Worst. Doctor visit. Ever.

We are sitting in a psychiatrist's waiting room. Beside me is a quiet middle-aged man. In front of me, in a chair against the wall, is another middle-aged man, reading a magazine. He's got a weird, ruddy texture to his face, like he's been burned or had bad acne as a kid. He looks up from his magazine and sees the man next to me, and a flicker of recognition lights his face.

"Hey, you're [so-and-so]," he mumbles, unsure of himself.

The man next to me grows surly when he realizes he's been spotted. He mutters something rude under his breath, something in the vein of leave me alone.

The man in front of me keeps looking at the man beside me, and his confidence grows. I get the distinct feeling that the man beside me does NOT want this dude to ask for his autograph. Which he promptly does, which causes the man beside me to say something really rude and confrontational.

Both men are standing now, and I'm just sort of watching them from below and the man with the weird face takes a swing at the famous man's face. He connects, and suddenly I'm trying to get out of the way of this brawl in the middle of the waiting room.

Some older man starts clearing everyone out and sending us home. Crystal Wade and Tamara are there in the parking lot, and they offer me a ride. I turn them down because I drove my own car. They leave and I walk to the area of the lot where I remember parking, and see that my car and several others have been placed behind a makeshift barrier of corrugated metal and barbed wire. Like a junkyard fence. I sigh a thousand sighs and go back inside the clinic to get someone to let my car out.

The front foyer has been completely closed off with tall walls of Plexiglass, and the far wall has some kind of scared-looking black dog perched on the top of it. I see that the dog is on a leash, and the leash leads to somewhere behind the wall. I wonder how the dog stays balanced and what happens if it falls. Wouldn't it choke?

Suddenly I'm somewhere else — presumably behind the wall — and I'm being ushered into a dark room, like a bedroom, and made to wait — presumably for my car to be let loose. I wait for a long time, long enough to eventually find myself wearing pajamas, when someone comes in and I ask him if my car is ready yet and he acts like it's been ready for freaking ages and what was I waiting for?



We are in some kind of run-down hotel room. My grandmother is in the bathroom showering, and my brother and I are in the living/sleeping area surveying the place. I'm going from window to window, closing the blinds and then the sheers and then the drapes. I get everything closed and then realize that the door in and out of the room is a huge sliding-glass door. There are no blinds or anything on it. It looks out onto a courtyard — a busy area spotted with dark, damp soil and clumps of grass.

I go over to the door and attempt to open it, when I look down and realize that the thing has shattered and I've sliced my finger open. I can't really say that it hurts too much. I decide that my brother — in the dream, he's young, maybe 12 — and I need to go to the office to report the breakage so maybe they'll move us to a different room. We peek outside the room, down the courtyard, and see a skanky-looking hand-painted sign pointing us to the office. Suddenly it feels like we're in the poor, rural part of another country, possibly Mexico.

We traipse down to the office and attempt to explain what happened to the door. The clerks — who are old with deeply grooved, tanned faces — don't seem terribly swayed. In fact, they want to turn it around like we should have to pay for the damage, which I'm not even sure we caused.

I try to convince them that they are the ones at fault. I even brag that I was cut, implying that I could sue their asses. They are utterly nonplussed.

Grandma wants to watch horror movies.

My Grandma Charlie is visiting from California, and she announces that today is special grandma-granddaughter bonding time. This usually means a fun day full of shopping and heart-to-hearts over her chardonnays and my lattes, so I'm stoked. Then she tells me that she wants to watch some scary movies. I'm immediately even more stoked, but then I think Wait, she probably has a way different idea of scary than I do. And she's in her 70's. Let's take this easy. She just doesn't do horror, at all, so this is a big deal. My dad has to run an errand at Lowe's and, for some reason, we go with him. There's a big bin of previously viewed movies there and she starts going through them. I'm thinking she's going to go with something like The Uninvited (1945 version), which is cool with me because it's an awesome movie and I dig cheesy 40's one-liners. No. She comes to me with her arms full, with titles like Hellraiser, Return of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Omen (1976), Sleepaway Camp (!), Poltergeist, and... Labyrinth. She really wants to watch Dawn of the Dead. I quickly mentally scan through it. 1.5 sex scenes, some swearing, gratuitous zombie violence-goodness. Ok. But I really, really want to watch Labyrinth, and I think it's cute that she mistook it for horror. Understandable. We never get to decide on one because that's when I woke up.

Third Wheel

I dreamt I was asleep in my bed in my apartment. Then Jordan Cox, from Scrubs, came walking in like she lived there and said, "Perry was masturbating in the shower! Let's pretend we're having sex." So then the bed was on the opposite side of the room and she was on top of me and we were making out. We got tired of waiting for him to stumble upon us, and then the bed was back in its place. Just as she was getting up and saying, "Maybe he'll," Dr. Cox came sauntering in in sweats with a towel around his neck and said to his wife, "Your friend needs to get the hell out of here. She's not paying rent and this is ridiculous." I realize suddenly that this isn't my apartment after all, and I haven't been paying rent, and I wonder what the hell I'm going to do. I accurately recall the balance of my bank account and realize that it won't cover a security deposit on a new apartment and still cover my bills, but I still start to get up out of bed and collect my things.


Waking life ... asleep

All night last night, Wiley Wiggins kept trying to make out with me. Which was fine, it was just weird because I didn't know him in the dream and suddenly he wanted to be my boyfriend? Weird.

And I saw some kind of giant tower of dead and mutilated deer, positions in the middle of the downtown area of a city. I just kept wondering how the people whose windows gazed out on the thing felt.

upping the Warcraft ante

I'm so excited I finally have a dream to post. It's rare that I have a dream and even more rare if I have one I remember long enough to talk about.

I'm so embarrassed my dream was similar to World of Warcraft. I play the game, but haven't had time to log on in quite a while. So I'm a little surprised it showed up in my subconscious.

Anyway, I dreamed I was a mage (a class I never play) and I was going through soon-to-be-added game content as a beta tester. Only instead of sitting at a computer and playing, I was outfitted with a suit that actually put me in the game.

I enter the dungeon and immediately start screaming, whirling, floating and hurling bolts at enemies in the dungeon. I kill off a few until one runs and triggers animation on another. In the game, this is called getting adds. So suddenly, across the way, mobs (as the enemies are called) start throwing maces outfitted with very sharp blades. One whizzes past me and I realize this form of beta testing could kill me.

