Secretly

The sun is beating on my head through my hat. I’m just the help. It’s a role that I enjoy.

Some.

“Boss me around, baby,” I do NOT say. I stay mute, gloves on hands, left arm in its removable brace, hoe nearby, spade in hand.

My wife is the master, planting her garlic for winter. She’s serious about her garden. Fresh bulbs had been procured, along with the right soil and fertilizer. Potatoes occupy the usual garlic winter home. A new one is required. “Somewhere in the sun,” she proclaims with steely vigor, looking around.

A song spurts into my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to —

“We need to move the compost bins,” my wife declares.

We’re in the side yard, where most of the gardening is done. Boo, the backyard panther with a white star on his chest (like he’s sheriff) (guess, that would be a floofriff) moseys along toward us, talking as he comes. One compost bin (previously emptied) is moved to a new location. With this happening, Boo retreats to the backyard He wants nothing to do with work.

I shovel the compost from the full one to the empty one’s new location. The song resumes it secret playing in my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world. And if you did, was she crying?

Yes, Charlie Rich is serenading my brain with “The Most Beautiful Girl” as I do as I’m told. (We’re now on breaking up the soil where the garlic is to reside.) I blame my mother for this song. While Charlie Rich’s voice and the accompanying music is coming off vinyl courtesy of Mom’s mohogany Magnavox console stereo, it’s Mom singing along along with Rich who is actually singing in my head. She used to frustrate me by singing this song when I was trying to talk to her about it. It was apparently funny to her. The song came out in 1973. I would turn seventeen that year. I’d left home a year or two before to live with Dad, but would return to Mom for major holidays. Dad, single guy that he was, didn’t do holidays.

Why did Mom sing that song to me? Why was I singing today? These the mind’s mysteries. At least, they’re my mind’s mysteries. I don’t know what goes on in others’ minds. I barely comprehend what’s happening in my own.

“Now I just need to water them.” My wife was finished. I was dismissed.

It was a good day. Time to go wash my wife’s car. Wonder what song will be playing?

Oh, wait, Rose Royce begins their 1976 hot song, “Car Wash”. I was stationed in the Republic of the Philippines when it was out. My good buddy Bopie introduced it to me.

At least this one is task appropriate.

Layers of Dreams

I was walking, and needed to cross the street to get my car. I decided to sell that car and get a new car. A new car wasn’t available, so I kept walking.

It was a suburban street, one like a winding paved street through a housing sub-division. My mother came by in a car. She was driving a big green convertible. The top was down. Ice cubes filled the back.

She stopped to offer me a ride. I said, “Why are you driving this big boat?” It looked like a ’63 Lincoln. She replied, “It’s my car.”

“Why is the back was filled with ice?”

“In case I need it.”

Thinking, why would anyone need so much ice, I got in the car. She said. “Of course, I really shouldn’t be driving. I’m drunk.”

I said, “Let me drive,” and opened the door to get out. My wallet fell onto the street. I kicked it a little ways away. As I went to get it, my mother drove off. I could see her looking in her rearview, so I kept shaking my head.

I went into a store to buy a new car. As I walked around, I encountered others and realized that I wasn’t wearing a mask. Finding a mask, I put it on and continued walking around. I encountered many others without masks. I always asked them, “Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” They began avoiding me and leaving the store.

I was at home. People were coming for a meeting. I was preparing snacks for them. Mom was helping. I arranged food on plates. My wife came up with a large platter of uncut cheeses. “What should we do with these?” she asked.

“Cut them and put them out,” I replied. Then, I cut them all with one knife, making little slices as Mom and my wife watched. As I was placing the slices on plates with other food, someone said, “The plan is changed. We won’t be eating. We’re meeting someone else.”

My wife asked, “What do we do with this cheese?”

I answered, “Wrap it up.” Then I wrapped it up, to show her what I meant.

I still needed a car. Going outside, I found a gleaming black machine. I circled it, admiring it from different perspectives. “I think this is my car,” I told a friend who came by.

He laughed. “Of course it is.” Seeing confusion on my face, he said, “It’s always been your car.”

Dream end.

The Floating Dream

A brief one. I was floating in my home’s dining room, the actual place where I live. Upright, my feet were pointed toward the floor, and I was watching it pass as I floated.

Someone handed me a brown package. “This was just delivered.”

I opened it; my mother had sent me new dress shirts. The one on top was bright blue. There was also new underwear for my wife that she’d been looking for. I called out, “Mom sent me some new shirts and included new underwear for you.”

