Abstract oils
Happy little abstract shapes. Photo by Steve Johnson (unsplash.com).

Fragmentary Passages

The month of February was supposed to be momentous! Yet, for the life of me, I can hardly remember anything but a few scattered thoughts. In no particular order, these are: 1) our daughter Olivia learned how to roll over; 2) Erica’s folks moved back to Spokane; 3) I helped my grandma solve some word puzzles on her tablet; 4) my dad had several bloody noses; 5) I’ve started watching The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross on Pluto TV.

While writing that previous paragraph, I was reminded of a dream. It’s almost a recurring dream at this point, but since the events are rarely the same, I suppose it’s a recurring theme instead of a dream. I’ve had two of them so far, and I’ll endeavor to share them with you. Let’s call them Dream A and Dream B. The theme is Ellensburg, WA.

In Dream A, I found myself going back to school—or planning to go back—the details are a little hazy. They function less like facts and more like feelings. Central Washington University was my home for close to two years, but it hasn’t featured in my dreams before now. I’m not sure why it’s making a comeback.

“Dream Jon,” as I’ll call my doppelgänger, was excited at the prospect of being a student again. Clearly, dream Jon is an optimistic idiot. Stomping around campus as my mid-30-something-self filled me with a sense of wonder. I felt like anything could happen. I’m not sure what classes I had signed up for, but my credit load wasn’t too taxing. The plan was to ease myself back into the swing of things. Also, I still needed to sort out my living arrangement.

Truth be told, the dormitory where I was supposed to live was a bit of a dumpster fire. Four to five students were expected to share a single bedroom. That single bedroom had a kitchenette and a living room jumbled together in the same space as our living quarters. Stacked bunkbeds lined the walls between the refrigerator and stove. One of the walls was a pocket wall, meaning it could slide into itself and reveal another part of the dormitory, namely a busy hallway. So much for privacy.

The living situation began to weigh on Dream Jon as I claimed a bunk for myself. If you’ve ever been to camp, you know how it goes—where you dump your stuff is where you’ll be living for a while. Better make a good choice! The lights were dim, so I couldn’t see how many other students had already claimed a bunk. My intention was to talk to nobody and spend as little time here as possible. Sociable, I know.

The angst of the dormitory escalated within a few minutes. Apart from a sleeping bag, I realized I hadn’t brought any of my belongings with me. Even more shocking was the realization that I had a full-time job. How was I going to attend school and keep my job? Then the biggest kicker set in—I remembered that I have a wife and kid! What was I thinking? Forget going back to school. These days, I hardly have enough time to take a shower.

So that was Dream A. Dream B involved a parking garage and President Bush. I was in Ellensburg in a parking garage, trying to find my vehicle when the president approached me. He was looking a bit haggard—obviously older than when he was in office but still amiable. An entourage of servicemen followed him closely. He said something presidential to me—I don’t remember what, but it was a rhetorical comment, more of a statement acknowledging my presence than an actual conversation-starter. That’s when I noticed that the president’s eyebrow was falling off. Yes, his eyebrow had been sewn on—rather clumsily, I might add. It was dangling in front of his right eyeball in a way that no eyebrow should.

The Vice President, whom I assume was Dick Cheney, prevented the president from getting any closer to me. He was trying to block my view of the president by standing in front of him. The president didn’t seem to notice that anything was amiss, nor did he seem aware that his eyebrows were stitched on. I couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t sound stupid, so I said nothing. That’s my response to a lot of things lately.

After the parking garage, I found myself walking along a wet sidewalk and complaining about how abysmal the weather had been. Ellensburg was supposed to be dryer than western Washington! My feet seemed to be taking me back in the direction of the parking garage. I recall Dream Jon noting that this segment of the dream must have been out of sequence. Astute observation, my friend.

Alas, here is where the dream ended. Now I’m left to ponder what it all means.

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