Monthly Archives: December 2018

Express Purpose

I dreamed a family reunion which took place on a magnificent train from a bygone era. All my relatives were there – dead, alive, some I recognized and some who recognized me. Didn’t seem to matter.

The train was a model built to human scale; its dimensions (if not proportions) toy-like but functional, made to serve. No other way to explain it.

It was night. There were orbs of light inside and out and the terrain was a rolling countryside as seen from the track, set firmly on the rim of a long dormant volcano.

Round and round and round we went, making excellent time getting absolutely nowhere.

I noticed. Everyone on the train looked like me, related to me or no.

“What train is this? What train is this?” I asked.

The conductor approached slowly from askance to finally stand before me in all his accustomed glory. A white man with a mustache, impeccable. Red suit, gold buttons that glimmered and shone.

“This is the Oriental Express,” he said, which enraged me.

“Then I want off this train!” Family be damned.

“The only way off this train,” he replied dryly, “is to jump.”

The only way off the racist train was to jump – to throw yourself off – its interminable tracks.

Dreams may be symbolic, but there’s nothing that says they need be subtle.

I woke up angry, somewhat relieved.

But only somewhat.

 

 

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Filed under Dreams, Family, Race, Travel

Idiot. Dog.

I warned him, but he didn’t listen.

“Don’t touch the dog. He doesn’t like it.”

“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll make him like me!” He smiled, his mouth an exhausted rubber band pulled listlessly to both sides of a disingenuous and frankly uninspiring face.

Not exactly a “no means no” kind of guy.

Lou snapped at him twice before he gave up, retreating with a look of pure resentment shot toward me like I hadn’t just warned him, hadn’t told him so. Exactly so.

Of course, it was the dog’s fault, wasn’t it? And because I am responsible for the dog, Lou’s not liking this particular man was also my fault; the dog is still my dog, after all, and it shouldn’t snap at anyone, least of all someone determined to make him like him.

Imagine making something, someone, anyone like you. Being blameless to such fault. Imagine believing in that, as a person.

Honestly…

According to a book I read about filmmaking, an easy way to signal to the audience that a character is a good person is to have them pet a dog.

The dog, of course, has to let them. Has to want to be approached in the first place, to say nothing of the person approaching it.

Now. Imagine that.

 

 

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Filed under Dogs, People, Politics, Relationships

The Dance

We bought a new (used) car over the weekend after weeks of searching. It’s a nice car, reliable, in nice condition. Boring. Perfect.

This is our first time buying from a dealership with actual haggling involved (our last car, a 1998 Jeep Cherokee, was purchased from a friend).

It is a delicate dance. A lot of back and forth, more than enough room for missteps.

A lot of: “You’re getting the very best price, believe me.”

A lot of: “But think about it this way.”

A lot of: “OK. OK. Let me go talk to my manager.”

Let me go talk to my manager.

Deflection is key. Both sides must try to get what they want without showing how badly they want it. No one can lose their cool. Smiles all around, but also a few carefully thrown in frowns and just the right, exactly right, amount of doubt, hesitation ought to manifest.

Some: “Hmmmm…”

Some: “Good point, although…”

Some: “Well, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Hmmmm.

By the end, ideally, everybody should get a little of what they want. But not everything.

For our first time, we made it through relatively unscathed. And our leasing manager seemed more than fine.

It’s about what we wanted, however badly or not.

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Plans, Relationships, Ritual