Schoolboys on the Bus

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In this dream, I was traveling on a Greyhound-like passenger bus, and I was sitting in the very back. In the front of the bus there was a whole group of private school boys with scrubbed, cherubic faces and neat short haircuts. They were dressed in identical uniforms; black pants and pure white shirts and ties. Except one young man’s cuffs were unbuttoned, and the elbow of his shirt had been dragged through the mud.

There were all around seven or eight years old, and yet they were drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages. I started scolding one of them, “In America, we don’t let little kids drink.” And they all started laughing.

What was with the muddy sleeve? It was so out-of-place it had to be significant somehow…

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Adventures in a Chevy Chevette 2

I picked up my car this afternoon. It’s a 1987 Chevy Chevette, dark blue, and it’s falling apart. I had to have the alternator replaced, $141.69. This is the second time it’s been in the shop recently; two weeks ago, I just got it back after having the starter and flywheel (what the hell’s that?) fixed to the tune of $517.

Retro CarI’m feeling a bit disturbed by this; have been for awhile. I want to buy a new car, but I keep spending my savings on keeping this one running.

In Indianapolis, you have to have a car; public transportation is only for people who are seriously poor. There is only a bus system and it doesn’t run everywhere, all the time. Catching a bus is time-consuming and difficult.

If I wanted to catch the bus to work, I’d have to get up three hours earlier than I normally do, walk six blocks to the correct bustop (in the dark), and catch the bus north for a two hour bus trip. The bus will only go as far as 96th and Meridian, so I would have to walk six more blocks to 103rd, where I work.

It’s amazing to me how much not having my car affects my sense of identity. I feel helpless without a car, and less than a person. Which is, in this city, how you are meant to feel. In a country and a city where the car is king, if you don’t have one, there’s something wrong.

Which really makes me want to move.

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Adventures in a Chevy Chevette

I got stuck in my car. It’s a 1987 Chevy Chevette, dark blue, and it’s falling apart. It was freezing cold this Indiana morning, and there was a thick layer of ice over everything. I made the mistake of not looking outside at this inclement weather before I got dressed for work, so I was wearing my good long overcoat and my best leather shoes, and I had put everything in my briefcase rather than my backpack before setting out. I also had my lunch in a separate bag, and I was carrying five library books that I needed to return.

Old CarThe doors were frozen shut; both of them. They were unlocked, and the handle was working; the latch was loose, but the rubber of the door was frozen to the sides. By this time I was dropping the books, so I set the books, lunch, and briefcase on the hood of the car.

I kicked the door to try to get it free. (oh, yeah, also because I was mad. and cold.) When I kicked the door, everything that I had set on the icy hood slid off onto the ground. So I retrieved it all and set it on the top of the car.

The doors were impossibly stuck. So I went to the hatchback and opened it up. Of course I still had a bag of recycling in there, and three 25-pound bags of cat litter so the car would be weighed down in case it snowed, and a box of car supplies, like oil and antifreeze, which I was highly tempted to pour all over the outside of the car.

I had to move them, because I was going to have to climb in. But then I had no where to put my coat, which I had to take off to get in, so I fidgeted a bit in the cold trying to figure out what to do with it. I finally set it on top of the cat litter and hoped it wouldn’t get messed up.

I climbed into the hatch without any problem, but I couldn’t get over the back seat, so a spent what seemed like an eternity trying to unlatch it to flip it down. I finally did that, and was able to crawl through. I got over to the front seat, and remembered that everything I needed to take with me was still on the top of the car.

So I slithered back out and retrieved those things, in a jumble, because they were almost too much to carry. I set them ahead of me in the car and started to climb through. Instantly, I kicked my briefcase and it fell down on the floor between the front seat and the back, upside down, and all my papers spilled out.

I cursed, but ignored it, and continued climbing. I push the front passenger seat forward, so that I could climb over the stick shift to the driver’s side. But first, with great Insight (or so I thought at the time) I moved my lunch bag to the front passenger seat so that nothing would happen to it. [ foreshadowing…. ]

Now I had a dilemma. How to get both my legs through the narrow gap between the seats? I decided I could do it. I sat down on the backseat, and put through my left leg first, thinking that I would just slide through and my right leg would follow effortlessly. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the width in the near-dark; my left leg slid into place, and my butt did too; however, my right leg, or rather my right foot, stopped just behind the front passenger seat.

