running late, the author recounts recent dreams
Normally, I take the 17:15 bus from Philadelphia, and it gets me to Bethlehem around 19:10. On Fridays, traffic is worse, and its arrival is closer to 19:30. I’m writing this at 18:50, and we’ve just now gotten off the streets of downtown Philadelphia. We spent about ninety minutes sitting on Walnut Street, doing nothing. A cab driver insisted that the bus hit him, but couldn’t show much or any damage. Despite this, and despite exchanging insurance information, he was not going to let us go. He demanded that we wait for his insurance agent. The bus driver was livid and the other passengers exasperated. I was just disappointed that I’d be getting home in time for nearly no time with Martha before she starts heading to bed.
On the subject of sleep, I will note that I have had a number of very memorable dreams, lately.
The most memorable was very simple and pleasant, until I woke up. Our usual source for coffee and tea, Oh Alan, closed a few months ago. Apparently it’s going to be replaced by a chain waffle place, Bonte. As they also do ice cream, Gloria and I think we’ll probably eschew them in favor of supporting the Hedgehog. In my dream, Alan’s was instead replaced by a donut shop, which is a rumor we’d heard, too, in the waking world. The donuts served by this shop were sublime. They were cake-like donuts, and the cake was light and moist, and fell apart under its own weight. Only the fully-enrobing icing kept them in shape. The icing was soft and giving, but would not smear. It was more like a gelatin than an icing, and it was also incredibly delicious.
As time went on, in my dream, I diverted my usual walk to the bus so that I could stop at the donut place every day. Eventually, their production was so great that they began to donate their excess (but fresh) donuts to the city. Main Street was lined with small trees in ceramic planters, and atop the mulch were piled delicious, fresh donuts. On my way to work, I would stop in to the shop, buy a donut, and then eat a few more, plucked from the planters as I continued in.
When I woke, the next morning, I immediately craved a donut, but had a terrifying revelation: there was nowhere I knew of that could provide me with a donut that I would be able to enjoy, after those perfect dream donuts.
This thought haunted me for days, and I actually began to worry about it. Would I ever forget the dream donuts?
Gloria went to the grocery on Thursday, and when she came back, she brought with her two peanut crunch donuts. I ate mine, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I couldn’t help thinking, though, about those donuts in my dreams. I think they will have changed my life, as my dreams all too often do.
Another night this week, I dreamed that I was eating dinner in a nice restaurant. It was a fairly fancy place, but for some reason I was drinking Pepsi from a can at my table. It didn’t occur to me that this was odd. What I did notice was that halfway through my soda, it no longer tasted any good. I checked the expiration date and saw that it expired in January 2008. “Well,” I said, “as it is September (of 2007), I’m sure it’s still fine.”
Someone nearby overheard this, and said, “September? It’s May of 2008!”
Somehow, I confirmed this, and I realized what was going on: the restaurateurs were somehow stealing time from me. Every few moments, days or weeks would pass, and I would not notice, but would continue on as if nothing happened. The windows were all shaded, and I couldn’t see the seasons change. (I don’t know how they kept my meal fresh. Perhaps we were between courses.) I was full of an intense sense of dread, and woke up.
I woke up completely, in fact, immediately wide awake. I scrambled to get under the covers, where I would be safe from the time-stopping waitstaff. It took me nearly two hours to fall back to sleep.
When I did, I had other strange dreams. One somehow concerned my guinea pigs, who were unhappy, or attempting somehow to escape. I didn’t remember it well when I woke up. In another, Gloria was going to give birth. I don’t know whether this was a second baby, or Martha again, or what. For some reason, we weren’t at the birthing center, but at a supermarket of some kind. While Gloria was laboring, I was running in and out, buying small loads of groceries and then checking on her progress.
I believe, but am not positive, that the grocery was somehow suspended in the stratosphere.
I’ve never been big on trying to force myself to dream about one thing or another, but if my mind wants to take me to the donut store again, tonight, I will not complain.