Thursday, July 27, 2006

My mind and other places not on the map

Miz T writes, “This letter is coming from some part of me I’m not close to right now – I feel as though I’m yelling to myself down an airshaft and my body is taking notes.

“I wish I could say I don’t know how that feels,” I reply.

Not pleasantly or unpleasantly lethargic the last couple of days, I have the sensation of drifting slightly outside myself. It began yesterday morning when I’d risen at some ungodly hour and then sent myself back to bed for an extra hour. I dreamed this private episode of the X Files:

It starts with leaving several bags of groceries on the number twenty bus. I am in a small coffee shop/corner store on the Herring Cove Road, where I’m waiting for the bus to loop and return so I can retrieve my forgotten groceries. In front of me is a huge black payphone, old-fashioned, with a rotary dial. There is nothing on it, no phone company stickers, no brand name, no instructions. I am annoyed with myself for being forgetful and I’m anxiously trying to find the number of the transit company so that I can ask them to radio the driver and tell him I’m picking up my lost shopping, but the phone book pages are printed on blue from beginning to end – no yellow pages, and I can’t seem to read the alphabetical listing.

Suddenly I am home. But it’s a mistake. It’s not my home. The place is old and dimly lit, musty and empty - everything in it is made from wood so old that even the paint has worn away. I seem to be standing in a kitchen. The only colors are brown and grey – and the counters and cupboards, even the floors and ceilings meet at crazy angles. Another of those featureless pay phones hangs on the wall. I’m desperately repeating Weedy’s phone number to myself but realize my purse is missing. Somehow, I manage to find several coins and drop them in the phone. As the last one registers, a recorded voice cuts in, “Citizens do not need to place outside calls.”

This blood-chilling assurance sends me running to find an exit. Coming out the front door, I stop long enough to get my bearings. The surrounding houses and streets are as colorless as the house I’m in…leaning, toppling, sinking into the ground. There isn’t a blade of grass, a leaf, a weed. The landscape is tumble-down brown, mud and rock and it’s completely abandoned. The air is stagnant. A street sign lolls at a 30 degree angle near me. It reads, “Cavendish Road” – my old address.

Frantic, employing the logic of the deeply terrified, I think, Of course, this must be the other Cavendish Road, the one in Dartmouth. Whether it is or isn’t is a moot point, however, because I have to get out of there. There’s a rickety board sidewalk leading away and I follow it, stopping abruptly as it ends at the top of a cliff-steep hill. No stairway. To my left, the ground slopes steeply down…mud, imbedded with rocks. There’s nothing to do but slide down.

The dream shifts. I’m with another woman and we’re in the food court of “the mall.” The mall is a large institutional room, with cheap tables and chairs. A few people sit talking at the tables. There are no windows, no colors – and as I look around, I realize there are no food stalls. All that relieves the tedium of the walls are sloppy, hand-lettered signs, carelessly taped up. “This isn’t a mall,” I tell my companion. “Look. Look around you. Look those signs.” But she doesn’t believe me. The people at the tables, I know, don’t know this isn’t real either.

And there, on one of the walls is another hideous black pay phone. I start to chant Weedy’s phone number in my head. I can’t make a mistake, can't forget or misdial. I fumble through the coin section of my purse and pull out pieces of metal - misshapen and melted, coins fused together. Finally I find a surviving quarter and drop it in the pay slot. This time I'm making the call. I'm getting out of here.

“Citizens do not need to make outside calls,” the voice in the phone says.

And I wake up.

Saturn transits to hit Pluto. The heavyweights are playing in my ballpark and, it would seem, I may be the ball.

If anyone has a recipe for dreaming sugarplum fairies dancing in your head, now is the time to send it.