I awoke. Finding myself flat on my back on my bed, I felt disoriented. The ceiling shouldn’t be facing me, I thought. I’m floating. Sitting up, I realized that I’d been dreaming, but the floating had felt so real.

The Clothes & Garage Dream

I had a large new home which made me proud and happy. Then, dream switch, I was visiting with Mom.

Mom wasn’t home. She and the girls were out. I was about my current age. Mom’s home was the small brick ranch style house where I lived from 1965 to 1972 in Pittsburgh before departing.

In the dream, she had coats hanging up outside, like on a clothes line that stretched from the house to a pole by the street. It was a temporary thing, but she’d had this going on for several days, and it bothered me. When it lightly rained and the rain then turned to ice, I decided that I needed to move them into the garage. However, the garage still needed to house Mom’s car. It was a one-car garage, so that would be a challenge.

Going through the garage, considering angles and materials, I began thinking about how I could do it. My little sisters (who had been out with Mom) arrived and commented on my plans, expressing doubts that it could be done. (They were their current ages and appearances, and in the dream, I wondered if they as little girls were with Mom while their adult selves were present in the garage.) I was gaining confidence that it could, then, and passed off their objections with jokes. They left.

As progress was being made, TC arrived. He and I had been stationed at Onizuka together. The same rank, he retired a few years after I did and moved away.

In the dream, he was coming for a visit. I was expecting him. He showed up in an exoctic burnt orange car, not the kind of vehicle that he would ever drive. He had young twin children with him. I played with them as we exchanged greetings. The car then went off and I realized that he’d been dropped off.

I returned to working on hanging the coats in the garage. I could show progress. TC asked what beers I had. I’d been planning that moment and replied as a joke with the names of a number of cheap American beers such as PBR, Schlitz, and Old Milwaukee. He always drank Miller Lite, and I knew that’s what he wanted.

Then, in a move that surprised me, he said he was going to the neighbor’s house. He said he and the neighbor were friends. As we discussed this, I stepped outside. The light rain had ceased. A car drove by on the street. Dusk was falling. My Mom’s neighbor was at a table in his yard, waiting for TC, who walked toward him.

The dream ended.

Recruiting & Black Powder Dream

Fade in…

They were trying to make me a recruiter. Military? I wasn’t sure.

A friend was a well-established recruiter and something of a star. They wanted me to be like him. When he appeared in my office dream scene, he was well dressed in a navy blue business suit with tie, clean-shaven, with tight, neat hair. He said some things that I couldn’t quite follow, and others asked brief, insightful questions. He answered those, and was gone.

Afterward, the rest said, “See? That’s how it’s done. That’s what we want you to do.”

I agreed. “That’s what I want to do. But how’s it done?”

They told me that I needed to begin by dressing right. I was dressed casually in jeans and a shirt. I need to change that clothing style, and also get a haircut.

I began by trying to cut my hair. It was short in the front, but grew as a long and thick, brambly bush down my back. I couldn’t see my hair, so I was trying to cut it by using my silhouette and a mirror that showed my side profile. Using a power hedge trimmer, I managed to cut some hair but it grew back.

Don, the superstar recruiter, returned. He sat in on a pitch I made. It was okay. I sat with him in his office as he reviewed information and made a pitch. I saw that it didn’t begin with the image. The image was a culmination and result, that his hard work behind the scenes, and intense activity was what created his success. I needed to put a lot more time in.

Fade out.

I’m at a house with Mom and her husband, and other family members. The house is large and the scene is chaotic. A lot of it has to do with everyone’s schedules and the bathrooms. There are two bathrooms, one on each level. Who is using which one? Mom is getting ready to go. It’s involved. She’s dressing, but also looking for her bag.

I find Mom’s back and help her with it. She wants a gun in her back. I find one and put it in. She’s still talking about that, but I keep telling her, “Mom, it’s already in your back.” She replies, “I want a different one.”

My sister is there, advising me on what to do. I’m confused. She tells me to use a litter box to go to the bathroom, then scoop everything up, take it to the bathroom, and flush it away. Her answer exasperates me because it seems ridiculous.

“I don’t want to use the litter box. That’s another and unnecessary step. I want to just use the bathroom.”

She and her friend laugh at that, irritating me.

I go up and watch a plumber work by the front door. An old friend goes by. He’s now my brother. I tell the the plumber that my brother does the same thing that the plumber does. He replies, “Yes, I know, I taught him.”

Scene shift. For some reason, I’m in a robe, in a tub, on wheels. The skin on my entire body is covered what seems to be blackface. It’s a powder, not a grease or lotion. As I rubbed it, I knew that it was sun protection.

