Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That Bar

So, here I am again, about to record yet another dream. Cala-themed, of course.
Hey, don't scoff at me. You're the one reading it.

Just close your eyes, if you're not ready for it.

I was somewhere arid. The wind was warm and dry, the land was parched and dusty, and the sun was bright, but not annoyingly so. To my left, was a large patch of nothing, aside from my friend
Sarah. To my right, was my sister, Cindy. Behind her, there was a long dirt road, with sporadic buildings bleached from the sun, and not a car to be seen. I focused back on what was ahead, which looked like an aging bar. The neon was inviting.

Pushing through the saloon-style double doors, I looked around. It was well lit, and clean, but surprisingly empty. An unused stage sat on one side, and a window, almost cartoonish in size on the other. Souvenirs sat in the corner. Cindy and Sarah suddenly saw something they liked, and walked over to the large, square bar in the center.

The tender was friendly and portly. He looked like a stereotype from another time, complete with a pinstripe shirt and curly black moustache. His horseshoe head shone under the lamp above.

Wordlessly, he gave us our drinks. Cindy had something pink and girly, and Sarah had something that looked like a ginger ale. I took my water and sipped it thoughtfully.

The two of them kept looking over on the other side of where we were, pointing and smiling. I tried to look in their direction, but all I could see were hands with beers. I try again, and I catch a sleeve this time. For some reason, the way the mugs and stemware were hung in relation to the lights and bartender made it nearly impossible to see things that wasn't right in front of your face. Frustrated, I walk around.

I poke my head around the corner, and freeze. I nearly drop my glass.
They were here.

Cindy takes Sarah by the hand and pulls her around the other side. They're both just close enough to see, but far enough that nobody could actually hear their conversation or giggling. I perched on the
opposite corner, trying not to be seen or heard, practically living on the wooden pole, just watching. Calabrese payed none of us any mind though, and continued with their own animated conversations,
laughing, having fun.

Cindy whistles in Bobby's direction and winks. Sarah looked at her, surprised. Then she says something to her I can't hear. He, nods and waves, out of sheer politeness. I inch over slightly, curious.

A few minutes pass before she gets bolder. Cindy takes another sip of her drink, and I can hear her now.
"Heeey.<3" she says, doing a cute, top-of-the-fingers motion, " Hello. <3"

Bobby nods, and raises his glass an inch, before finally turning around. Davey stood up to continue with whatever he was saying, grinning. It kind of looked like he was setting up a joke. I slide over just a little bit more. I'm off the corner completely now, but I'm still far enough that I think nobody will see me.

"You're cuuuuute. <3" she says, leaning over. Bobby doesn't move.

"Hawt. <3" Sarah's eyes flit back and forth between them, waiting for something to happen. Bobby still doesn't move. I wiggle in as close as I'm willing to go.

"Smexy. <3" I can actually see the alcohol doing the thinking now. Jimmy glanced over his shoulder, and for a moment, he seemed annoyed.

In my mind, I'm thinking. About what was going to happen next and how this will all turn out if I don't do anything. I considered it highly unlikely that a fight of any kind would happen, but, seeing as
how we all came together, I reasoned it was my responsibility to do...something.

"Hey...why don't you cat-call him louder? I'm sure he didn't hear you the first 5 times." I say, maybe slightly louder than it needed to be.

Cindy looks over at me, with a facetious hurt look on her face and finally sits down. I get a slightly confused expression from Jimmy, though, and a smirking, wtf-face from Davey. I guess this is what
happens when you don't think before you speak.

I slump down. I feel a little red-faced. I am totally the queen of smooth comebacks.

A few moments pass. Jimmy and Davey decide to head toward the bathroom. As they walk by, I stiffen with embarrassment.

I should probably leave.

I look over at Cindy and Sarah, and they seem to be having a good time, despite what I had said earlier. And, strangely, don't seem to mind that I've all but disappeared. At least somebody is
happy, I think to myself.

"Hey, uh...do you have some paper I can use?" Bobby suddenly asks me, making a scribbling motion with a pen in one hand, while holding his phone with the other.

I look at him dumbly for a few seconds, before I hand him a notebook. I don't know where I was keeping it, or where it even came from, but it was thick with used pages and drawings. He opens it to the the last page I wrote on and points.

"I can write on this?" he asks, noticing there were a few words at the top.

I nod.

"Are you sure?"

I shrug. "Sure."

He takes it from me and turns back around, writing whatever it was down pretty quickly. I sat back on the stool I was on, and swilled my water, pretending that it was a legitimate drink. Or maybe
even something stronger. Poison, perhaps.

Bobby hangs up. He's about to rip the page out, when he starts to read the words at the top and stops. He lets the page go.

I look at the back of his head, confused.

His head turns, and I see that he's looking on the opposite page. He starts reading.

I start to panic.

What was the last thing I wrote in there? Was it a story? A dream? Or did I re-write one of my old poems? Was it a good one? Was it finished? Was it even...oh god...about them?

I wince. This is too much. My brain goes into over drive on how to steal the notebook back without seeming like a complete psycho.