So I was sitting in my drivers seat, with my right leg folded behind me and my foot locked, and stuck in the back seat. And I was wedged there. In what was probably the most unnatural position I had ever been in. And my possessions were strewn behind, haphazardly in my wake.
I tried reversing the process, but I didn’t have anything to push backward from, and nothing to grab to pull myself up. I tried working with my foot, but to get it loose, I would have to break my leg, or twist it at an angle that no human leg should go. Damn, why didn’t I see this would happen before I started?

I started to panic, and remembered suddenly the last time I was stuck somewhere; in college when we were trying to carry my couch up a narrow set of stairs to my new apartment, and we aimed the couch at the wrong angle; I was stuck behind it for half an hour as I and three other English majors tried desperately to recall any physics principles that would help get the couch free, and thus me as well.

“Think. I’ve got to think.” I told myself, and I remembered; the doors. They may not open from the outside, but from within? I pushed on the driver door forever, but I couldn’t free it. So I stretched over to the passenger door, which, with a little wrangling, popped open. Promptly spilling my lunch out of its bag, into a puddle of water on the ground below.

I was too frustrated to swear anymore; by pulling myself across the seat, I could free my foot and get out of the car. So I wasn’t stuck, but I wasn’t driving either. I took the time to pick up my briefcase and sort it out, as well as retrieve my soggy lunch, before I tackled the task of getting over the stick shift.

This time I kept both my legs together (always a wise choice, it seems) and swung in from the roof of the car like Tarzan. “It’s working!” I thought delightedly, as I glided through the air, but my glee was short-lived as my butt landed with a sickening crunch between the two seats. “Oh, my god, I broke the emergency break.” I thought, “how do I explain that to a mechanic?” as felt around beneath me trying to determine the exact cause of the plastic cracking sound.

But it was only the plastic cup holder, which I could afford, so I climbed on through and shoved the pieces on the floor behind the seat, where I throw everything these days. I started the car and sat for ten peaceful minutes listening to the radio while we both warmed up. Then I drove to work calmly, deliberately, pretending that Nothing Had Happened. Nothing At All.

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Some Important Lessons Life Teaches You

Author Unknown

Lesson One: Most Important Lesson

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello".

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson: Pickup in the Rain

This story has been investigated and proven to be untrue, according to Snopes.com.

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Important Lesson: Always remember those who serve you

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I’ll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson: The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, But none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Important Lesson: Giving When it Counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before asking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

You see understanding and attitude, after all, is everything.

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The Angel of Death Dream

A dream I had where I was so scared that I was afraid to get out of bed to go to go to the bathroom, at 29 years old.

It started at an archeological dig, where we uncovered a huge skeleton of bird/reptile-like creature, about twice as large as a human. It looked like a human, with a reptile head and tail, and wings. We brought it intact to a laboratory nearby, to study it. There were about twenty or so people gathered around it on a table, when it suddenly came alive, spread it’s wings and rose up in the air.

[This much of the dream I can guess came from a Simpsons episode, although my dream wasn’t animated.]
There was a collective gasp around the room, and as everyone exhaled, it began devouring the people. I ran out the door with several others and down the hallway, as it followed, still eating people.

The dream then turned into one of my standard maze dreams, in which I turned down different hallways and got lost while being chased. Someone running with me believed that it couldn’t figure out where we were if we were shielded by metal or porcelain, so we ran from one tiled bathroom with metal stalls to another, and that seemed to work. But it was still not too far behind us, devouring people it ran across, and there was plenty of blood and guts in the dream.

Deus Ex Machina

We realized though, that we had to get out of the building, so we found a way outdoors. This was bad, though, because suddenly we were on a beach, without any cover, and the monster could see us. And, of course, its impossible to run in the sand. But the monster kicked up huge swirling sand storms as it moved, so we were able to tell where it was and hide in one building or another. Once we were caught without a building to hide in and had to climb in a cement culvert in the sand, and the monster overlooked us.

We found a building then, finally, that was made of cement, metal, and porcelain, and ducked in; we were safe. I was watching out the window as the two monsters shot up through the sky in a magnificent, beautiful, terrible display of lights.

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