I lay down on my back flat on the walkway using the castle-like border as my shield. Maces are flying over and embedding themselves in the wall. Then, I'm suddenly talking as though there is another entity listening to me while I'm in-game. Now that I think about it, I think I was talking to myself ... outside the dungeon. This makes me feel very very crazy.

I say I'm going to have to blink out of here since I can't make a portal. (These are two in-game abilities. Blink moves the mage several yards in whatever direction he or she is facing. Portal allows the mage to travel to a set destination using a spell reagent. Yes. nerdy.)

I start moving along the floor several yards at a time, tilting my head to see where I'm going. After a little while, I'm out of the way of flying maces and I discover this other person I have been talking to is inside the dungeon as well. She's trapped and I'm supposed to get her out. I tell her "I'm going to have to use that spell." Somehow it's understood I'm going to use an ability that will turn me into an entity entirely made of energy. I would become an indiscriminate killing machine. The Other nods and walks over into another area.

I float up and shift into this thing that looks like a purple ball of lightning and start rushing at one mob in the room all while screaming like a banshee. I make the mob explode from the inside out. I move on to another and another, causing the entire room to erupt in screams of terror. Any remaining mobs run out. My ability has not faded, so I move to another room.

Bad move.

In here is a boss with his minion. I think about how fantastic my run in this dungeon has been going so far since in the game no class, let alone mage, would be able to solo an upper-level dungeon. I alight close by the two and suddenly, my pure-energy ability fades.

Now in real game play, I would have been dead. Lucky for me in dreamland, my brain just shifted to a different kind of playing field. Now all the area around me is cubicles with their 3/4 walls and desks. The room I'm in is empty of people save the boss and his minion-now-secretary who are hot on my heels.

I run over and suddenly I'm in Corporateland in some generic office with generic people and generic office plants amid a flurry of activity. I'm still talking to the Other telling her "don't worry. I'm going to get you out."

The dream progresses into something rather sinister and bizarre, so I'll end here. The corporate world is a scary place.


I blame the lunar eclipse

I'm selling my shoes at an indoor neighborhood swap. It's time to leave and I forget my purse. (Put that aside for a moment; we'll get back to it.) My grandparents, mother, and I get into a very modern, mass-produced-looking spaceship and fly to another planet. I look out through the sunroof and see that we're approaching a lovely, perfectly round ball of orange light. We arrive at what seems to be my grandparents' condo, a cozy space obviously created with the future in mind, despite the lack of obvious futuristic technology like the Jetsons had. The condo's designer was clear about where he or she was building, but there are no signs of robots or automatic whatsits. There are nooks with rows of bookshelves and a tiny opening to a rather large bedroom with minimal furniture. Everything is white, but I can see a few glimpses of my grandmother's feminine style on the countertops and in the fabrics.

Once we've settled, I find out that someone has taken my abandoned purse and stolen my identity. I can get on the computer and watch a young woman spend my money. She spends thousands of dollars on flowers. I can't stop crying and spend my entire vacation on another planet trying to get the fraud department to shut down my credit cards. I can feel that my family is annoyed with me; they think I'm being dramatic. This hurts.


Bits and pieces

Lots of little dream bits last night.


I've trekked into unfamiliar territory, by car or by foot or by combination of both, to a building where a kind of informal committee resides, to try to apply for the zombie walk permit (this is something I'm in the middle of doing now in real life). I'm having to appeal to a group of elders to get approval. I tell them all about our plans, and the date (last Friday in April). They get a little iffy about it and point me to the CA's M section, where there's a story about Native Americans coming from all over to gather and pay their ancestors' respects downtown that day. I feel gross about hundreds of people lurching around as a zombies while people are spending the day mourning their ancestors, so it occurs to me that we might ought to move the date to the end of May. I find Sharon and Leah, two of my fellow organizers, and tell them what's up. They're really disappointed (Sharon rolls her eyes in a moment of Oh yeah, I think I knew about that!!!), and while I'm explaining what's going on, it occurs to me that it might not be a problem after all. I check the CA article and see that the bulk of the Native American ceremonies will take place around noon. Our march will be after six.

We breathe a sigh of relief.


I find myself trying to get back to somewhere and being confronted with an ocean and a beach. I'm standing on a concrete landing, under a pavilion. I can either go back to wherever I'd come from, or go forward and inch along the side of a cinder-block building, against the angry waves of the ocean aggressively lapping at the side of the building. I imagine a swell of salty water and drowning there, trapped. So I go back the way I came.


It's like I'm watching Flavor Flav's show. He's welcoming the camera into his crib in New Orleans (did I gank any of this from real life?). There's a butler at the door of a shotgun-style mansion (it is the definition of "ghetto fabulous") whose facade is an icky green color, with peeling paint and a cagey wrought-iron door. I get the feeling that Flav's house has been recovered after being mostly destroyed by Katrina. Inside, everything is damp and the walls are plaster and buckled and peeling. The long hallway runs parallel to some other hallway where a pulley system has been set up with all of Flav's clothes hanging on it. The clothes move along and he can choose what outfit he wants at the door at the end of the hall. I (or the camera?) make my way down the hall a bit longer before suddenly we're in Flav's dirt-floored basement and it feels like we're making a music video. Featuring zombies. Fucking zombies! That you can only see with night-vision goggles. It's exceedingly creepy. Luckily my brain does not supply any Flavor Flav musical stylings.


I'm at a guy friend's house (I'll not mention him by name in case he reads this, so I'll call him Tom). It's actually probably his parents' house. It has a parents' house feel to it, even though no parents are to be found. We're having some sort of small gathering of friends. We're lounging around, watching TV (I'm on the floor), when Tom sort of scoots over to me and says something — god, I wish I could remember what it was — and then kind of nuzzles my neck and kisses me below my right ear, in that crook where you can, if you get close enough, tell easily enough if you have chemistry with a person. You know the crook I'm talking about. I get a little short of breath and feel slightly self-conscious in case others are watching, which they don't seem to be. He puts his cheek just near enough to my face that I can flutter my eyelashes against his lips. He smiles.

It's a sweet moment. He smells good.


I'm on some kind of truckbed tour of something ... either a city or an event ... I can't quite explain, but it ends with us driving around this church where all the members are around, cloaked in red robes and holding burning crosses. There are also burning crosses used as torches on the side of the brick church. The people are singing and it's obvious that they see nothing wrong with what they're doing. I get prickly at this; why would they need to burn crosses? Don't they understand the racist implications of burning crosses, even if it's their stupid church tradition? I bitch loudly when the truck stops and I can get out and walk away. There are a lot of people in red robes (with hoods!), holding burning crosses. I can feel the heat from the group of them.


