The sadness of aging is often not what happens to you but the losses of others, from friends who age and disease, to our heroes.
I, and my generation, has seen a lot of our heroes passing away. The inevitability of death can’t be denied. It happens, but we don’t know what goes on past the door. There’s a lot of guesses and conjecture, and some promises and prophecies, but most of us need to wait until we go through the doorway before we find anything, if there is even anything there.
These reflections came as I thought about my dreams last night. I didn’t remember much except one. As I went through the exercise, though, the first lines of the Cranberries’ “Dreams” (1992) entered the head stream.
Oh, my life is changing everyday
In every possible way
And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems
Those lines reflect my life philosophy. Nothing is what it ever fully seems. We live on spectrums of seeing, remembering, sometimes understanding with a glint of blinding insight, but more often, applying hopeful explanations to what we don’t know, all in efforts to uphold and sustain this stubborn illusion of reality. But then, hearing Dolores O’Riordan’s unique voice in my head, I remembered that she’d passed on, slipping through the next doorway when she was forty-six. She’d drowned in a bathtub. Reading about it now on Wikipedia, I learn her blood-alcohol level was .33. Empty alcohol bottles were found in her room.
So, in memory of dreams and life, here’s today’s theme music.
Zorofloof (floofinition) – Pets who are manifestations of a supreme deity that come into being to deliver progressively deeper and more insightful knowledge about reality’s nature to Earth’s inhabitants.
In use: “She couldn’t explain it, but her cat’s presence calmed her while enabling deeper thinking and sharper, clearer memories. When she mentioned this to a friend, he smiled. “Zorofloof.” His expression, tone, and soft volume reflected the introduction to something more enigmatic.”
“Keep the change,” he said, turning away from the cashier.
“You always say that,” his friend said as they walked away as the cashier put the coins into the tip jar and said, “Thank you, sir, your order will be right up.”
“Habit.” The other shrugged. “I don’t want change.”
“But it adds up.”
He was about to reply when his friend said, “Hey.”
As he turned, his friend flipped a silver coin at him. He caught it without thinking, mostly as protection to keep it from hitting his face. Within a second, he raised the coin and looked at it. Seeing it was a nineteen seventy-eight quarter, he said, “Fu — ”
Then he was gone.
Puzzled, his friend blinked at the empty space. He’d lost the thread on what he’d been doing. He’d had a quarter and he’d been thinking…something…
Rubbing his head, he tried to remember. There’d been something there, but where that something had been, it seemed like there was now a hole.
Sighing, he told himself, it’ll come back to him. He was getting old and forgetful, like his parents. Turning, he hunted for a table, sure that he’d forgotten something important, growing less certain that it would ever come back.
Hearing unfamiliar banging and creaking sounds, he opened his eyes and found the ceiling.
Pink, and swaying. It felt like he was on a boat. Or would that be a ship?
He closed his eyes. Something was hung. Reboot. Try again.
When he next opened his eyes, he was looking at correctly colored sage green walls. Sunlight was streaming in.
Feeling better, he rose to hit the head and discovered a limp. He’d not had that before. As its presence was being digested, he passed the bathroom mirror.
He was female. Not bad looking, about the correct age, forty-five. Same colored hair. Those were starts to being the right person in the right reality.
More to digest.
He continued to the toilet. His cats and dogs must be out of the house. The primary reasons for keeping them was to help keep reality anchored. It didn’t work, if they weren’t around. Ergo, they weren’t around. That’s why his start-ups were hanging.
As he sat to piss, he considered going back to bed to reboot again, but it was already eight thirty. Time was the one constant that didn’t change when a start-up went awry.
Coffee, he decided, wiping, flushing, washing his hands and heading for the kitchen. He thought while popping a K-cup into place, coffee always helped release the hang ups. It was remarkable that way. Once he got the coffee into his system, he’d find the animals and bring them into the house. Then he’d decide. The house seemed correct, as did the reality outside his window. Maybe he’d enjoy being a woman for a day, or take a nap later and reboot.
Sipping the coffee, he smiled. Coffee always helped. If that ever changed, he didn’t know what he would do.
Feeling his Fitbit buzz, Thomas leaped up, hurrying out of the house as he checked the time and confirmed, yes, 4:59.
It was sunny, which was helpful. He ran out of the house to the sidewalk, scattering the snoozing cats on his porch into three directions. On the sidewalk, he stopped, panting fast and holding still. He checked his shadow. It was crisply defined on the white pavement. The other wasn’t there.
The Fitbit said it was still 4:59. It didn’t show seconds, which he lamented. Cars rumbled by, breezes tousled the trees’ leaves, and the cats crept out to see what he was doing.
Then, it must have been five, because the shadow was there. “Who are you?” Thomas said.
“Your shadow,” the shadow said. “One of many.”
“Yes. You’re the one true person. The rest, like me, are just shadow.” The voice and shadow were fading.
“Wait,” Thomas said, a ridiculous request because the shadow couldn’t wait. It was a five o’clock shadow. Why did it appear? What did it all meant?
He didn’t know. At this point, only his shadow knew for sure.
Once again, dreams thundered in like tornadoes, leaving much to contemplate in their wake. The most prominent dream was about unknown talents and changes, in my mind.
- I could see things that others couldn’t see, including the future.
- While I was demonstrating this to a friend, I used a wrinkled, old Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog to show her.
Many people were present in my dream. Most were strangers, but friends and family were present. We seemed to be in a large room in the upper floors of a tall building. Windows were on the two outer walls. This vantage let us look out across a cityscape. Crisscrossing white cement roads connect business parks surrounded by manicured green spaces reminiscent of places that I worked at in San Mateo, Palo Alto, and Foster City, California.
Inside, we were looking at long gray counters located under the windows. Strolling along, we were looking at these. To me, they looked blank. I don’t know what others saw, but looking at the gray counters absorbed them. Seeing an orange button on the table, I pushed it. Silver metal boxes arose at regular intervals on the counters. They had controls on top. Feeling bold, I examined the controls of one. They seemed simple. Although I didn’t know what they did, I pushed one.
The light changed, revealing other objects around us. Turning to another box, I pressed another button and exposed another aspect of our hidden reality. My thought was, these machines help us see the world. I was excited and wanted to talk to others, but when I did, I discovered that they didn’t see the boxes or their influence.
Taking my mother by her shoulder, I pointed to where the boxes were. When I did that, the boxes became visible to her. Likewise, when I guided her to the two boxes that I’d used and pointed out their influence, she could now see them. Understanding that I seemed to be a connection, I went to others and showed them. Excited conversation spread as more and more people were engaged. I pressed more buttons. The lights shifted into something dark that revealed bright strips of existence and threads running from the people to the sky. I couldn’t see where the threads ended, but I thought that the strings went to stars.
My friend came in. A college professor who teaches network security and cyber-forensics, I told her what had happened. She was astonished. As I told her about this, I realized that since I’d been exposed to the machines’ influence, I could now see these things without the machines.
To prove that to her, I found an old Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog. Using it, I told her, I can see the future. Then I knew, it’s not the machines or the catalog, but using them encouraged me to see.
I was astounded. Even as understanding seeped into me and epiphanies bloomed, I grasped that if I touched some of the exposed objects, I could peel away more limitations. Touching the closest thread, which was connected to my friend, I saw her future flash into existence like a giant movie screen. Gazing up into it with amazement, she and I said, “Wow.”
The dream ended.