But in the dream all the street signs were different and there was some wireless device in the car that allowed me to talk to the other people heading to the party in their cars, like a group navigation program. Where are you now? Turn left at the next light! Make sure it’s green first! And the street signs themselves were electronic and the font on the signs changed depending on which direction you were traveling. If I traveled north the signs were in one font but heading South they were another and one way streets were in red on one side and green in the direction of travel. The party was near where I thought the mall was but as we got close there was a restaurant in the middle of a field and it was one of those steak places that looked both stamped out by a cookie cutter and Western all at the same time. It’s interesting that we get all shocked and shaken by anyone invading some country somewhere else in the world but when we invaded this part of the world it was like an adventure with intrepid explorers. We even called it The New World even though there were already people here and had been for thousands of years. There’s a twisted sort of romance in the shtick where everyone believes it’s okay to feel homey about the Wild West even though the natives of that area were killed off en masse. If enough time passes even people like the Vikings become football mascots and everything they stood for now is reduced to horned helmets and furry clothes. I keep waiting for the Nazis to become cartoon figures in some way, and it’s already begun on the Internet with the Downfall memes. There is a sort of grim satisfaction in watching Hitler being transformed into a sort of ventriloquist’s dummy, with words he would have never spoken being subtitled in. I’ve heard the arguments that this sort of thing takes the edge of evil off him a bit, and I think that’s true, but it also makes him impossible to be taken seriously ever again. Once you see Hitler throwing a fit because he just found out Michael Jackson is dead and won’t be performing at his birthday party, Mien Kampf starts to read like something Boxxy came up with on a bad hair day.
Got off on a bit on a tangent there, didn’t I?
So the party at this steakhouse was a retirement party and there were people from all parts of my life, present and past, and there seemed to be some sort of retirement for both my older sister and myself. It was an odd thing because the inside of the restaurant was festooned with pastel colored crepe paper and balloons like it was a prom. All the people there were drinking and singing and having a great time, but I felt lost for some reason, as if I knew this was not somewhere I really was. I’ve had that feeling in dreams before and it usually means I’m about to wake up but this time I didn’t know I had fallen asleep so it felt even stranger than before. It’s one thing to go to bed and know there is a possibility of a dream and it is another thing altogether to just lay down for what you think is a moment or two, with plans to do stuff and interact with people and then suddenly be in Albany Georgia at a party in a streak house where the waitresses are keeping spare tableware in holsters on their hips. And it is a shame none of these women really exist, too. I suspect most of the women I dream about, those who are figures in the background like movie extras, are compilations of women I have known or at least seen. One of the waitresses had the walk of a woman I do know, and it’s not the exaggerated hip swinging walk some women practice but that smoothing rolling walk like an ocean swell that doesn’t need to break and foam to suggest infinite depth and power. What makes it more attractive is I don’t think the woman I know realizes she walks like that at all. I think she would have a stroke if she knew I was watching her like this, particularly since she’s an instructor at the Y, but women are still women regardless if they’re working the public for tips or working out.
Suddenly I was driving home, and just as suddenly I was flying through the air. It was totally dark and I didn’t have any source of light but my cell phone. I saw a flash of tawny brown, and knew it was a deer, no, a herd of them, and we call this stretch of road “Antler Alley” because there are so many. I try to swerve in midair but a deer was right in front of me so I reached out and pushed it hard.
I woke up, pushing the Loki Mutt off the bed. It was two in the morning.