High school candle caper

I'm having a shit ton of dreams lately. This could be because I'm sleeping in shifts now that I'm going to the gym late at night. First round of sleep comes between 3 a.m. and 8. Second round comes after I've gotten up, fed my whiny-ass cats, checked my e-mail, farted around, and then gone back to sleep from 9:30 to 12:30.

Today's naptime dream featured me and everyone I ever went to high school with plus everyone I work with now (roughly), at work — only it's a hugely expanded version of work. I've got two candles lit: a little Glade Scented Oil candle that I fancy in real life, and a little cinnamon tea light. I blow them both out before realizing that doing so is going to set off the sprinklers.

So I grab just the tea light and try to cup my hand over it and rush it to the bathroom, where I figure I can extinguish some of the smoke under the tap. It works, sort of, but the damage has already been done. Plus I left that other candle smoking on my desk. D'oh.

I return to the newsroom to see that the sprinklers have, in fact, been triggered, although the alarm's not going off. People are trudging away from their desks and evacuating the room. I notice that most people are in their Sunday best. This makes me feel really bad. I'm no doubt ruining a lot of nice clothes.

I feel embarrassed that I made such an obvious blunder — the candles were contraband for this reason — and can't decide if I should just shuffle out with everyone else and pretend to not know what's going on, or if I should make sure everyone knows I did it and I'm sorry. I go with the latter, figuring it's more honest.

We evacuate to some sort of large auditorium where some kind of elaborate kindergarten pageant is going on. The kids and adults on stage are wearing ridiculously fancy sequined getups with huge headdresses. Their show fades into the background as people I went to high school with fill up the auditorium steps around me (no seats, just curved steps).

Cary Duncan (whom I've not seen or spoken to in years) comes up to me with a baseball cap turned backward on his head and a stupid nerdy fratboy swagger in his step, his posse surrounding him, chuckling. I am clearly the butt of a joke. He asks me to sign this big swatch of cardboard that says something about labor (as in work, not baby labor). I can see that others have signed this thing a la a yearbook. I circle one of the big words in the phrase and draw an arrow out to the place where I'll make my signature. I write something snarky and sign my name. Except I misspell my last name and have to scribble it out and try again. I'm slightly humiliated, and I want to kick Cary in his teeth.

(I blame Cary's appearance in this dream and, hell, the entire high school scenario on the fact that the last song I listened to before I fell asleep was a Weezer song off of Pinkerton.)

I see police officers working their way through the crowd now. I suspect they're looking for the perps of the great office sprinkler caper. I decide to 'fess up. I find an officer and see that she is confiscating everyone's candles — big, fancy expensive ones among them — and I feel horrible. Candles aren't cheap. "Are you going to give them back?" I ask. She says no. Instantly I know some people are probably very pissed at me.

I follow another officer — another girl I went to high school with, except she looks nothing like I remember, and her hair is pink and silver like Jem's, but short and in a bob — into a long, spiraling staircase that you might see in a castle ... if it had a dungeon. Luckily, the officer tells me to sit on the stairs. She's holding a baby, and tells me she's keeping it for someone, and asks if I can hang on to her for a while. I oblige, and sit there holding this big baby on these steep stairs, thinking how unsafe that is.

(I think I dreamed of a baby because just before falling back asleep, I looked at some pictures of me and LP with Luke.)

I look at the baby's face and see drool pooling on his/her chin. In it I can see the spiderweb pattern of my black Nightmare Before Christmas pillowcase. And then I'm awake.

Space cadet

Amber and I are in a space shuttle. It's weird, because it's just a giant, open, cylindrical space lined with padding and wires and other spacey things. We're not strapped in. We're just kind of hanging out. And whoever is driving the space shuttle — later I'll see that it's one of our photo editors — is having trouble getting the thing into space.

We'll feel a rumble and then see from the tiny windows that we've got liftoff, and we'll see the earth beneath us begin to rotate (I doubt this is how actual shuttles lift off) only to, a few seconds later, find ourselves on the ground, outside the shuttle, waiting on the technicians to fix whatever problem we're having.

At one point, we're sitting near train tracks and I start telling Amber all about how Regina Spektor read a short story written by one of my other friends, and how she loved it, and halfway through, I realize I'm telling Amber her own story and I feel so embarrassed and ashamed.

I look over and see the aforementioned photo editor tossing big crates around outside the cockpit in order to solve whatever takeoff problems we're having.

Then we're back on the shuttle. I have some vague memory of us storing food in a tiny fridge even though none of the other passengers thought to bring anything. I feel slightly gluttonous because of it.

We have liftoff again. It occurs to me that we are probably going to die on this shuttle, and I suddenly want very much to be off the shuttle or to wake up (I realize I'm dreaming, but it doesn't go lucid on me because I can't control anything). Once again, the ground outside starts spinning around us as we rise toward the sky. I imagine with horror of what it must be like to be in a shuttle explosion. One minute things are fine, and the next ... what? Does everything just get white hot and you stop existing? Death makes no sense to me, even in my dreams.

I wince as we meet the horizon and rise up through the atmosphere. Out the window there is blackness and stars. And then everything kind of happens in a montage — as I'm standing there, looking out the window and thinking about the relative pointlessness of space travel, I see what human space traveling has wrought on the galaxy (I see giant oil rig things on distant planets; it's unclear if it's Earthlings who struck out to look for oil, or if it's just the technology we shared with other cultures in the galaxy). And while it's really freaking cool seeing all that crap, I feel that at any minute the whole thing's going to explode and I'm going to die.


I said no, no, no

I'm in what looks and feels like prison, but I'm surrounded by young people. I quickly realize that I've been sent to rehab. I have no idea why, as I'm not going through any type of withdrawal. All I know is that the place is dingy and muddy and disgusting, and I'm standing in line to have the contents of my bag rifled through by a very cross black lady with short hair, glasses, and big teeth. She pulls out two pairs of underwear — both of them, I understand, are brand new, and one of them seems to be a custom job and is, if I may say, really adorable: It's chocolate brown with light blue and pink and yellow stitching curving around the hip — and tells me that I can't take them inside. I'm incredulous; I can't have underwear in rehab? No, she tells me, it's not like that. It's just that I can't have that particular pair. (Perhaps it was so cute that it would have caused a disturbance among the menfolk? I don't know.)

