Sunday, August 24, 2008

During Last Night's Slumber

I was with a girl at her house. This wasn't her apartment, but her family's home. I'm not quite sure who this girl was, but I was trying to convince myself that I liked her. What bothered me though, was her teeth. They were small, had spaces between them, were off-colored, and ended in uneven edges. Nonetheless, we were helping clean up her house. It was dirty, like it hadn't been cleaned in ages.

Next thing I knew, I was in another location. I remember thinking that it seemed to be Downtown Disney at night. I saw Allison Jones walking up to me. Now I started thinking I liked her. We ended going back to the toothy girl's house to hang out in one of the rooms we cleaned. If I recall correctly, there were others in our group.

I sat on something like a Lovesac and faced the couch. Allison sat all the way to one end of the couch. A horse sat next to her, quite closely. In fact one of the two, the horse or Allison, had their arm around the other. He was a brown horse with a lightly-colored belly. I noticed the belly because he wasn't sitting in any known horse-like manner. He was almost reclining on the couch, sitting on his tail, exposing his tan belly to the room. He sat with one hoof quite close to my face.

I thought, 'Horses kick a lot, I know that. I should be alert.' Sure enough, his foot jolted several times, and if I hadn't have caught it each time with my hands, he would have connected.

Before I knew it, I found myself on top of the horse's belly, tickling him on the sides, where you would normally tickle a person, while he laughed and laughed. This is perhaps the most vivid part of the dream because I remember thinking, 'Now this is something else! You don't get to tickle a horse every day.' I think I tickled him off the couch.

So there I ended up, sitting on the couch next to Allison, with the horse sprawled out in front of me, tired from laughing. Allison showed me a text on her phone from a guy named Scott who she had been keeping in touch with the first half of the summer. The text said something like, "I will see you there tonight. I didn't know they were in the landscaping and mulching industry."

It was then that I realized that the horse was Scott. At least he used to be Scott earlier in the day, and was able to communicate like a human, but for some reason he had turned into a horse tonight and was unable to talk. I felt bad for flirting with Allison in front of him, while he could do nothing except try to kick me in the face with his hoof, but I didn't feel that bad.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thanks for the update!

Does anyone read the top headline like I did at first? Like a similar headline could be, "Friend says his buddy who fell off his skateboard doing a 360 is really improving"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To Change the World with a Rubber Band

Children rarely feel like possessors of real power. I am not talking about the power to make someone else cry. I am talking about real power, the power to effect change and to alter the course of the future. Once, my brothers and I possessed this power, or at least we thought we did. The feeling of being a kid of consequence in a grown-up world was intoxicating.

My dad used to work as a rural carrier for the United States Post Office. Because rural carriers had to use their own vehicles, he had his Blazer converted so that there was another steering wheel put on the right side, connected to the main steering wheel by a belt which would cause the wheels to turn in unison. Brake and gas pedals on the right side were installed that mechanically connected and depressed the actual pedals on left side. The driver seat was removed and instead my dad put in a wooden bin to hold the mail.

So as kids, we could see the full operations of the car as passengers. The wheel would turn and the pedals pop up and down, as though they were driven by a ghost. Also, since my dad dealt with stacks of envelopes, he also had a lot of rubber bands laying around, the semi-thick tan ones.

And therein resided our power. My dad told us that he didn't mind us playing with the rubber bands and that we could shoot them around the car as much as we wanted to while he was driving. Thinking about that now, it doesn't sound too safe to have rubber bands flying around while operating a car, but he really had nothing to worry about. One objective obscured all others, to alter the operation of the car through well-placed rubber band shots.

What did we want to do? Anything. We would have been happy with switching the headlights on, pressing the trip odometer, or changing the air conditioning flow pattern. The real gold mine, however, were the pedals. We tried to make elementary calculations of how many bands would need to be shot and with what force in order to change the braking or acceleration of the car. We greatly over-estimated the momentum carried by a rubber band, because I remember being consumed with this objective.

I remember thinking my dad was crazy for allowing us free reign with these bands. Didn't he know what we were capable of? Theoretically we could flash the high-beams at someone, change the air settings in the car, or depress the brake pedal, ever so slightly, altering our movement and possibly leading to a large scale accident with unforeseen consequences.

