The Arcade Keeper

entry_196If you’ll pardon a momentary break in the narrative, the following is an account of my dream, as I remember it.

I woke up late, alone. Everyone else was already upstairs. It was the reunion, and we were staying at the home of K’s family, and I was disoriented. We’d been given use of the furnished basement. I got up and made my way to the hall, and saw there were three people loitering in the hall by the bathroom. I didn’t know who they were, but I assumed family. I ducked by them into a bathroom draped with wet towels that covered almost every surface.

I was unsure about the protocol in this situation, and worked up the nerve to ask the people if one of the towels was supposed to be mine. They were friendly enough, but laughed and told me there weren’t any more towels left. Just then K poked her head in and told me not to worry, she’d get another towel for me.

As she headed off I said, “Oh… yeah, everyone here uses the same bathroom.” I felt a little elitist saying it, and chastised myself. Different lifestyles were easy to denigrate, but I had to be more accepting. I hoped they didn’t take it badly.

Waiting for K, I wandered out into the hall, through the growing crowd of people, and saw that several more had gathered around a table for an informal meal, even as others stood in conversation clusters. From the kitchen, K returned with a large ceramic plate heaping with food, most of it made with white beans. I felt disappointment that she’d brought me all this food when all I’d wanted was a plate, and frustrated at how dependent it must make me look in front of her family. Did she think I couldn’t handle getting food on my own? She sensed something was up, but I just glowered and retreated through the crowd with my plate, looking for a secluded place to eat.

I headed down an immense wooden stairway that lead into a relatively quiet foyer. I hadn’t appreciated before just how large the house was, but the foyer was fairly cavernous. Still, there were some people about, so I continued to look for an out of the way spot. The foyer was lined with rooms, each behind glass French doors, and several other halls lead away. On instinct I took a left at the base of the staircase, toward a pair of doors beneath a curiously low overhand. In fact it seemed like the ceiling was sagging as if to block entrance, and in the glass of the door I caught a reflection of two figures, one right behind mine. I looked around, but I was alone.

As I approached the doors, I sensed a presence, and a strong feeling of hauntedness came over me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through this just now, and stood for a moment, and reconsidered. But I heard people behind me, not very far away, so I went with my first instinct.
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Pooh Dream

entry_148I had a dream where I was Christopher Robin in a Winnie the Pooh tale. It was a traditional story in most respects, except for the fact that Eeyore was very large–quite a bit larger than in Milne’s imaginings. In fact, in my dream Eeyore was a Titan, and he seemed unshakably despondent about it. All of us, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, Piglet, Pooh, and I, sat in the shade of one of Eeyore’s massive grey hooves. Eeyore lay on his side gasping for air, each strained breath sending twisters rolling across the meadow a few miles away. Our heads were hung in despair for Eeyore, whose structure would soon fail to support its own mass. Tigger, ever the oblivious optimist, suggested a game to lighten our spirits.

‘Hide and seek!’ Tigger exclaimed. Eeyore grunted a thunderous response that I was at a loss to interpret.

‘But Tigger,’ Pooh said, ‘Eeyore won’t be able to hide at all. He’s so big that we’d be able to find him for sure.’

‘He’s right,’ said Piglet. ‘Eeyore’s much too big ever to play any games ever, ever again.’

‘Nonsense!’ Tigger responded without hesitation. ‘We’ll make Eeyore “it,” and we’ll all hide!’

‘But where shall we hide?’ asked Kanga. ‘Eeyore is on top of all the best hiding spots,’ Roo added.

‘Oh dear,’ said Pooh.

Tigger bounced over to Pooh and threw a paw over his shoulder. ‘Not a problem, Pooh bear’ said he. ‘We’ll hide inside Eeyore! His left ear is draped over the glen. If we’re quick enough we can all make it there before he finishes counting!’

With an excited squeal, Piglet immediately ran off in the direction of Eeyore’s left ear. The rest of them looked at me in unison. ‘How high shall we tell Eeyore to count?’ Pooh asked in their behalf.

I didn’t know what to say, but heard myself answering nonetheless. ‘I’ll tell him to count to a million,’ I said. ‘That should give us time to find good hiding spots.’ The matter decided, we all headed off while Eeyore’s ragged croaks echoed over the countryside.

The rest of the dream is kind of a blur, but I do remember that Eeyore didn’t make it half way before going completely mad, I think because Piglet unwittingly burrowed into our gigantic friend’s brain. Eeyore brayed and brayed, and didn’t sound like his old self at all. In fact, we all wished he would just shut up, and had to leave the Hundred Acre Wood so that we could concentrate on our games. As for hide and go seek, we all decided that Piglet should be ‘it’ next, just as soon as he sponged the gore from his person.

The Perfect Line

This morning–and this is true–I had a dream unlike any that I can recall. There were no images except for words scrolling by, and no characters except for a disembodied man’s voice reading the words as they crawled. Unlike most dreams where words seem elusive upon waking, this time the entire script remained in my mind almost intact. I quickly wrote everything down from memory. Here is what the voice said:

Have you ever been in a conversation in which you’re fully engaged and contributing easily, and it’s all going so well that, like a chess player, you begin to think of responses and rejoinders several sentences in advance, until at one point you think of a turn of phrase that, while delectable, doesn’t quite fit into the context of the conversation, but instead of discarding it completely you inexplicably continue turning it over in your head just because you appreciate the rhythm and flow of your fragment? Isn’t it especially funny how you’ll keep the germ of an idea even when it’s not perfect–even when it might be far more efficient to discard it completely and respond in a more natural way? “Or blues, in this case,” you think, even though the conversation has nothing to do with “blues” and you don’t even know where that phrase came from, but the key is “in this case” which sounds quite smart, particularly since no one’s said “in this case” yet. Then you think, “or words, in this case,” which is the perfect fit for the conversation at hand because it allows you to riff off of the words of the other person while at the same time sounding confident with impressive economy. All you have to do is wait for an opportunity – have you missed one already? You kind of drifted off there for a moment, though it will be worth it when the entire conversation benefits from your contribution.

As the dream faded, and as I drifted back up toward the surface, I remember thinking, “That’s one damn insightful observation about the mechanics of the human psyche. Dammit. It would have been perfect for a story… if only I’d thought of it first.”


entry_13I dreamed that several multinational oil companies had merged specifically to form a fresh new marque under which they could peddle their product. This new venture was called Shambo Gas, and I saw the signs glowing everywhere, blue against the starry black sky. I couldn’t believe how quickly they had erected the stations, nor how densely they’d packed them. But mainly, I thought the name sounded vaguely like some kind of fast food chicken joint. Then again I guess their marketing worked, because I remembered the name even after I awoke.