No suddenly I'm in a train car, and not one meant necessarily for human passengers. It's dark and the walls are made of rickety wood, with a generous amount of space between each plank so that I can see the world whizzing by outside. There are other people in the car with me. Everyone seems just as downtrodden and miserable. A fellow passenger gets up and walks to the far end of the car, where there seems to be some sort of makeshift kitchen set up. He crosses a particular spot and I see what must have been an invisible barrier light up red and set off an alarm. The guy doesn't seem to care that he's about to get in trouble. Trouble never comes for him.

It occurs to me that I need to wash my hands. Badly. But the only way to do so is to cross that alarm-rigged invisible barrier. I decide I've got to do it. And when I do, sure enough, the alarm screeches but I wash my hands as planned. Although I can't quite remember the details, I'm pretty sure that I get in trouble even though the other guy did not. I've lost a lot of details here.

The last thing I really remember is being issued a car (they give us cars, but my underwear was unacceptable?). I get in mine, and drive myself and several passengers up an incline and around a curve to a grimy parking lot sitting atop a concrete hill that overlooks the dirt-packed courtyard of the rehab facility. I notice that the lot is, with the exception of my car and a Saturn, full of brand-new Fits. I point out how odd this is, but no one seems to care.


I need to cut back on the voodoo.

I'm attempting to go back to Voodoo Village in Memphis, by myself this time. I have no idea why. It's dark and misty, and I'm really scared. I seem to be coming in from behind or something, because I'm not on the road. There are banging noises coming from the houses, and it looks like flames behind the windows, but no one is coming outside. I get too scared and decide to run away. I turn around and start running, and trip over a tombstone. Looking up, I realize I'm in Lafayette cemetary, the one in New Orleans. Somehow this is still part of Voodoo Village. I don't know how I know that it's specifically Lafayette and not some other random cemetary with above-ground graves, but I do. I'm suddenly thinking , "Shit, shit!" and other gotta-get-out-of-here thoughts concerning witchcraft and crime rates, when I'm approached by a mean-looking yellow lab. He stands in front of me and growls at me, and I start cying and explain that I'm lost and I just want to go home. He stops growling and says (yes, he talks) that it's ok, that it's just his job and he's not going to hurt me. He suggests that I sit down for a minute and collect myself, and he'll give me directions. This seems reasonable to me, so I sit and we begin talking. He tells me that he's not really a dog but that he has been in this dog's body for a long time, so he's just gottten comfortable now. We have a long talk and does give me what seem to be good directions. I stand up to leave and he nuzzles my leg. I look down at him and he has a pen and paper in his mouth. He drops them and asks me for my phone number. I figure it's the least I can do, and give him the number. He says he'll look me up on Myspace. I say that's fine and I start walking away. I can hear him crying behind me, but I don't want to turn around. I mean, he IS a dog and I honestly feel that he's trying to force a connection. I keep walking and end up in a baseball field, where Tamara is sitting on the pitcher's mound and trying to build one of those ship-in-a-glass-bottle things. I ask her how it's going, and she looks up and tearfully thanks me for coming and tells me that she has to get this done before her wedding.

*I blame most of this dream on a combination of actually going to VV and having been reading The Witching Hour right before going to sleep.

Rob Lowe makes a charming dream guest

It always cracks me up when celebrities cameo in my dreams. Usually they're doing insane things related to the characters they play. But last night Rob Lowe stopped by for a bit to talk about acting and show biz. He was an all-around nice guy.

I don't remember much of what he said, except, "I've been in this business for fifty years." (!!!) Which was interesting, because I just stood there mesmerized by how handsome he was, trying but failing to do the math in my head.


My mother and I are in my old Alero, driving along the back roads of Lexington, Tenn., which is not terribly far from my family's house in Saltillo (think somewhere between a dozen and twenty miles). She's at the wheel, and we're chatting it up, when she gives the car a bit of gas to go over a hill, and we go flying, Dukes of Hazzard-style, through the air over a rain-filled gully at the foot of the hill, and crunch down on the asphalt several feet later. We're kinda laughing about my mom being a speed demon (in real life, she's anything but), and she continues to push the pedal as we vroom over still more Lexington hills. Except this time, something's off and we slide off the road and into the woods and the car loses its balance and we begin flipping, side over side, end over end, flip after flip after flip, our faces coming within inches of the damp forest floor, our car crunching on top of rotting logs and musty piles of leaves. The roof of the car has either been obliterated or my Alero acquired a sunroof (or would it be moonroof? and wtf is the difference?) in the dream, because I can look up and see the earth as our heads go rushing toward it on each flip.

I look over at my mother to make sure she's okay — she seems to be — and wince upon each new impact because at any minute a rogue branch or something could come crashing through the windshield or roof and plunge right into our faces.

We finally, after what seems like dozens of harrowing flips — land bottom-side-up and somehow we're both able to climb out the side — either through the window, which has been busted out, or through where a door was ripped off. How we're both able to walk, I'll never know. "I'm never riding in a car again," I wearily tell my mother, with thoughts of my real-life previous wreck in my head.

Apparently in order to get to safety and to get to where we can call 911, we have to swim through this murky black lake. We're already wet, I imagine from sweat and the dampness of the forest, so we just wade in and head for the far shore, which, I notice, is my great-grandmother's yard and house (which means we flipped in that damn car for at least 13 miles). My mother swims ahead of me. It's almost like in the dream my mother is me, or a different version of me, because every time I look at her, I see her, but it feels like I'm looking at me. She certainly acts more like me than she does my actual mother.

Anyway, we're swimming through this gross stagnant lake in the middle of the night (what's more terrifying than swimming through some random lake? Doing it at night) and I start thinking about all the gross things that could be in this lake, and my pace slows as I get bogged down with the psychological weight of everything that has just happened. Plus my foot has gotten tangled in some branches from a tree under the water, and I can't get the cluster of branches to fall away so I can swim freely. My mother yells back some encouraging words (like "Hurry up" or "You're gonna make it! Just keep swimming!") and sure enough, we finally make it to shore and I pull the slimy cluster of branches off my foot just in time to hear mom say something about leeches.

Which, I think I should point out, may just be the first time I've ever dreamed about leeches, but I'm fairly sure that it won't be the last.

