Maybe disco is moving your hips, or soul is talking to your lips.

It’s a hard rock morning for me. My poor spouse’s right shoulder gave her sudden issues last night, a problem continuing today. I had a first impulse to say, “She did something to her shoulder,” but as you age, you realize that you often don’t do something to your body; genetics or a developing weakness or something just says, “Time to pull the cord,” and goes out.

That was gestating in my mind’s background noise as its forecourt punted reminders and prioritized errands and activities. Some actions were rejected as too late; they’d need to wait another day.

That provided a niche in the mindstream for Def Leppard to begin their hard-rock ballad, “Too Late for Love” (1983). 1983 was part of my Okinawa years. We arrived there in 1981 and stayed until the end of 1984. Two years were spent in the United States, and then it was off to Europe. We came back from there in 1991.

It was a good decade.

Saturday’s Theme Music

You ever been asked, “You have too much time on your hands?”

When I worked, the answer was sometimes, “Yep.” Work was so segregated and encapsulated into specific roles and tasks that if I did mine fast, which I frequently did, I’d end up waiting for others with nothing to do. Exasperating. I often spent that time by reading company or government periodicals. Whether that was the military or corporate side, that helped me broaden my outlook, which was always a benefit.

Since I quit working to write full time, I never feel like I have too much time on my hands. My response is more likely to be an incredulous spewing of coffee, beer, or wine, followed by, “Are you kidding me?”

Someone asked yesterday. I didn’t spew – that was just in there for comic effect – but I did laugh and reply, “No.” Thinking about his question later brought up the 1981 Styx song, “Too Much Time on My Hands”. It’d been released just before my wife and I arrived for a four-year military assignment at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. We quite enjoyed that assignment. Thanks to the interesting culture, wonderful friends, educational opportunities, and the ocean, we never felt like we had too much time on our hands.

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