This theoretical power was like a drug. I remember the persistent dream that with just the right shot, we would be co-partners in driving this car. And it was with this dream that we were intent on trip after trip shooting band after band at the pedals, just hoping that the next direct hit would carry just enough 'ooomph' to have consequences.

They never did. But even to this day, I have never felt a more tangible potential for power than I did sitting in the back of our Blazer, armed with a rubber band.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Insult to injury

I moped around yesterday. Leaving work at 12:50 so that I could make it to the-dental clinic to assist, I grabbed a popsicle from the break-room freezer. They had handed them out at work the other day, and the extras were just put in the freezer. I thought, 'You know, you can give kids a popsicle and it makes anything better. If I can connect to some inner adolescence, I can drown away my sorrow in this orange twin-pop."

So, I put on my biking shoes, unlocked my bike, strapped on my helmet and started moseying my way on over to the clinic, making careful to hold on tightly to my popsicle. I've seen the cruelness of a kid with a fallen popsicle, and I wasn't going to that happen to me.

I downed one side and started working on the next. And then I encountered an unforeseeable, and undefeatable foe to my popsicle panacea. I drove through a cloud of gnats. Actually, not just one, but several consecutive clouds.

So there I was, riding along with a popsicle speckled in dead gnats, with nothing to do except hold on to the popsicle as it melted its once-sugary goodness all over my hand. It was a while until I reached the next dumpster.

After arriving at the clinic with a sticky left hand, we did nothing but extractions. That's right, I got to assist while Dr. White pulled a total of 9 teeth from 3 different patients.

The blood, pain, broken teeth, and sutures, all got me thinking about the extraction that happens after breaking up. When you date someone you share routines, sayings, and memories. After a while these become a part of you. When you break up, it isn't a matter of eliminating that person from your life. In fact, on several of the teeth Dr. White pulled, that was what had happened. The crown of the tooth had previously broken off, or broke off with the slightest of pressure from his forceps. It looked like the tooth was gone. But in reality the roots go deeper. You have to dig them out. You change how you talk, your routine, what you think about. You have to change who you are. And sometimes it's bloody, messy, and painful.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Of Breaks and Broken Hearts

I knew it was a bad sign when she awkwardly stood at the door and waited for me to invite her in. But really, I knew what she had come to say. We sat on distant sides of the same couch, me with my arms crossed. It was a closed body position, but the only one that felt natural.

After finishing up our banal small talk, we started on the heart of the matter. She talked, I listened. While she was commenting on our differences and taking her time to explain her feelings, I had that Relient K song stuck in my head:

I'd better rest my eyes
'Cause I'm growing weary of
This point you've been trying to make
So rather than imply
Why don't you just verbalize
All the things that you're trying to say

Thought this would turn out so well
But I'm beginning to see
That instead it's trouble
Into a pattern we fell
Of prolonging the inevitable.

Why don't you
Come right out and say it?
Even if the words are probably gonna hurt
I'd rather have the truth
Than something insincere
Why don't you
Come right out and say it (come right out and say it)?
What it is you're thinking
Though I'm thinking it's not what I wanna hear

All along, I knew this break would end up breaking things. Before she had come over, I had written a song, "The Dance" by Garth Brooks, on a piece of paper. It had been one of our songs, but it wasn't until today that I realized it was about breaking up. The foreshadowing felt cruel. After the lyrics, I wrote how much I cared, how much I would miss her, and wished her luck. I gave her the note, we hugged, she left, and I receded to my room.

I darkened the lights, crashed on my bed, pulled up the blanket, and sobbed. These were deep sobs, the kind that shakes your core, that you never let out around others. In fact, you don't really know how they sound until you are in a situation that requires them. After a while, I was done. I brushed my teeth, flossed, and went to bed early.

The hardest things about this? When she told me I was amazing, wonderful, and that she thought the world of me. When I try to convince myself that there are others like her out there, yet find myself at a loss for a single name. When I look back at our memories and wish I could go back to any one of them.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Waking up

I've decided what one of the worst feelings in the world is. It is when something is wrong in your life, and you fall asleep to a dreamworld devoid of this problem. Then you wake up forgetting you have this problem but your first realization of the day is the rediscovery that yes, this problem still exists.

That happened to me today. :-\