I'm like, "Um, did you just say you saw leeches on you?" And before I could hear her reply of, "No, I had thought so but I don't see anything," I had already pulled up my shirt and unbuttoned my jeans to have a good look to make sure none had shimmied their way into areas that would have been most painful and embarrassing to address later.

All clear.

We're at my great-grandmother's house (which is not fronted by a lake in real life), soaking wet and exhausted. My mother takes out her phone but I fear that she won't get any reception or that her phone will be waterlogged, so I go inside Granny's house — with the full knowledge that she's dead and no one lives there anymore, or maybe someone lives there but that it's someone I don't know — and am pleasantly surprised to see a portable telephone sitting on the coffee table. I take it outside and realize I don't remember the address of my grandmother's house. Actually, I do remember it — the real-life address — but when I run down to peek at her mailbox, I realize the address is different now.

I dial 911. The operator is a mild-mannered woman who doesn't answer like any 911 operator I have ever heard before. There's some noise in the background — something about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his church — but I tune it out and tell the woman that we need to report a wreck. I give her the address I saw on the mailbox.

She is quiet for a bit and then begins treating me as if I am a senile old lady. "Ms. [I can't remember what she called me, but it felt like she was referring to Granny], have you had anything to drink tonight?"

"No, my grandmother has been dead for a year (not true; it's been three years); this is her granddaughter! My mother and I have just been in a bad wreck!" I say emphatically, not believing the 911 woman can't wrap her mind around what's going on.

"This is her granddaughter? Ma'am, has Ms. [Granny] had anything to drink tonight?"

I become delirious with frustration that she is deliberately misunderstanding me.

I'm sobbing, even though we don't seem to have been hurt in the wreck (aside from a gnarly cut on the palm of my hand that seems to be packed with grime and dirt) and don't really need medical attention, but I still feel like we're supposed to get some rescue people there immediately.

"We have been in a really bad wreck and we need some people to come help us," I weep at the stupid 911 lady. "Why won't you send anyone?" I look at my mother, who seems to have gotten through to someone on her phone. Which is a Razr (Motorola best be cuttin' me a check for product placement in my dreams). "They don't believe me!" I wail. My mother looks annoyed yet nonplussed.

The lady offers platitudes and words of false comfort, but ultimately, she's not sending anyone because she doesn't believe me.

Then I get fucking angry, even though I'm still shaking and sobbing.

"Ma'am, what is your name?" I bark at the 911 lady. I can feel her getting nervous. She mumbles something that I have trouble hearing. "WHAT?! Say that again, please." She says it again but I can't for the life of me make it out. It sounds like a jumble of syllables not meant for English-trained ears. I ask her to spell it, but I can't hear what she says in reply. It's like my ears have stopped working. I can hear, but I can't understand.

I've almost reached the end of my rope with this woman, and I yell at her that I can't wait until someone important hears about what a bitch she's being. And then I wake up.


Design tyrant

I woke up earlier to posted about the dream I had last night (well, the one I could remember most clearly), piddled around, and then, in a monumental display of delicious laziness, crawled back into bed and went back to sleep for an hour, during which time I dreamt that I cracked open a paper and began to notice tons of horrible, awful design infractions perpetrated by a particular designer at work. My mother looked on as I scanned the page in disgust, noting incorrect subhead styles, missing column sigs, horrible photo placement, jacked-up head hierarchy, tacky colored type, etc. I grabbed a pen and began angrily circling the things that were wrong with the page, all the while grumbling about the designer's complete cluelessness and dreading bringing up the issues to him because he'd never take me seriously as some sort of authority.

Back to basics

I'm in a location that feels familiar yet seems completely unknown to me. It's expansive, like there are no ceilings are walls and it's dark outside. I'm trying to gather my things for school, and I get the feeling that I'm late.

I'm rifling through a bag of makeup, trying to get ready. I get the acute sensation that I'm unhappy with what I'm wearing but that there's no time for me to change. I realize that I have mere minutes to make it to school, and that my ride — my sister, maybe? — is dragging her feet and I'm going to be late.

That's not the worst of my problems, though. Apparently, all the books and notepads I'm supposed to take with me have been scattered and I can't seem to find them. I'm looking in particular for an abnormal psychology book whose cover I can clearly picture but that isn't turning up anywhere. Someone hands me a yellow legal pad, as if to say, Here, use this, but my anxiety is swelling and the clock is ticking so finally and I erupt and tell the people around me (who and how many, I'm not sure) that I'm just going to take my own car and get going.

My car turns out to be my mother's white Explorer, and as soon as I turn the key and it starts, the sun gets ridiculously bright and I feel like I've accidentally caused a supernova that's going to swallow the earth. Damn Fords. But the sun settles back down and dims to its normal light level, and I realize I'd rather not drive after all. Besides, I don't have all my shit together and I don't like what I'm wearing.

Why does it never occur to me in these stupid anxiety/school dreams to pretend to be sick?


Is that you, Optimus Prime?