My brother-in-law got in his car, a powder-blue Chevy convertible. I discovered that the tub was hitched to the car’s rear. As he started the car, we exchanged questions and answers about what he was doing. He was going to get the mail, it was just a short drive, and I could stay where I was. That horrified me. I didn’t want people to see me like this because they’d get the wrong idea.

Waving that off, he reversed his car. We were in a garage. He told me, “Just sit back and relax.” Then he backed the car up. The tub that I was in gently pushed the doors apart.

He backed into the sunlit driveway and the street with me in the bathtub in a robe in black powder leading the way.

I was mortified but I also enjoyed it. As promised, the drive was brief. People seemed to notice me but none seemed upset. The wind was blowing through my hair and the sun was warm and comfortable.

We pulled into the garage.

Dream end.

 

A Wrong-way Highway Dream

The highway dream began with ice cream.

Bowls of fresh ice cream covered a small table. There were different flavors and colors. As I checked the ice cream, I realized that some of it was blueberry. I thought, that would be tasty.

Mom was there, and my wife. Mom said, “There’s more ice cream in the freezer. The freezer’s not working so we need to get rid of all this ice cream because it’s going to melt.”

Get rid of ice cream? Why don’t we just eat it, or give it to people to eat?

Nobody wanted ice cream because they’d had too much ice cream. Cats and kittens came along. I scooped spoons of ice cream out for them to eat, which they did. Then I gave them a bowl.

Time to go. My wife and I got into a car. (I didn’t see the car at all in the dream but knew it as mine.) We were immediately on an broad, convoluted highway with many lanes. Traffic was heavy. Following signs, we ended up a hill along a long curve that went to the right.

I passed a man on a copper-colored motorcycle with a sidecar. He was in the right hand lane and I was in the middle lane. I thought my car had bumped him, and I worried. Trying to check, I couldn’t see the sides of my car. I couldn’t see any of the car, in fact, so I didn’t know where I was in the lane. This unnerved me.

I stepped on the accelerator to go faster. We were still going up a long, curving hill. The man in the copper motorcycle began passing us. I didn’t want that, so I pressed harder on the accelerator. Still going up the curve, we began slowing down, going slower and slower until we pulled into a place where the highway ended and stopped.

I didn’t understand. The highway had ended. How the hell did we end up here? My wife and I got out of the car to ask questions and found ourselves with others in the same situation. We’d all been following the highway but had ended up stuck here, off the highway.

We were told, “You were all going the wrong way. That’s why you’re here.”

Going the wrong way? I’d been going straight, following the road. There wasn’t any other way to go. How could that be the wrong way? And, I protested, “It doesn’t make sense. The faster that I tried to go, the slower I went.” It frustrated me.

Another man agreed, saying, “Yeah, that’s what was happening to me.”

It seemed like I could learn more up a small hill. It was a paved white cement ramp. I started that way but people told me, “Don’t go that way. If you do, they’ll arrest you.”

But I wanted to see what was going on, and I thought that going up there could help.

“No,” others kept telling me, including a woman dressed in an official-looking uniform. “If you go up there, you will be arrested.”

A few others were going up there. From what I could see, they were being taken away.

I decided not to go up there. Staying where I was wasn’t working, though. I told my wife, “Come on, let’s get back in the car.”

“Where we going?” she asked as others asked me, “Where are you going? What are you doing?”

I said, “I’m going back down there.”

“But that’s the wrong way,” everyone said.

I said, “I know. But I’m going back down there, to where the wrong way began, and figure out how to get out of here.”

People were telling me not to go there, but I was adamant. I felt, being who I am, I could go back and figure it out, and fix the problem. With my wife with me in the car, I began driving backwards back down the road.

The dream ended.

A Chaotic Collage Dream

It was messed up from go, a frenzied and frantic circus. It took me a while to work into any semblance of coherent structured memory, and I could be wrong. Then, again, this is what I took from it, so…

The dream included Mom, wife, peeing, being in the military (yeah, again), cleaning, and, well, chaos.

Chaos was the overall theme. In the beginning, I needed to use the restroom. After I did, Mom came in to clean after me while I changed into my Air Force uniform and hurried off to work as my wife kissed me good-bye.

I was in command and control once again. Once again, I faced a disorganized situation. Aircraft were inbound. Some carried VIPs, but an inspection team was also due, and we were not ready. I scrambled to get us ready, working up checklists and procedures, trying to train other people, and setting up flight-following boards. This was being done against radios blaring with communications with commanders and aircraft, and ringing telephones.

