The omnipresence of David & Kim

I guess it's all in how you look at things.
No way this is getting stolen from the BP restroom.

The new pope is such a nice guy. He conducts his business in the spare bedroom of my friend Kristy’s apartment. Her husband isn’t home yet but I’ve met their daughter, though I had a hard time making friends because my mouthguard was still in. I’m here to tell Kristy about an attempted assault at a nearby bar where we were all served complimentary slices of the bartender’s wedding cake, but I forget because of the pope being here.

Apparently people can just walk for an audience, no appointment required. The pope sits in bed and invites you to sit in a chair at his left side. Dave is in there now. I start to join them, but back away. I’m Catholic, I should have more humility. Then Dave comes out and says, “You have to go in. Just put your necklace on and get in there.” He’s so supportive. I try again to walk in, but meet the pope coming out. “Wait here,” he says, “I’ll return.”

There are chairs on the right side of his bed, the side nearest the door, but their legs are all broken, whittled away to stubs, raw with sawdust. I’m wondering what to do next when who should walk in but David & Kim, along with their protégé, a young man so favored by the pope that he gets to sit on the bed itself.

David and Kim show us a large photo they’ve given the pope. It shows the roofline of their theatre, glinting in the sunlight. They speak of another protégé, Winifred, who sang for the pope after a monolog. Apparently, she wowed him. I am determined to have some sort of meaningful experience with the pope that I can blog about. The male protégé silently lounges on the left side of the bed. I decide to assert myself and lounge on the right side.

The pope returns, wearing a trenchcoat, and climbs back into bed. Between us he sits lightly, on top of the covers, conversing with David and Kim about the photograph. I suspect he uses the bed merely as a mark of respect to the less robust popes who came before.

The male protégé is rocking the bed, a teenager’s idle twitch, and I want to stop him. I try bracing my foot against the floor, but it’s no use. I can’t still the motion, and besides, I’m a newcomer; I don’t know how this is all supposed to work. I go with the flow and wonder whether I’ll ever have any time alone with the pope, and what I will say if I do.

One of those annoying dream posts

House up on jacks while new foundation is being poured
Eventually it will be a new foundation for an old house.

It was late at night and I was working in some office. I went across to the ladies room, pushed the door open, and thought, “It’s late and no one’s around. If I scream no one will hear me.” So I checked the stalls. First one, empty. Second one, empty. Third one, a guy was standing in there looking at me.

He was young and white-skinned. He quickly explained that he wasn’t an attacker, he just wanted to return this big ring of keys he’d found but didn’t know how. It made perfect sense, and we walked together down the hall to a party where my brother Rolando was. I was sure Rolando would be able to solve the key ring dilemma but he was busy just then, in a circle of people, so my new friend and I went to wait at one of the bar tables scattered nearby. Other guests were milling around. A woman friend was standing at our bar table and I introduced her to my new friend. He was so cute and she was so cute, they’d be perfect together. But when I started explaining how we’d met in the bathroom, I realized that my new friend kind of sounded like a psychopath. Then I realized that he could have been lying about wanting to return the keys and it was perfectly likely he’d been waiting to attack someone. It was suddenly awkward.

The basis for this dream seems obvious. Yesterday I was late for my playwriting class. I rang the buzzer at the building’s entrance, a woman answered, I said who I was, and she buzzed me in. From there it’s a short walk to the elevator which takes you up to the second floor, where the offices and classrooms are. They’re very careful about letting people into the building. They always call down and check who you are before they buzz you in. There’s a sign on the door that reads, “Please do not let anyone into the building behind you. Everyone must be buzzed in individually.” Except how do I tell that to the young dark-skinned man who followed me in, so closely I couldn’t have shut the door behind me without physically pushing him out?

I hoped he was headed somewhere other than the elevator. Nope, he followed me into the elevator. I pushed 2, and hoped he’d push a different button. Nope, he didn’t push a button. That worried me more. He was wearing a hat and he wasn’t smiling. I thought about making small talk, maybe about the great weather, but if he did have bad intentions he might take me for soft, so I held on to my late-for-class scowl. At floor 2, he followed me out of the elevator and into the theatre offices. What was this guy’s problem? He stopped at the front desk and I kept walking. If they wanted to yell at me for letting someone else into the building they’d have to catch me first. I snuck into class, which had already started, and forgot all about the guy. When I came out at break, he was sitting on a couch, sorting through headshots. I smiled tentatively at him, feeling like an idiot. He smiled slightly back.

So clearly my brain lodged those few moments of vague fear of a possible elevator attack and rearranged them, as it likes to do in dreams, into an incident involving a bathroom. But why did my brain switch the situation from being wrongly founded in fear to being wrongly founded in trust? And why did it change the color of the person’s skin from black to white? It’s moments like this that make me suspect my subconscious is either a lot wiser than the rest of me or a lot more devious.

Could everything stop being a metaphor for just five minutes?

deflated snowmen
Exhibit 13-B.

Exhibit A. Clamshell packaging on cheap electronics.

Exhibit B. Filling the humidifier while it’s raining outside.

Exhibit C. Traffic on Elston.

Exhibit D. A messy house.

Exhibit F. The empty laundry basket that’s been sitting in the same spot for a week.

Exhibit I. The sky, right at this moment.

Exhibit K. That piece of fuzz on the blind. Its weightlessness. Its replicating powers. Its almost-lack of color or form. Its polite insistence. Its network of friends.

Exhibit Z. That dream last night. Specifically, the part with the ladder.

Exhibit 13-B. Inflatable snowmen, deflated.

Exhibit 7. Snowmen.

Whilst the Royal Wedding Unfolded

Trina, Wendy and I are headed to Trina’s mom’s for the weekend. Trina calls her and she gives the answers they rehearsed.

Trina: “Oh man, I can’t believe finals.”

Trina’s mom: “Hera sees all.”

Trina: “Yeah, and I have to store my stuff ’til Fall.”

Trina’s mom: “Wisdom of Zeus, blind love will fall.”

Trina: “Okay, see you soon.”

We set out, three of us, each in relationships with people not there. We are walking along the lake to Lake Forest. It’s a foot path where Lake Shore Drive should be, and it’s rubberized. It feels so good under our feet that we begin to jog. It’s slightly downhill at this point, which is lovely. We run faster and faster, then Trina sees the alligator. “Shh!” she says, and “Slowly!”

But Wendy is too far ahead. She’s passed it. Trina calls, “You’ve got to get back up here. You’ve got to get around it and get back here.”

Wendy feels paralyzed. “Is it bad?”

“It’s the biggest one I’ve seen,” answers Trina. “It’s not the little ones people keep in their purse. It has no sense of humor.”

The gator snaps its jaws. I realize it could live anywhere, could follow us all the way up that rising road, but it’s not as likely past a certain point. God, I’m tired. We were having such a good time, talking about our relationships, and this happens. I can see the gator’s face under the rocks.

Wendy inches her way back. She skirts the edge of the road, where she could easily fall into the lake, but anything to stay away from this humorless alligator. She is terrified, but Trina pulls her back with sheer lung power, coaching her though every step, telling her to step quietly, move quickly, not look down. I can’t believe gators live here all the time and people still walk this road.

Trina is going to have her mom come pick us up. Trembling, Wendy makes it into our arms. We hug briefly, and with shaking knees walk back toward the school. The gator does not follow.