I'm sitting in my brother's new-ish, white Ford F-150 with a giant topper thing on the back. I turn and look back over the seat, out of the rear window, and into the bed of the truck. The top is open and the gate is down and I see my brother walking towards me...only it's my brother from the early 90's instead of my current and more up-to-date actual brother. We converse for a moment about his truck, but I can't recall any of it.
The next thing I know I'm pulling my red mustang through the service gate of Country Ford and into an endless field. Country Ford is real. It's where my mustang actually came from many many moons ago. The field behind it, however, is some made up field compiled of different parts of different fields I've been in at...different times. It feels like fall or winter. They sky is gray and the grass, apart from being cut very short...so short you can see the mud beneath it, is also that dead yellow color it becomes in winter. It's also thick...like hay. I can feel it's resistance against my shoes as I shuffle and crunch through it. A large service truck pulls up behind a clone of my brother's truck. I was looking at this truck because I simply liked looking at it. Something about it's lines appealed to me, but only aesthetically. I'm not a truck guy. The service guy, though, starts walking towards me and I realize I have to act interested so he doesn't make me leave or yell at me for being back there or something. He begins to talk about the truck...like he's going to talk it up so I'll buy it when I realize he's a service guy and not a salesman...so I can relax. Still, he starts to comment on how great it looks without the topper. I start to tell him my brother has one with the topper and he changes his story to what he thinks I want to hear and now he thinks they look better with the topper on. I tell him that I actually think my brother's looks better without it and he responds with a blank expression.
Now, we're joined by several other guys...all with late 70's era clothing on...and matching haircuts. One is in a brown, plaid, button-up shirt...only they're those metal snaps with the fake pearl insets. Another guy is in a tight yellow t-shirt with some kind of writing on it which I can't quite make out. We're chatting when out of nowhere I look up and see a tractor-trailer flying through the air. You can hear the wind blowing past it. The thing has to be 100 or more feet in the air. The cab is navy blue and the trailer is the standard aluminum color. It moves almost like a fish through the water...the trailer moving side to side like a tail. It passes us moving towards our right, continues to air-swim, tilts over to the right, then flops over on it's left side, turns, and then plummets straight down towards the ground. There is thick brush that prevents us from seeing the actual impact and there seem to be hills as well. It has to be really far away. I think we should go check on the driver even though I realize he has to be dead. I look to my left and see the dirt ramp he must have jumped. A guy on a dirtbike is jumping, but he just sort of lands in front of us and goes away. The guys I'm with comment on how stupid they are for jumping the dirt ramp.
We go into a single-wide trailer that has now appeared to our left. I don't know what we talk about, but I realize it's 4 p.m. and not only will it be dark at 5...it seems like a storm is coming and I should get home. I notice the serviceman in his blue jumpsuit sitting on a couch and drinking beer from a can. He tells me to have a good day and I ask him his name again. He says it's Mark. He is the young version of my girlfriend's dad...who I've met only once, but have seen pictures of. I tell him I'm going to look at some other trucks, talk to the sales manager, and come back next Saturday. I ask if he'll be back next Saturday and he says yes. I catch a glimpse of his expression as I leave and realize he knows I'm lying...or at least thinks something slightly negative about me.
Walking down the rickety wooden steps of the trailer I notice tractor-trailer parts stacked against it. I realize the driver must have lived and I begin to inspect the parts. There's a running board, part of the side exhaust pipe...which starts to look like a blue robot arm the longer I stare at it, a bathroom medicine cabinet that I discern came from the back living quarters of the cab, and two candelabras. I may or may not have misspelled candelabra. I'm not going to check. As I leave one of the skinny 70's hippy guys walks past me and up the stairs to the trailer. Before he dissapears into the dark doorway I realize it's Robert Plant. He's shirtless, drinking, and we have a conversation I don't understand because he's talking in rock song howls and zeeba zabba sounds.
Walking back to my car I notice a weird rubber shape on the ground. I realize it's a flattened, child's, Halloween pirate costume hat. I notice a large metal building and then I'm awakened by my alarm clock.


Time Travel

I am at a big convention with lots of people around. I am struggling to get to where I'm supposed to be. I know I have a room somewhere, but I don't know where, and all the room doors are outside the building, like a motel. It's dark, it's pouring down rain, and I am carrying a large load that is very heavy. I walk to the end of the block and don't see my door, so I shout at the top of my lungs. I turn back and realize that I have a bari sax in its case, and a tenor out of it's case about to have its pads ruined because it's unprotected in the rain. As I approach the brick stairs to the promenade my sister Brooke stands up from above me, and I realize that she has been the one yelling, not me. I find her and set the saxes down. We head up the stairs together, and that's when I run into Megan B. (now W) from high school. She looks exactly like she did back then, with braces and blondish hair. I look over at Brooke, anxious to see how the former friends would get along since Megan hadn't seen Brooke since she was as meek as a farm mouse and mentally checked out to God Camp 24/7. They both say, "Hey!" and hug and air kiss, but that's all. The reunion just peters out because Megan cups her little hands around a little bump on her belly and says, in vintage Megan style, "I made somethin', y'all!!!" I realize that she's been pregnant before, and now that she's outside in the downpour, pregnant, that something might be amiss, and I need to take care of her. I look down and all the people who had been milling around have disappeared, and the downpour has become a torrent. I notice a big, brown, expensive-looking bari case on the sidewalk with a brushed-brass tenor sax propped against it. The color of the tenor is darker than usual, and I long to play it, and feel the craving for it physically. I think that because of the color it will have a darker, warmer, plumper sound. Then I realize it's my tenor and I'm the jackass that left it sitting in the pouring rain. Then I hurry Megan away with me. Brooke has gone.

There is a scene in a rainy parking lot at night that is chaotic. It's as if a concert at an arena has just let out, and we're ass-deep in a sea of humans. There is much fumbling with keys, and slickers, and people all around me are trying not to step in puddles - but the whole ground is a puddle. Yet, when they do step in it, they stomp their feet against the pavement, and water jets up and makes big wet splotches on their chinos and dress shirts, and I wonder why they're pissed because they did it intentionally. I understand that there is a group of us together, and we're trying to divide people between cars to get somewhere important. I try to get in the car with Brooke, but she leaves without even looking at me, lost in a conversation with other people. I get in a car with Megan and her husband, and they make me drive. I'm pulling around in circular parking lots looking for her room. She's talking about something very positive in her life, and about how things just keep working out for her. I finally find it, and some person escorts us to the door and gives us a key. "Now, since you're pregnant," the doorperson says, "you get a whole apartment, instead of a room, that is guarded by wolves." Megans mouth opens and she turns to look at me excitedly, as if to confirm her theory that good things keep happening. But I look down and there is a rabid-looking wolf at my feet, who seems to think I'm the only person around. He is jumping and snipping and a couple of times he locks down on my thigh, but it feels like he has no teeth. I see that his "yard" is a little wooden fence built in the foyer to the apartment that is no more than three feet high. The gate pushes open and has no latch. I wonder how the hell that's supposed to work. Then we're in the apartment and Megan's on the couch, squirming in excitement and looking back and forth. "Do you see what I mean? Getting an apartment like this when everybody else just gets a room?" I start looking around like her husband is doing. "Oh, this place has everything," she says, as I open a tall armoire. It is lined with shelves, and those shelves are lined with samples of sex lotions and oils. There are trinkets and outfits hanging all around like a store. I start fiddling through the sex lotions and realize most of them have been used. "I put on these outfits before I go to the clubs," she informs me, pointing to the designer underwear and accessories. I am trying to look more closely at a bottle with a purple, glittery gel inside when I realize that the armoire is rocking forward and back and is about to fall on me. I try to hold it steady, but also to keep browsing the lotions. But it's impossible, and the tiny bottles keep falling over. I begin to get irritated because it's very important that I keep them all lined up in a straight line with their labels facing out, but the armoire rocking around on its legs is not making it easy.

