May 17, 2009

recurring dream

I have a recurring dream.

It takes place when I'm about four or five years old.

My mom and my older brother are there, too.

We're walking through a carnival.

It's night time. The place feels abandoned. Some garbage is blowing around.

And it's cold. We're wearing our winter coats.

At first glance it's a colorful place. But only because it's supposed to be.

Upon scrutiny, I see that the whole thing is rusting at the edges, that the paint is peeling and that everything is eroded by time.

And it seems that we are the only ones there.

It always starts with us walking through a gate with a turnstile.

As many times as I've had this dream, and as obvious a metaphor as it is, I can't put my finger on it.
The Wiz is the closest visual reference I can think of - but, even that is way off.

It's not a spooky dream. It's not a nightmare.

There are couple of alternate endings:

One is where I get on an elevated train.

But, before I get on the train, I notice that it's falling apart. It's extremely rickety and seems to run right into the sunset.

It's built higher up than any actual train. There seems to be nothing else on the landscape, save for this train.

The landscape is a wasteland.

The train is a cross between el train and roller coaster.

I always get onto this train. It either goes to a really bad part of town - or stops suddenly. Mid-air, as the track simply ends.

Not that we fall off, or anything. It just ends. Ride over.

Sometimes there is a steep, three or four stories high, single flight of metal stairs that I have to climb down to get off the platform.

This, in itself, is a recurring theme in my dreams.

I'm always climbing down the sides of buildings on little, rusted out fire escapes or small metal ladders.

The other ending is that I wind up at this apartment (that has been featured in many of my dreams) that I have never been to in real life.

This apartment has whole rooms that I never use. This apartment is disturbingly big.

And those rooms (that I never use) are filled with someone else's extensive, dusty collection of glass items (and it looks like the prop aisle at my old job - except that I had this dream before I ever worked there).

The kitchen is small and the window looks out onto water.

But not Lake Michigan, or the river. It's the Atlantic.

Though I've never seen the Atlantic (except while in Ireland).

This is definitely the Atlantic, as seen stateside.

This dream always leads into one of two other dreams.

(but I can't get into that or I'll be doing this all day)

I should mention that, just last night, there was a documentary on tv about old amusement parks.

Some of them date back to the early 1900's.

Somehow, whole elements of my dream were addressed in this documentary.

Fact: I've never been to Coney Island.

Or, for that matter, Riverview - Chicago's equivalent..

Mostly because Riverview closed in 1967. The year I was born.

But I've heard people talk about it. One thing I always hear is how run down and crime ridden it became in it's final years of operation.

So, can anyone clear this up for me?

May 11, 2009

convenience store

Wait. This liquor store.

What again is the problem with this liquor store?

It always hits me when I walk in. But, by then, it's too late.

It was about two years ago that I got a call from the credit card people informing that there had been strange activity on my card.

At the time, I hadn't used the card in close to a year.

But, then, there was this barbecue we had to go to (all of a sudden) and, just as we were about to step onto the train, we realized: we forgot the beer.

So we stopped at the aforementioned liquor store.

And I used my credit card.

I remember that we then left the liquor store and went directly to the barbecue.

Hours passed.

There were a few mosquitoes. But that was ok.

It was the fact that the guest of honor's husband was a rocket scientist that seemed to bring everyone together.

This went on for about an hour:

Seriously, he's an actual rocket scientist - isn't that so funny?

There were some problems with the neighbors, though.

They kept coming into the yard and demanding parts of the pig that was being roasted.

I thought they were kidding.

The roasting of a whole pig. I don't get it. I never have.

This has nothing to do with vegetarianism.

I do like baked apples, though (so there's that).

In all honesty, I didn't think that anything odd was going on.

I thought the party throwers knew the pig-enthusiasts.

I really did.

It was funny.

Like tv.


Everything was about what one would expect.

But then the sun went down.

And that's when things took a turn for the worst.

This barbecue, which took place in a neighborhood that seems like a good idea when the sun is shining, but becomes filled with crazy people and gun shots right around 8pm - wasn't worth it.

The fun.

The hilarity.

It was about at 8pm that it felt like time to say goodnight to our host.

And, about ten minutes later, we were home.


I turned on all of the lights and the stove and AC and the tv and threw away all kinds of recycling (just put it right into the incinerator) and made hundreds of phone calls.

I was just so happy to be home.


I had never been so relieved to see an eastbound Division Street bus as I was that night.

There might have been one other time. But that one was going west.

It was about eight years ago.

I was worried about being late for work and had been working with a teacher's assistant on something that completely confused me.

Somehow, I had forgotten that I worked that night, and (checking several times) realized that didn't have enough cash to take a cab (which in all fairness would have probably taken just as long as the bus).

But that was "work-related" bus happiness.

Not really the same thing (bus-wise).

So, at any rate, we got home ok.

From the barbecue. That night. Almost two years ago.

Hungry, we went right into the kitchen to make grilled chicken salads with beats, ginger, cilantro, and the merest whisper of homemade sesame dressing.

As well, left-over tacos, cold spaghetti and half a bag of potato smiles.

Then, at some point, our friend came over (to make a series of crank calls) and, seeing as she brought over a magnum of vodka, we drank vodka.

And, I remember that I slept well.


Then, the next day was a Sunday. So I had lots to do before the work week started all over again.

Mondays: they're either good or they're bad.

And, seeing as Mondays set the tone for the whole week - the things I do on Sunday can be very important.

Especially as, depending on where they fall within a month, certain Mondays can effect an entire
month - if not season.

I always think of this.

So, I had to iron a particular skirt again. As this skirt always required several ironings.

No matter. I simply got on with my day.

And that's all I remember about that day.

Then, if you can believe it, it was Monday (really Monday).

And that's when I got the call.

The credit card people. They said that there had been strange activity on my card.

There was a four hundred dollar charge for something that, if I heard the person correctly, was either an escort or one very expensive phone call (to that effect).

The liquor store!


They were the last place I had used that card (in a very long time). And this activity happened within hours of that beer purchase.

I got to say, as armchair forensic specialists go, I am up there.

Of course, the credit card people cleared up the whole thing for me.

And, for the most part, I put the whole episode out of my mind.

Still, I didn't go to that liquor store for a very long time.

And when I finally did, I noticed that I always used cash (for some reason).

I didn't think about it too carefully - it was just the way I rolled.

It was dormant in my mind.

I knew to use cash - but didn't concentrate on "why".

Sometimes we buy beer there.


But they also have a very nice selection of wine and cat food.

As well, doritos, aspirin and tampax.

It just so happens that they are open late and are quite convenient.

So I shopped there. Just today.

And that's when it hit me.

Like my life flashing before my eyes.

and I remembered everything..

May 6, 2009

like clock work

At precisely 11:11 (each day, sometimes twice a day) I think of a high school friend who announced whenever it was 11:11 that 11:11 was her favorite time.

This went on for years.

And, if it happens to be 8:22, my mom will say, hi dad.

Because 822 was the address of the two-flat where some member (or combination of members) of my family lived for a million years.

Only, now I do it, too. I say, hi grandpa.

I don't know when this started or how I got involved.

Furthermore, if it's 11:19, or if it's November 19th, I think of my grandmother and my brother because - just because.

You get what I'm saying.

That makes six potential instances (each day) where I think of these people or things.

In summary, if you want to be remembered make certain to announce your favorite time to people. Really drive it home. Tell them over and over.

Tell them. Then tell them again. Even though they heard you the first time.

Because, I haven't seen this person in years - and I think of her at least once a day.

Each day.