Then I had to use the restroom again. Rushing over there, I found the facilities inadequate, but my bowels didn’t care. Lowering myself to the tiny seat on the tiny bowl, I did my business. When I finished, I discovered I’d pissed on the floor.

As I discovered that, old women who were present chided me, “Oh, your mother isn’t going to be happy about that.” Well, no, d’uh? Who would be? I rushed to clean it up using white towels, but there seemed too much of it for the towel, and it was taking up too much time.

Mom arrived, as the women predicted (and noted). While chastising me for the mess, Mom shooed me away (“Go to work, I’ll clean it up.”) She dropped to her knees to clean the floor as I donned my uniform again and raced away.

My wife intercepted me to tell me that there was a problem. As she did that, my co-workers called out to inform me that the aircraft were arriving. Then the commander called me and said, “There’s a change of plans.” Oy, vey,

The dream ended.

Yeah, I see how it all speaks to my current frenzy of thought and direction.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s music comes from visiting Mom last week. Whenever I’d talk about driving to my sister’s house, Mom would ask me which way I was going to go and then tell me which way she was going to go. My route varied by time of day, what I was seeing along the way to fill in memories, and what I’d learned about the road construction and congestion during my stay. Mom always took the same route. By the third day of this, Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” (1976) was in my stream.

Fleetwood Mac’s song is about relationships. In a way, that’s how it was for me, when thinking of Mom and remembering this song.

Although I like the studio version of this song better, I chose this live version. I like the nakedness and clarity of the band members. Seeing them reminds me of the people behind the song. The song had a lot of personal reasons behind it as Nicks and Buckingham had broken up; this song was written out of his pain.

Beyond that, I love watching Mick pounding away on the drums. Wow.

The Purple Banana Dream

I dreamed that we were preparing for a celebration. I was in a sprawling place that seemed like restaurant and home, offering indoor and outdoor rooms. Although the rooms weren’t well lit, I could see that planning and setup was going on. My wife was present, doing some decorating, along with tall men who I didn’t know. Then three of my sisters and their husbands appeared, along with some of their children and grandchildren. My sisters were all young, too young to have grandchildren. My wife and I were young as well.

An excited feeling permeated the gathering. As it went, I saw my mother off in the distance and realized we were preparing the celebration for her. My other sister, the oldest appeared, walking through the complex. She, weirdly, looked her current age.

Setup was almost complete. I said, “I need to go shower and get ready.” I went off to find my rooms. Stopping by a bowl, I saw a purple banana amidst the yellow bananas. I thought, banana, grabbed it, peeled it, and started eating. I was surprised to find my sisters and their families behind me, like they were following me. They all seemed expectant, like they were waiting for me to do something.

I started eating the banana; its flesh was purple. I then thought that my sister had wanted the banana. I asked her, ready to offer her some of what was left. As she said, “No, that’s okay,” the banana was a yellow banana with white flesh again. I said, “I thought this was a purple banana.” When I said that, I peeled down the next part, The banana was purple again, with no evidence of yellow peel, but with some white flesh above the purple flesh.

Finishing the banana, I said, “Okay, I need to go get cleaned up.” I headed for my room, wending my way through the poorly-lit room around people and furniture. It was becoming quite noisy. Part of that was that the floor wasn’t carpeted and was wood, so all the people walking made it sound like constant, erratic drumming was underway.

Reaching the door to my room, I paused. My sisters and their families, without their husbands, were behind me. I said, “Um, you guys realize that I’m going in here to shower, shave, and change clothes, so I want privacy. You can’t come in.”

Laughing, they separated, going off in different directions.

I entered the room. They weren’t the expected rooms. I’d been in my rooms earlier, and these were different. As I walked into them, I saw stairs going down to my left. Straight ahead was another room. In there, I found a toddler in a high chair, eating from a bowl. Seeing the child, I realized that I was in my sister-in-law’s room. As I turned to retreat, she came up the stairs. Laughing, I greeted her and said, “Sorry, I’m in the wrong rooms. I thought these were my rooms, but they’re your rooms. I’m always getting lost in these rooms.”

The dream ended.

As I awoke and chuckled about the dream, thinking about how much of my family was represented (and then, my extended family, via my sister-in-law), I remembered the Prince song, which happens to be a personal favorite, “Let’s Go Crazy”.

“Let’s look for the purple banana until they put us in the truck, let’s go.”

Of course, he goes on to sing, “Let’s go crazy. Let’s go nuts.” Is that what my mind is telling me? Just let go?

I do know that I woke up feeling fantastic and energetic. I’m ready. Let’s go.

 

 

 

 

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