Then Megan is standing and the walls have disappeared and it's daylight. "We're gonna miss it!" she screams, and I turn to see what she's pointing at. It appears that I was supposed to have acquired a monster truck with bales of hay in the back so that I could drive through a sphere of light, inside which a laser beam would strike my truck and transport us back in time. Other monster trucks with bales of hay in the back are doing so, and Megan is looking at me like, "And just why the hell aren't we?" I realize, with a crashing sense of horror, that I was supposed to be taking care of her and ushering her back in time, but I'd become enamored by sex lotions and buggered the whole thing up. I am running in the general direction of the laser, and I hear a committee that has been appointed to observe the time-traveling. One person says, "I'm here adjudicating every year." Another says, "That one had nice form." Then, I realize, our window of time has almost elapsed. "Come on!" I yell to Megan, and jump in a monster truck that I must've had all along. I careen down the hillside, bouncing and bumping, toward the dirt road between the two trees where the laser will send us back in time.

And then Jeff kisses me goodbye and I'm awake.


Ghost House

I am in an old house with three floors and lots of rooms. The stairway railings are all wearing tee shirts and other bits of laundry, as if someone painstakingly dressed each pole and rail before assembling them so the tee shirts and boxers and socks held their shape once the rails were in place. There are lots of people around that I feel like I know, but I'm not sure if I know them outside of my dream. There is a ghost cat with a white face that keeps appearing and disappearing as I hurry through the house trying to avoid whatever malevolent presence seems to be after me. He is always crouched and hidden and peering at me from almost-total obscurity; from between the spokes of a bicycle, from atop a cabinet, from under a chair. I am walking fast and powerfully, and I can tell I'm tired from the physical exertion. There is an evil housekeeper who keeps finding things that belong to me and shouldn't be there and then looking at me strangely, as if she's building a case against me and each thing that I've accidentally left out of place is fueling my impending inquest. She reminds me of Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca, but also of a wicked head maid from the soap my mother watched when we were kids (her name was Helga and she was always up to fuckery). I keep trying not to meet her gaze and to appear innocent of whatever infraction she has in mind. Then I'm trying to herd people out of the house, because it becomes apparent that whatever paranormal entity I've been fearing is done cooling its heels, and the preternatural shit is about to hit the fan. No one is listening. I open a side door to look off the back porch, and notice that my housemates are dangerously close to sinking in the muck at the bottom of the flood water that has surrounded the house. I caution them to keep out of it, but they laugh at me like I'm uncool and continue to sink. I glance over the porch rail and notice that the sky is dark, but I can still see clearly. There is a flooded ditch out by the road, and I decide that it looks like the perfect place to park my car. I turn back inside and go back up to the attic. Jeff and John are putting up wallpaper. I tell them that they should watch their shit because this is the most haunted room, and if I can't satisfy the spirit causing the ruckus there will be bloody hell to pay. Jeff looks at John and appears to be considering it. "I like bloody hell," he concludes, and takes a drag off his cigarette. I turn to go back downstairs, noticing the ghost cat on the ceiling beam (his tail is hanging off, but his face is hidden). I am halfway down the stairs when I realize that the ghost will wallpaper Jeff and John to the walls if I don't get them out of there. But then I look down and see a young blonde's torso lying across a stair. She has perfect teeth and looks up at me blankly. Her lips are deep purple and drawn way up away from her face, as if she died with a torture device that held her mouth open far wider than it is meant to open. Then I realize that she is the one I've been looking for to save the day. "Jessica?!" I ask, and her eyes brighten and she lifts her ghost arms to me, looking utterly relieved. I reach down to touch her, but can't. "I'm going to save you," I tell her, and step down toward the floor. The evil housekeeper turns to give me a scathing glare, as if to say, "The hell you will!" Then I'm back with Jeff and John, and they have made gigantic Japanese lanterns out of newspapers that are bobbing and rolling on the floor, and I suddenly feel like I've royally fucked up somehow. I never know why, however, because then I wake up and have slept for an hour longer than I wanted to.


The antiques store

I'm in an antiques store of sort — there's stuff everywhere, but it's not clutter; it actually has some kind of organization to it. My companion, a woman I don't think I know in real life, is telling me that I am to move a video camera over all the goods in one take, almost like it's a tracking shot (but I don't remember seeing any of the equipment required for a tracking shot). The camera I'm using is some wacky combination of a mounted stop-motion camera and an old-timey folding camera, but it moves smoothly and takes video, not still photos. I focus the viewfinder on one item, then another, the another, taking care to transition between the items with ease in one take. I nudge the camera a little hard and the picture goes shaky. We have to cut. But the woman with me isn't mad. In fact, she seems surprised I managed to get as long a take as I did.

We move on to our next task, which is finding the items in the store that have big tags on them. She tells me that these items need their Christmas cards signed. There's a clustered of tagged items hanging near the ceiling. Somehow we get one down, and she shows me what to write in the cards.

[line I can't remember]

The Citizens

I get my own tagged item and begin to write in the card, and am taken aback when my handwriting looks nothing like what I know it should. It's sloppy and childish. I'm embarrassed. I finish one card and then notice a little wrapped gift sitting on the counter next to me. It has my name on it. I realize that it's from my sister and I'm probably not supposed to see it.

[I think I lost some stuff here. Feels like I did, but I don't know what.]

I hear a baby crying, and turn to see where it's coming from. My eyes snap open and I realize the crying is coming from downstairs. The neighbors' new baby says hello.


