Friday, 24 October 2008

The Ineffable Gravity of Thinking

Being a dream, the time is now. Sort of. And all subsequent parenthetical arrangements are afterthoughts and analysis, independent of the dream.


Daddy is driving Ronnie and me to go bowling, to a place we've been recently and want to go back to ("driving to" being not entirely accurate, in that I couldn't remember where the place was).

On Ridgeview, in front of the Higgins' house or thereabouts, the truck becomes a bus of sorts, loaded with books (fittingly enough, because I'm gonna use the on-board telephone directory to look for the address of this particular bowling alley).

The books are unevenly distributed, but stacked on each of the seats. Daddy tells Ronnie (who may have become Jeff) that he can have any of the books, should he want them.

I see loads of Mad paperbacks on the seats directly behind the driver's seat (must've been Gock's). I think: I should remember to take some too. They helped me learn German (not these, translated versions found at another place and time).

It occurs to me that Jeff has never seen The Big Lebowski. I should tell him that he would really like it, I think to myself, but don't say anything (not that I'm sure. But Higgins - Jeff Higgins. Jeff Lebowski? Some details come along later).

Addling through the phone book, frustated, I recall Mama's theory that the human brain's ineptitude is directly proportional to the computer's efficiency. WHERE THE FUCK IS THIS BOWLING ALLEY!?

Daddy takes this all in stride, of course (nary a comment, as I recall, and it wasn't due to his condition, I don't think, though this detail was present).

There being ostensibly several exemplars throughout the bus, I go to another copy of the Yellow Pages after the decision not to use the White Pages SINCE I DON'T KNOW THE FUCKING NAME OF THE PLACE!! Daddy recommends something or another (was he not at the wheel just then, and if not, who was drivin' the friggin' bus?).

We're getting nowhere. I can't seem to find anything, or even focus on finding anything in the directory. Ronnie is Ronnie again. We're somewhere alongside a wide main road (kind of like Washington way out east) parked at the curb.

All of a sudden, in the rearview mirror I see a big Loews sign in the parking lot adjacent the other side of the street and blurt out the query, "Wasn't it next to a Loews?"

I receive neither confirmation nor denial, yet something is telling me that I am correct (this EUREKA was quite an emotional counterpoint to the scatterbrained hopelessness I'd felt with the Yellow Pages).

Daddy, remaining the sport he always is in being on a mission from which HE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO GAIN, calmly drives up to the road I thought we were just parked on, crosses it turning left, and we head to the place, which I can confirm now is the right one (though I've forgotten the name again now that I'm awake. Did I ever know or see the name of the place? A detail lost perhaps).

Just as he is driving through the two entry doorways - and at the moment's occurrence that he shouldn't be doing this - it becomes clear that this is, indeed, standard procedure, because a guy spots him on the way in and gives him the, "Okay, stop" signal just before Daddy taps the dude's knees with the bumper of what is once again his truck. The guy shrugs this off with a smile, as if it's all in a day's work.

We get out and in my mind there's this back and forth: Shit, it's Thursday. Do we even have time to bowl before they close? What does the sign say?

When I finally locate the sign, it says something along the following lines:

Bowling - from & until some time on various days
Some Other Activity - until another, slightly different time
(probably in chalk)

I establish that we do have time. Turns out bowling is 'til 2am. It's midnight. Ronnie and I talk over how we're gonna get back later and decide it'll be best to go to "the other place" and Ronnie asks if I can get the key from Daddy.

I ask Daddy if it would make sense for us to just take a taxi to the other house when we're done, and if I can have the key. I notice that one of the guys working here overhears this and am suddenly embarrassed/distrustful now that he knows that we have a second house.

I fumble with two sets of several keys, which I've apparently already gotten on this visit for some other purpose, and while deciding on a left-pocket/right-pocket configuration, Daddy is taking a set of about three keys from his larger set and explaining how I'll find yet another key in the car at the house (oh the detail).

Now Daddy and I are in an employee room/entryway around the corner, and he is putting on a kind of torso-harness that he wears for driving. Velcro is involved.

"Are you gonna be okay to drive?" I ask, and he achieves this "I can't believe your going to let me" look on his face that seems more than just a joke.

It's time to say goodbye, we near each other to hug, and he starts to cry. I say something stupid like, "You don't have to cry," even though, anticipating this, I'd started to cry as well, and we hug and he says, "I love you, David," and I tell him I love him too.

