Family tradition(s)

Yesterday I had the day off and did some family things with my daughters. We leveled my wife’s parents’ refrigerator, which a friend and I had delivered to them recently and which had been rocking. I tipped it back and Beta screwed one leg (of the refrigerator) out until it was the right length to make the fridge level. I changed a lock at the inlaws’.
Stuff like that.
Then we drove to the girls’ place where I drilled holes in the concrete wall (in order to bracket a bookshelf to the wall) with my new impact drill, which I bought a while ago after my old drill died in a shower of sparks while trying to drill holes in a concrete wall.
We had lunch. Then we briefly strolled to the bookstore, which this year was voted (I don’t know by whom) the best bookstore in the country.
We went in and the manager either recognized us or is just a nice guy. We asked him for coffee and he made us some. We fanned out and started filling up on books. This is one of the family traditions the title of this post refers to. When we collectively visit a bookstore, it is more of a raid than shopping. We fan out and meet at the cash register at closing time, arms full, no two books the same.
I only planned to buy two books but the manager started telling me about good books so I got six, then I saw the new David Sedaris book so I got seven, then two for my wife, then I ordered another one for her, after consulting with the manager again. He didn’t ask my name when processing the order, so I suppose he really did recognize us. Since I stopped buying anything through Amazon I order all my books from him and Beta or Gamma pick them up for me.
Then we left and I carried my loot to the car, and my drilling gear, and forgot one more fatherly task I had planned to do, and went on a date with Alpha, to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our first kiss. Alpha wore a dirndl and we went to a Japanese restaurant that was okay. It has received good reviews but served modern sort of fusion food based on Japanese cuisine, too many spices and mayonnaise for our taste, and the service was a little too attentive in our opinion, but it’s always nice to go on a date with Alpha.
Then we went to bed early because we’re trying to sleep 8 hours at night. And we both had dreams, which is unusual for a work night.

Der Traumpolizist

You are whining in your sleep. I pat your head and you stop.

At breakfast I ask you about the dream.

You tell me: powerlessness and loss, violation and theft, paralysis and loss of voice. Weakness, hopelessness and fear. Exhaustion and failure.

Every living thing must have dreams like this. Especially after a week like the one we just had. Fear of this disease or that, fear of going broke, fear of getting old and having nothing. Fear of cancer in me, or — a thousand times worse — fear of cancer in a 16 year old boy.

But then yesterday the reprieve: alles okay. Everybody healthy for now. Sometimes the universe just wants to give you a good scare.

Tonight I will be the dream police. I will find the robbers and get back your purse.

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.

Evil Mig

My wife told me I was laughing in my sleep so hard and so long I woke her up the other night. She says it was an evil laugh, not my usual laugh.

I wish I could remember the dream, I think.