You say potato

I'm inside some kind of a convenience store in a line-up with several other teenagers. I guess that means I'm a teenager. Something moves from out of the corner of my right eye and I turn to see the store owner stepping from the line. He's a large, burly man and he reminds me of beef. He has thick, curly black arm hair and a tangle of the same kind...only thicker...on the top of his head, but towards the back. Light streams in from dingy, yellow, horizontal windows that sit just above the shelving and extend about 1 foot upward towards the ceiling. The light frames his head. It's an odd shape and I see that the hair I previously noticed is receding. It's long and greasy. His face is clown-like, but the parts seem as if they're just sitting on his face and not actually connected. His nose is huge, red, and very porus. I can't tell what his clothes are like, but from the neck down he is striped with red and white. It seems like an apron, but I can't tell where it ends and shirt begins. He's holding a mop and he moves around to study us. I feel like we're being accused of stealing something. One of us is guilty, but I can't figure out which one. There's a red-haired boy with freckles to my right now.
I'm not sure if I can leave, but I step towards the door and then I'm outside in a tiny courtyard. Within the tiny courtyard there rests an upturned tree. It's an old tree, but it isn't all there. I'm studying the roots. The ground is damp from a previous rain, but not muddy. An earthy smell wafts up from the wet leaves on the ground. I'm looking for something. There's a clear, plastic bag in the hole where the roots of the tree once occupied. It seems like food, but my mind isn't sure if it should be drugs or not. There's peanut butter and there is a banana peel and a damp wad of white paper towels. I discern that it belongs to the shopkeeper's son, but my mind tells me it belongs to me and that I've used it for something sexual. I'm only momentarily embarrassed. The red-haired boy is standing with me and now we're on top of an old, dry-rotten picnic table. We walk towards the edge, but it seems to continuously extend as we move around the tree inspecting it.
We're out of the courtyard and on top of a hill. I look down and realize it's my parents' house from about 15 years ago. I can't tell if we still live there, but my Herbie VW is still in the garage. Something has scraped the ground down the hillside and turned into muddy tracks leading into the garage. I decide that the tree has been drug out of the garage, up the driveway, and up onto the hill...and that it most definitely should be put back in the garage before my dad gets home. It's suddenly sunny and the red-haired boy (who I must admit has more orange-ish hair. I don't know why people call it red when it's orange...but that's another story) anyway, he says something and I respond with some comment about my girlfriend Angela. He makes fun of me and says that I'm saying her name wrong.
"It's Angela like Ongella."
"No, it's not."
"Yes, it is"
"She's been my girlfriend for two weeks. I think I know."
"You're wrong"
"I think if I were saying her name wrong she would have told me"
Red starts doing some kind of weird, pelvic thrusting dance. He pulls his unbuttoned, plaid, short-sleeved shirt back with his hands as if they were some kind of wings and I can see that despite being pale, he's got abs. He's also the older brother from Pete and Pete now. He says something in another language and I turn from him to see where it is that the kitten meow is coming from.

Then my kitten's meow wakes me up.

Nerd alert!

Last night I dreamed about typography.



So frustrating

Know what I hate (besides dreaming about being pregnant, yeeeesh)? Lying in bed, kind of half-asleep, holding on to a dream you just had — not necessarily a good one or a bad one, just an average dream — and mulling it over, thinking about the details, pushing them around in your mind like they're Skittles in your mouth or something, when something happens — a bird chirps a little too close to your window, for instance — and you can feel your brain switch on from dream mode to reality mode, and in the split-second transition, it's as if someone pushes an "erase" button and that dream just evaporates. And no amount of sitting there thinking about it will bring it back.


I'm pregnant again. I've got a bump, sure enough, but it's a small one. I figure I'm four months along. I keep reaching down to hold my belly because it feels fragile. I'm afraid that every movement and every surge of emotion is going to hurt what's in there.

My middle-school best friend Wendy S. and I are making our way through a run-down Goodwill, looking at the wares and talking about the baby. I get the sense that Wendy is wise when it comes to the ways of childbearing (this is probably true, since she has at least one kid in real life), even though she is the spitting image of how she looked in middle school — buoyant dirty blonde hair, flirty blue eyes, cushy lips and big teeth.

Suddenly there is a tumbly fluttery feeling in my gut, over to the right side, down low. I realize the baby has kicked (can babies kick at four months?), and I have a moment where I'm awestruck (it's alive!) and then worried (is everything OK in there?) and then freaked out (something inside me just moved without my permission). It slowly dawns on me that I don't want to have a baby. I'm not ready for the constant round-the-clock mommying or the enormous responsibility. I'm not ready to give birth, period. It's all moving too fast, and I don't remember making the decision to get pregnant anyway.

I'm back in a bedroom — it feels like my childhood bedroom remodeled, with a huge and impractically tall bed — and I get a phone call. It's Tamara. She asks what I'm doing this weekend.

"I'm going home, actually," I tell her with a tinge of remorse, eyeing my belly in the mirror. "I'm expecting again." (And then I realize that I've either had a baby or been pregnant before, or maybe my brain was referring to my last pregnancy dream.)

She's a bit incredulous, and asks me how that happened.

I start to think about it, and realize that I have no idea. Not only do I not know who the father is, but, once again (just like the last dream), I can't even remember the last time I had sex. "I just got off my period, too," I tell her in a final flourish of TMI. It occurs to me that I'm either psychosomatically pregnant or I'm carrying the lord's child. Which is worse, I don't know.

But I felt it kick.


A neighborly encounter

In real life, my downstairs neighbors recently had a baby, whom I have not yet met (they came home from the hospital a few days ago), but since they've arrived home I've wondered if my every movement was annoying them and/or waking the baby.

Enter dreamland.

I'm on the sidewalk out in front of the apartment when I see S, the mom, walking past. I catch up with her and ask her how she's doing and how the baby is. She tells me they're just fine, and walks me around back to the back yard (yeah, our apartment building does not have a back yard, but a back slab of deeply pitted asphalt called a parking lot) where she opens a set of French doors (from this point on, none of the details of how the place looks are true to life) to reveal the baby lying in a little bassinet. I coo over him politely, and M, the dad, comes over and picks the baby up and hands him to me, then goes over and strips down to a hot-pink Speedo and hops into the shower.

I'm confused.

A) I don't know him or his wife well enough for either of them to be wearing Speedos around me.

B) Who the fuck actually wears Speedos, anyway, and in hot pink?

Then I realize he's rinsing off because he's planning on going swimming. And sure enough, when I turn around, there are two, count 'em!, two pools in the back yard. Both above-ground and fairly small, but big enough for lounging. M makes his way toward the pools and I ask S which one they normally use. She tells me the far one. For some reason it seems weird because that pool seems to belong to people who live in one of the other duplexes (suddenly my apartment building is a standalone set of duplexes next to others just like it).

Out of nowhere, a crowd of people begins streaming into the backyard, serenading S and M (ha) and their new baby (who has kind of disappeared from the dream at this point). I come to realize that it's the rest of my neighbors whom I've never met. They're all old and the men have beards.

I get out a camera — my mother's five-year-old Canon PowerShot — and begin to take pictures. S scolds me. "You're still taking pictures with that old camera?!" she says incredulously. "You need a better camera than that!"

"I've got this too!" I say, pointing to my camera THAT IS GOING UNUSED AROUND MY NECK. I don't know why I'm not using it.