I'd rather he not drive alone. I'm worried. I conceive that just maybe he plans to crash on the way back home on purpose, as this would give him a good excuse. No, I think, he wouldn't do that. I feel uncertain. I'm just really worried and don't want him to drive. Feeling responsible.

Just then, an alternative suddenly presents itself. We see that there are a few large-sized vehicle seats in this room. Before we can even discuss this fact, and as if we've just had the same thought, he just lies down on one of the seats and promptly goes to sleep. I therefore need to go back into the main room and ask if it's okay for him to sleep here.

Somewhere near the cash register area, I patiently stand before a couple of employees as they discuss something, and then, as another person arrives - half noticing me, and then joining their conversation - I feel slightly more eager to settle my issue (I never was able to order at a bar, it's a wonder I ever managed to get communion).

Finally, a woman in the group breaks off, and in departing says something like, "What can I do for you, davidly?"

She walks towards the room where Daddy is sleeping. I thank her for being so sweet and remembering my name. We're coming into the room together, so I hurriedly begin to ask if it'd be okay...

There is a woman sleeping on one of the other seats now! She looks like a vagabond, lying less orderly than Daddy is, sort of in a sloppy fetal position (whereas Daddy was in Captain Kirk in-the-resting-chambers mode).

I fear that this other woman will affect the decision as to whether or not Daddy will be allowed to remain here. Observing her shock at the presence of not just one, but two people sleeping in the room, I attempt preemptively to assure her that I've no idea who the woman is, that she wasn't even there before. She expresses concern about letting Daddy stay where any thief might come and rob him in his sleep.

At some point during all of this, I imagine the possibility of his sleeping in the truck if all else fails. I suggest, however, that maybe if he goes to the other seat that is a little bit lower, and therefore more out of the way, that he might be safe (quite comical in that it was only a few feet away).

She agrees (I can't remember what else, if anything, happened. Maybe this is when I awoke).

The dream faded to stirring slumber, I assume. I lay there for quite some time, debating with myself the virtue of getting all of this down before it became non-access memory. I'm sure I waited longer than I should have, but the subsequent rumination gave rise to what follows.

I apologize for leaving, but isn't that what we do? By moving, although I do mean leaving, I don't intend to abandon anyone. My various departures are not some grand gesture, rather feeble fleeing, but restlessly searching nevertheless. I don't know what from or whereto. I don't know why. I don't even know who, let alone what I am. Purpose is beyond all comprehension.

Why here? Good question. Why bowling? Everything in my dreams is only sourced from EVERYTHING I'VE EVER THOUGHT. Everything I've ever thought is presaged by the eternal presence of not belonging anywhere in particular:

From when shortly after Rick Roman died, when I had that dream in which the two of us were somwhere indistinct, and he said to me, "You don't belong here."

I told Beth Ida Stern about this, whereupon she felt prompted to reassure me that maybe he meant where he actually was (in the land of the dead) and not at ImprovOlympic (where we'd performed together). I'd thought of that already, but it was still unsettling.

All the way back to when I was about eight years old, sitting on the toilet and said to myself, "You don't belong in this family."

Where the fuck did that come from?

Welcome or not, concurring existences have shattered against the overwhelming reminder of being at odds, despite details that would indicate otherwise. Just like two different versions of the same book, read decades apart, were able to become one, when I'd tapped the nonlinear nature of my subconscious memory.

Accompanying that eight-year-old's revelation was the first time I recall a remarkably vague physical sensation that I've had on occasion throughout my life. I used to think of it as a feeling and flavor in my mouth - a structure with a solid metal surface, and some kind of padding sandwiched in its middle - on which I would bite and sense a pliable hardness against my teeth.

Upon and after awakening just now, it was here again. But this time it stayed long enough for further analysis, more extensive than I'd ever felt afforded before. The thin metal plates with dense sponginess still applies, but there is something more. For while it's not actually tangible, I feel this sensation quite profoundly.

It is a weight, and heavy though it seems, it is also extreme in its lightness somehow. It is - or was a moment ago, anyway - a concentration of mass inside my upper torso and extending to the inner workings of my head.

Yes. It is a dense mass, it is inertly heavy, if that's possible, and strong. Heavy, but only to the degree which keeps me from flying off and away from the earth.

As much as I'd like to end with that, another thought has just come to mind. Could this also be the waste in my intestines?

So much detail, while so seemingly important, can contain far too much information to digest.