Archive for January, 2002

January 31st, 2002

» downhill

I held a stranger’s hand today. Or, rather, a stranger’s mitten. We were both cautious on the ice, and so we crept down the Hill of Death together. This is an old song and dance where I bitch about the lack of plows and salt and sand in this stupid town, and so I’ll spare you. Instead I’ll tell you how nice it was to have a stranger reach comfortably for my shoulder, the basely physical trust.

It reminds me a little of a time my dad took me shopping when I was very young. I was terrified of escalators, the sight of them calling up images of small children’s feet being drawn slowly into the rusty teeth of doom, shoelaces eaten up and rubber soles slipping into the monster’s whirring jaws. There was a girl in my Girl Scout troop who once brought in her mangled shoe, which had been gnawed on in just such an escalator incident. So there was the terror, and then there was the extra-narrow escalator in Penney’s. My dad explained to me that this was a one-person escalator, something I’d never seen before. I’d always held my mom’s hand going down them, because she helped me know when to step. He said we couldn’t do that on this escalator, and I should follow him down. Well, he stepped on and of course I didn’t. I was left alone at the top, and suddenly he might as well have been a thousand miles away. I wouldn’t come down by myself, he couldn’t come back up to get me, and he couldn’t leave me there to go around to the up escalator.

I don’t remember if I cried or not — I probably did. Then a very nice woman asked me if I wanted her to help me down, and I said yes, and she took my hand and rode down the one-person escalator by my side. Sometimes you can just tell the people who are meant to be parents, and she was one of them. I can’t picture her at all (I only remember the impossibly tall escalator with its stairs melting always downward) but I will never forget her.

January 29th, 2002

» a fever of spring

There is a ceiling fan in the Centennial classroom which has no light cover — just a fan and a dangling lightbulb and two little chains. The light is loose, though, and lacking the weight of a cover; as the fan goes round and round so too does the light, the chains clanging rhythmically against it. This small noise, this whirring and clicking, is somewhat distracting. But the most odd thing is the way it moves. That circular pattern coupled with the noise reminds me of an insect or a bird hovering on the ceiling: the small bulbous body, the clucking of the tongue, the bizarre little dance. In the Centennial classroom there is always this fever of spring.

January 23rd, 2002

» jailbird

I had a dream that I was going to jail. Well, actually, it started out that my sister and I were in my parents’ blue van. And that thing is a beast to maneuver. My sister was driving, and we were turning onto a busy road, but there was a police car coming with its lights on. She started turning onto the road anyway, and so I was like “There’s a cop coming, pull over!” and so we had to back down the highway to get over for some reason — we were facing the opposite way as the other cars, and we sort of accidentally scraped a few of them. So we were like Oh Shit. It was like a parking lot on the highway because there were so many cars and no one could move, and the police officer pointed at us, and I was like “Uhm, Mel, she’s pointing at us.” So then she came over, and suddenly the van was facing the correct direction but we were in the back seat, and Mel had been driving from there for some reason. She had her seat belt on but I didn’t, so that was bad too. So the police officer opened the side door and told us to give her the car keys. So we did. And I just knew we were going to jail, and she told us we could bring one personal item with us. So we were walking back home (now we were in the parking lot of the grocery store by my house) and I was worried about, of all fucking things, my HOMEWORK. So I went up to her car and said Uhm, I have a lot of homework. Can my one item be all of my books? And she said okay. So then Mel and I went back home, only we lived in an apartment together, to get our stuff. And we were there for a little bit freaking out, then I woke up.

January 22nd, 2002

» ‘home by tomorrow’

Last night I slept fitfully, woken often by light and sound and troubling dreams. I had to be back to school for class, but it was already 10:30 p.m. and it’s an eight hour drive. I dreamt twice of this. First my mother and sister were going to drive down with me and my dad was going to come pick them up the next day. in the second dream I was going to fly, and the drive to the airport was full of darkness and stars and harsh, bright city lights.

January 17th, 2002

» movie night

I dreamt that Katie (my roommate) and I were going to the movies. There was some wait at the ticket counter because of a mix-up with printing the tickets. We were sort of holding up the line, so I told this girl who had come up that she could have our tickets if she gave us her cash, to be nice and let her get into the show before it started. She took the tickets, but she only gave us $2, then walked away. So of course we tried to stop her.

The dream sort of jumped here and she was sitting in this row of chairs, waiting for the theater’s manager to question her and fix the problem. The odd thing was that she was wearing ice skates. After a while she got up and ran out of the building, so two people who were with me (I think Katie and Stephanie) ran after her while I tried to find a security officer. I yelled for help, and the guy in charge of that came and looked out the window. The three of them (the girl, Katie, and Stephie) had gotten into a fight and were tussling in the street amid traffic, narrowly avoiding cars. The man was going to go out there, but this woman behind the counter said “Isn’t that a dangerous situation?” So he said he wouldn’t go.

At that point the three outside oddly rolled into sort of a wheel, like you see in cartoons, and went spinning out of control down the hill. It was all quite real, and so very disconcerting.