Careers in Science: Oneirology

Honey, if you want to be dreamy, you gotta get up early.

The oneirologist has this epiphany climbing the subway stairs, way over on one side by the handrail because a train has just disgorged a load of passengers who are all coming down the stairs like the oneirologist is a salmon.

And as he climbs he watches them and some look relaxed and some, one mother in particular, are hurrying. The woman is hurrying and dragging a little kid by the hand, as if they have two minutes to reach a connecting ride. And the oneirologist thinks, you can be efficient or you can be dreamy. Then he thinks of his daughter, who is both efficient and dreamy. So he sort of revises his thought to be less absolutist. If you want a fast commute in the morning, you have to be organized. If you want to be poky and dreamy, though, you have to get up early and allow yourself a lot of time.

The oneirologist couldn’t live any other way. This is why he goes to bed so early at night, so he can get up early and dink around.

The oneirologist likes to watch what happens to the light outside as he drinks his coffee.

The oneirologist likes to listen to the evolution of the sounds in the house as people and animals and garbage trucks start their days.

The oneirologist likes to do some stretches and pushups.

The oneirologist likes to scramble eggs.

He likes to write a little in a journal.

Last night, on his way home from meeting a friend at an advent market and drinking hot winter punch and catching up on things, the oneriologist was accosted by a lot of beggars. The first one got all his change, the ones after that were out of luck.

In one instance, as he waited for a street car, being accosted by one beggar prevented him from being accosted by another beggar. He watched a woman, who was giving off strong vibes of psychological trouble, preparing herself to accost him, when a man swooped in from out of nowhere and began telling him a story. This is known as the narrative method of panhandling.

Unfortunately, the oneirologist is hard of hearing, and it was noisy, and the man was speaking fast, and in dialect, so the oneirologist resorted to empty phrases to keep the conversation rolling:

Is that right?

Oh, that really sucks!

Man, no fooling?

He wanted to give the man money, but was out of change and said so. He apologized a second time as the man left. The man had his pride and said, no problem!

There but for two months salary and a suit go I, thought the oneirologist.

Two months salary, a suit and manners. He thought. And a bath, or a makeover.

But, otherwise.

The oneirologist recalled a recent visit to a jewelry store to buy a Christmas present for someone who had, fortunately, specified exactly (exactly!) what she wanted.

The sales clerks had ignored him for fifteen minutes. Normally, around Christmas time they are swarming you, right?

They would have ignored him for longer, until he left, but he grabbed one by the suspenders, or whatever, and dragged her to the brightly-lit glass display case and said, ‘that one there,’ and made his purchase.

It had been a Saturday, and on the weekends the oneirologist dresses in a more casual manner, and had looked rather bummy right then.

But still.

Even a five, if he’d had a five, he would have given it to the guy.

Who smells so good?

His stop was coming he put away his H.P. Lovecraft story collection – he had just finished The Horror at Red Hook – stood up and let his momentum do the walking for him as the train slowed and wow who smells so good? The pretty girl with an expression suggesting pain? The tall, husky, bearded lad with his long, black hair up in a bun? Can’t be me, he thought, my cologne is spicier and more amber. This is turquoise and iris and cumulus clouds.

Not the dogfaced screamers, nor the eldritch, seething, apelike, Asian devilworshipping Kurds (I left a few things out – swarthy, dark, what else?) Lovecraft was getting so worked up about in The Horror at Red Hook.

Avoiding dogfaced screamers, the man followed a five-year-old girl with sneakers with blinking soles, her big sister holding her hand, down the stairs and to the streetcar stop.

What is your pet peeve? Lovecraft was a xenophobe. This man here, he tried not to think about charity. Everytime he reads about a company running a charity event for one of their employees in dire financial straits because something fell on them or plowed into them or bit them, he has to think, why didn’t the company provide their employees with decent health insurance instead?

Every time he reads a heartwarming (seriously) story about thousands of people running or marching for a cause, he has to wonder why they aren’t marching on a capitol building or a country club instead. With torches and pitchforks.

He gave a panhandler twice as much as she was asking for yesterday, it’s not that he’s opposed to generosity.

When some billionaire donates money to a cause, he has to think, they should pay taxes, instead. Financing causes is plutocracy. Paying taxes is democracy.

He begins to walk up the hill to work, reading his book as he goes. He takes a big, Ministry-of-Funny-Walks step to avoid something that is either a dog turd that looks like a partially-eaten chocolate pretzel, or a partially-eaten chocolate pretzel. A mean-faced woman with dark red — almost black — lipstick walks three little kids the opposite way past him and gives him a scowl. A little blonde girl passes perpendicularly on her way to school.  A gang of little boys laugh about something in a good-natured way.

It is windy and the sun is out.