Friday, October 03, 2003

My Aunt Karen is driving my mom's convertible. My mom is in the passenger seat and I am in the back. We are driving through the small town in Back to the Future. As we approach the cinema, we drive under a big tree with low, leafless, barkless branches. The branches are very hard and when they hit us they sound dead. They whack me in the face, but I feel no pain. My mom's hair gets tangled in the branches and she is pulled out of the convertible. She is flipped around. She is hanging upside down in the tree. My Aunt slams on the brakes in front of the cinema. I jump out and run up to someone talking on a cell phone. I tell the person I need the phone to call 9-1-1. I grab it out of their hand and dial as I run back to the tree. The operator tells me an ambulance is on the way. I hang up and ask my mom how she is, but I get no response. Her legs appear to be broken at the joints. I go back to the convertible and get in, and seconds later the ambulance arrives. The ambulance drives past my mom in the tree, us in the convertible, and pulls up in front of the cinema. It is one of those old station wagons, painted white with orange trim, and with ECNALUBMA painted on the hood and sides. The driver steps out and with a crazy, wide-eyed grin asks who needs help. I point to my mom hanging upside down in the tree.

Suddenly I am in a suburb built by a corporation. All of the houses are the same, other than the paint, which is done in the same 4 muted shades of gray, tan, pink, and purple. Each has a black or gold SUV in the driveway. Every yard is the same and surrounded by a 6 foot fence painted to match the house it surrounds. Inside each yard is a family having a barbeque. I arrive in a yard with a pumpkin pie in a 9" cake pan. I set the pie cake on a table. The sky is a threatening shade of purple. The clouds burst and the ensuing downpour drenches everyone and all the food. People are screaming to get the food under cover. I pick up my pumpkin pie cake and start to run it into the house for the yard I was in. The owner yells “NOT THE HOUSE!” and points to a fenced in area of 2 acres or so, filled with row upon row of picnic tables. “The rec area!” I run over there with my pie cake. A single row of tables has a roof over it. Each table has a family sitting at it. I don’t have a family to sit with, so I find a table with 3 other singles. I set my pie cake on it, and sit. My mom comes up behind me with three Mylar balloons proclaiming happy birthday. I turn around when I hear her speak. She says she got invitations from three different bars to celebrate her birthday there. She invites me to come along, and the next thing I know we are standing outside a bar. I don’t really want to go in, dreading the cigarette smoke and crowds of people. I follow her in anyhow and the band is setting up. The bar is mostly empty, other than a bartender and a couple of roadies. I look for the bathroom and see the sign on the other side of the room. I walk through the doorway and am in a small room with a grand piano. The piano is playing itself, a dark moody tune. I walk over to it and pound on the keys, trying to make it stop playing itself. I try to tell it to stop but I feel like parts of me have sleep paralysis and I cannot open my eyes all the way or speak. I keep pounding on the keys and eventually am able to groan, “Stop it!” I lift the top of the grand piano and look inside. It is empty. The music continues.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Sit back from your monitor a ways and kind of blur the focus of your eyes. Cross them a a little. Like when you look at the posters at malls where you try to find the hidden picture. What do you see in the spaces between the words?

It is my birthday. Tim and I are in a huge, dilapidated old mansion in Scappoose. We are waiting for the bus to Portland, which will stop right outside our front door. Angela is playing music. She has a speaker sitting face down on a heater vent and the music is echoing throughout the heating ducts of the house. I walk up a spiral staircase and ask her to turn it down, just as my guests are arriving. Clayton, Summer, Tyler, and 3 others acquaintances from my high school. We are digging through our pockets when the bus arrives. My guests get on the bus, but Tim is looking for the keys. He finds them and as we are leaving I ask him for my bus fare. He only has enough for himself, but Clayton offers to loan me a dollar. I thank him profusely and we get on the bus, paying our fares. As the bus leaves Scappoose, we climb a hill with a bus stop halfway up. Two women are waiting there, but the bus passes them without stopping. I tell the driver there were people at that stop and he mumbles something about pulling over when there is enough shoulder on the side. Meanwhile, he is passing plenty of shoulder and the women are chasing the bus up the hill. They tire and slow to a walk. The bus pulls into an intersection, stops, and opens it’s doors for them. They climb on the bus and suddenly we are on a boat, trying to get back to Scappoose. The boat bumps another, which happens to be a floating refueling station. We discuss taking the boat back to Scappoose, but decide it will not make it. In the blink of an eye, we are walking a bicycle path through the park along Front Avenue. The grass is gray and dead. The trees are barren. We are on our way to a Pearl Jam concert. Eddie Vedder and Brandie have joined our group. Brandie is flirting with Clayton and I start to sing. A boom box appears in Brandi’s hand and suddenly we are listening to loud rock music. We get ahead of our group, whom we do not notice have stopped. Brandie and I arrive at the concert, and a small group of people are swaying to the music, in front of the stage. Instead of Pearl Jam, we are listening to a 7 piece riverboat jazz band. Brandie goes to the front of the stage and begins swaying, out of time with the music. I join her. Behind the band a tri-level choir riser is ascending, carrying on it 6 dancers in gold, purple, and silver spangled leotards, each doing their own backup dance. I laugh at the absurdity of the sight and sit on a bench. Clayton sits next to me and as we are about to speak, Summer comes around the corner carrying a board with beaded jewelry pegged to it. There is a stunning barrette, made of carved filigree jade in a nouveau floral design. I exclaim at it’s beauty as the Melvins rock my alarm.