Saturday, February 9, 2008

all I have to do is dream

I'm not sure that dreams are a suitable blog topic. to tell the truth, I'm not sure that I've successfully determined the proper use of a blog, what should and shouldn't be included (other than including links to other writings and not including anything I'd be ashamed to have my nieces read). but that's another topic.

I've been awake, out of bed, for over an hour this Saturday morning. which is unusual to me since I am not a progenitor (at least of small children). but that is what happens, I guess, when you combine certain prescription drugs and the desire to take a nap at 10:30 on a Friday night. hence, the early rise.

and the early rise, coupled with the lack of need to report to work, means the head's still cloudy, yet filled with really just one subject, the most recent subject, which is the previous night's dreams.

I'm attending some kind of school fair. it's a Greek school, or at least at a school named after a Greek female saint. and yet the saint's last name (call it Saint Christina Papandropolou, though that's not even close to what it was in the dream) has been changed. for starters, all the Ts in her given name have been changed, updated in a sense, to Ns. I ask a nearby student, kind of a chubby-faced boy of ten or twelve dressed in grey slacks, a white shirt and a maroon v-neck sweater, to explain. and he tries, but it's obvious that what he's telling me is merely repetition of what his teachers - Greek nuns, I assume - have told him.

and it sounds a bit like propaganda, so I continue down the sidewalk that, in this case, is literally on the side of the building. which is a strange place to have letters carved into the concrete facing, but there it is. and I can see where previous Ts have been butchered, changed into Ns. as if some kind of awkward political re-education had taken place.

the dream continues.

inside, presumably in the nun's quarters, I'm eating a late lunch with five or six or seven or eight over people at a table, maybe a long folding table, covered with a cheap plastic, red and white table cloth. there are several meat dishes, most resting on aluminum trays the size of cookie sheets. but the food is all too greasy. like a meatloaf with whole bell peppers and whole tomatoes as garnishes, near swimming in a dark orange grease.

I think one of the Greek nuns is my aunt, and my mother (though the woman does not look like my mother at all) is also at the table. and I am telling a joke. and the women laugh. but then my mother not only tells me (in front of all these other women, making me feel embarrassed in the process) that my humor has crossed the line (presumably the line of acceptable humor for Greek nuns in the kitchen of their living quarters), but deconstructs the joke, like an experienced comedy veteran, a mentor, and tells me the exact phrase that thrust the joke into inacceptability.

I get up from the table and go into a back room which has a washing machine but no dryer. nun's clothes, large, bulky, beige underwear and white garments that look like aprons, are hanging on a clothesline that diagonally bisects the room. but near the washing machine and the door is an inordinate amount of cat shit, and it's all over the place.

it's as if someone has taken a litter box and thrown its contents across the room, and then gone back and cleaned up just the litter.

I try to help clean, but it's like the cat shit is multiplying. I stop to try to disengage a gob of cat shit from the left arm of my sweater, a polyester blend v-neck like the chubby-faced boy outside, except my sweater is grey, not maroon. and while I'm trying to pick off the cat shit that is stuck to my sweater tightly, clinging, like each were made of velcro, my cell phone, in my front left pocket, vibrates.

the screen says that the call is from some county school, and somehow I know that the school is in the southeastern United States and somehow connected (maybe he teaches there?) to Cormac McCarthy. I answer.

the cat shit is still on my left sleeve near the cuff, and now more has appeared near my right shoulder blade. the woman on the phone tells me her name, the school she's calling from, and that's she calling on behalf of Cormac McCarthy. it seems she's responding to an e-mail or letter I sent him months and months before. 'yes m'am,' I say. 'that was me.' she asks me what I want, how she and/or Mr. McCarthy might be of assistance. and I have no idea.

I know that I wrote to Cormac McCarthy and that I had a specific request, but it seems I had long ago given up on the possibility of a reply and so now I have no idea why I wanted to talk to Cormac McCarthy. and the woman on the phone is waiting.

'can I call you back?' I ask. 'I have cat shit all over me.'

it's the quickest line I can come up with. and it happens to be true. the woman stammers in surprise and assent. and that's when I wake up.

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