He flips to the next page back, and I can see one of my pencil-smudged doodles next to another sketch. Another page, and more drawings. Another, and it looks like a poem from the way it was
written. I mentally scream for him to stop. I will myself to not grab it from him outright.

For whatever reason, shifting slowly away and melting into the bar top seemed like the best solution. He was already elbow-deep in whatever was in there, so it really didn't matter if he saw the
whole thing at this point. At least I could hide. Tall as I may be, I tend to blend well into walls and backgrounds when I want to.

"This is..." he trails off.

I was in mid-stand, and now I'm petrified. My heart slows, and I can feel my pulse in my ears. I close my eyes and brace myself. I can handle this. I can handle rejection. I can handle disgust. Firing
squad of hurt, do your worst.

"It's actually...kinda good." he says, turning to me with a small smile, "I'm a fan, for sure."

My mouth hangs open for a second from shock. Did he just say...he liked it? That he was...a fan? Am I really hearing all this correctly? Where are the slings and arrows of reprobation? Where is the
cauldron I was to be thrown into? Is this still Earth?

"Th-thanks..." I stutter. My mind is still brittle with disbelief to say much else. I sag back into the stool, reminding myself to breathe.

"Plan on doing more?" he asks, handing the book back to me.

"Y-yeah. Uh...I was working on some other stuff...um..." I dry swallow. What are words, again?

"Cool."

I sigh, with a grin. Side-glancing, I see Jimmy and Davey coming back, laughing. In my head though, all I can think is, "I think I've just won at life."

My alarm went off right after that. I'm kind of grateful that it did, because I'm sure something weird or stupid would of happened if it continued. Kinda how it works with me, I guess.

Before I sign off on this, I just want to point out that I know this is one of those 'wish fufillment' dreams. Because, aside from the obvious, there were also things that never happen in waking
life...such as Sarah and Cindy knowing each other, and me writing and drawing in a notebook. I'm guessing part of me thought I needed a pick-me-up, and came up with all this in sleepy land. Or, maybe all this was a fluke to begin with.

Either way. Fun.

Until then.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Lesson in Kindness

This is a little tidbit o'life that happened about a month ago. Still don't know how I feel about it, really.

Earlier this year, brilliantly enough, Joe decided we should do our taxes online and as soon as possible. If you haven't guessed at this point, we are a fairly broke bunch here, and, we had bills that needed to be paid. Like, now.

Luckily for us, the money came 3 weeks later. Which surprised both of us, because going the paper route, it takes much longer than even the estimated times on the 1040 forms. Past dues became paid, and a zero balance on the credit card was nice to see. Even with all that, we had a few extra dollars, so I decided to get some supplies at Target the following week.

The day was brisk, but the sun was bright. Ivy and I headed out late in the afternoon, walking the mile and a half easily enough. We get there just as the sun started to slip from the sky.

Ivy likes riding in the shopping carts. As any kid does, really. So, I grab one, and let her climb in. She seems happy, even if the steering on this particular cart is kind of weird. I think about getting another one, but decide against it.

Walking up the aisle, I take a peep at some of the sales. I know I'm not going to be buying much beyond the few items I have in mind, but, stupid stuff like that has become kinda fun for me. Strange as that may be.

I look at the men's department, debate on whether or not I should buy Joe socks and underwear, then hang left. I stroll past the baby department, in all its diaper-y cute glory, and head over to the toys. It was, after all, a few weeks before Ivy's birthday. Plus, to be honest, I like snooping around in there too.

Lots of things were almost-purchases.

Like...lots.

But, we kept our collective cool, and nothing actually landed in the cart. A minor victory for both of us. Even though we were both moaning on the inside.

In this particular Target, the book section is next to the DVDs and video games, across from the aisles of toys and collectibles. So, really, it's the only part of the store aside from where they keep the frozen Red Baron pizzas and Pocky where I more or less know exactly where and what I'm looking for at any given moment.

Certain authors have managed to publish things without my knowing in the past, so, on a whim, I point us in that direction.

As I do, A person...couldn't tell if it was male or female, as he/she was in a motorised cart and wore layers and layers of clothing...tried to leave the section. The store is moderately busy, so I do the best thing I could and drag the wonky cart over to the middle of the walkway.

Said person then proceeds to ram the rack of Dr. Seuss books not once, but twice.
Everything fell.

I had a moment where I paused. Then immediately proceeded to pick up all the books on the floor. It seemed like the right thing to do, in my mind. Obviously, he/she couldn't do it themselves if they're in one of those things, and I'm sure asking would of been embarrassing.

Person, however, didn't miss a beat. He/she drove off, without turning around or paying the least bit attention to the mess they had made. Even ran over one of the books.

So, there I was, fixing an entire display disaster that I had nothing to do with, feeling my face redden for no reason, as the others around me just watched and stared.

I'd like to think that he/she drove off, worried that they might have to pay for breaking something. Or, that he/she drove off, because that was all their mental facilities could process at the moment. I'd also like to think that the rapt audience I had then was more interested in the sales behind me, or, even looking for a sales associate to help.

But that's just my mind trying to reason with the situation, isn't it?

Maybe this is the reason why I don't actually have friends.