Saturday, January 19, 2008

in dreamy-dreamland I was cruisin.

I remember when I was growing up I had a recurring dream that always woke me up. It wasn't really a nightmare, but more of a dream I wished I could've controlled.

It always started out the same way: me struggling to reach for the surface in a clear-blue roaring river. I'd pop to the top, breathe in some fresh air, and realize I'm quickly being taken downstream somewhere. As I looked to where the river was heading, I'd see things from an aerial view somewhere behind me and take in the whole scene. There was a ridiculously high and straight waterfall which I was about to head over, and the landscape beyond stretched out in all different shades of green with a river winding through it, mountains in the background, and the sun setting behind it all. Sort of breathtaking.

Then I'd be back in the viewpoint of a half-drowned kid about to go over a waterfall and I'd sort of launch over the edge, just out past the rest of the falling water. I would try to flail about, grab onto something stable, or even look for something to save myself, but all of my muscles had completely stiffened up. I was stuck there, tumbling through the air in front of a waterfall in a half-fetal position, screaming obscenities through a mouth that wouldn't move.

It was really strange, and I would always wake myself violently, bolting upright in bed and gasping for air before I would hit the water.

I haven't had that one since I was a little kid. The ones I've been having lately have been involving guns, and bad guys, and moral dilemmas. I'm either chasing or being chased. Or we're all in war on a hillside, or in the jungle. Sometimes it's just running through the city. Nondescript, just the blur of storefronts and buildings, trees and fences and crossroads, and the periodic checking over the shoulder.

Though, the other day I had one where I was at a large house in the suburbs with a stone horseshoe driveway. John Cusack came over, (we had plans to go for lunch) but instead of driving he arrived in his new personal helicopter. I was excited. He was excited. He really liked flying his new helicopter.

We took off for lunch, staying above the main roads and obeying all traffic laws. We stopped at stop signs, and waited for a red light to turn green before continuing. Apparently, it was only a private residential helicopter, not a commercial one. According to the FAA, I guess he had to adhere to the rules of the road while flying within city limits. I didn't get to fly it, but it was still fun. We got some sandwiches and had good conversation. John Cusack is a pretty cool guy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

there's been an accident.

I look down to see a swath across my middle, fluid pouring out like heavy cream onto the stainless steel table below. It spills over the table's edge, down the legs, and gathers in a pool on the tile floor. I watch for a moment, then collect myself, get cleaned up, and go back to the floor.

I started working at a restaurant about a month ago, and I've gotten fairly comfortable there, although I'm definitely still "the New Guy." The people I work with are pretty friendly and it's nice to have some extra cash. The clientèle can be a bit pretentious, but then again, I guess the menu is also.

There is nothing done just straight up. Everything is preceded by several adjectives, and is either infused with or accompanied by something. Fresh mozzarella and pesto, topped with a red onion, tomato, balsamic mix. Toasted crostini layered with smoked chicken sausage, queso fresco, arugula, roasted red pepper, and a lemon pepper cream cheese. Or the challah bread french toast, stuffed with apple cream-cheese streusel, and topped with pralines and organic maple-pecan syrup.

The espresso machine just got a tune up, so now I can make that half-caff, low-foam, skim chai latte that I so dearly love. I bring one (or something similar) to a woman's table as she parks her double-wide, climate controlled, stroller SUV and unleashes two demons. I find some crayons for the kids, take the order, and fetch some kid-safe cups.

It's a slower day than usual, and things are running pretty smoothly. This woman turns out to be less trouble than I expect and the rest of the afternoon is fairly uneventful. I take a break after lunch and go back to the kitchen to make a half sandwich. Fresh baked wheat bread with turkey, provolone, tomatoes, romaine, and pesto mayo, plus a cup of chicken minestrone.

Afterward, I restock some glass bottles of Sprite and Coke, and put together some garnishes for bloody marys. I've still got an hour left, but to my surprise, I get sent home early. I took a different route to work this morning, and I now backtrack—walking down the road to catch the bus.

It's gotten chilly all of a sudden, and waiting for the bus I notice a man shiver and draw his coat tighter. Another guy adjusts his scarf and buries his hands in his pockets. Across the street, a young man pumping gas zips his jacket, throws up his oversized hood, and crosses his arms, sort of hugging himself.

I half smile, realizing that I'm doing the same thing. The wind has picked up, and as I look down the street through the glass of the bus stop, I see that it has just started sprinkling again.

Monday, January 07, 2008

january thunderstorm.

It's midnight. The rain is patting on the windows and windowsills and everything else outside. There's rolling thunder accompanied by occasional lightning. It's early January, and it was 64 degrees today.

I was told that it's best to sit down and write when I'm in the mood to write something specific. Unfortunately that's never the case for me. Most of the writing that I do gets jotted down in the steno of my brain while walking to the el, riding the bus, listening to music, or some other passive activity that allows me to just think for a while. Unfortunately, I don't seem to hang onto many of these thoughts for very long, or at least they don't pop back to the forefront when I sit down in front of the computer.

It's been a busy, somewhat chaotic past month for just about everyone, I'm guessing. The holidays are always difficult because there's so much going on that we seem to lose track of the other things in our life that still need attention. Whether it's chores, personal time, work, or just relaxing a bit, it has probably been put on hold for a while.

The holidays were amazing. It was great to see everyone, and it reminded me how much I miss you all, and how I really like spending time with everyone.

As the excitement from the holidays has settled down, I've found myself falling into a bit of a strange mood lately. Sort of introspective, a little bit angry, maybe a little reclusive. I'm ok with it though. I feel like I'm still getting things done. It's tough, though, to stay motivated when the weather is so gloomy. The sun came out this afternoon for a bit and caught me completely by surprise. It feels like it has been quite a long time since we had the last full sunny day.