Monday, December 07, 2009

Coming to Ypsi in 2010: Mr. Chicken

I’ve been trying to convince my mother to buy a Toto bidet so I can try it out when I’m visiting, but she pointed out that such a device gives you two points of failure: water and electricity. If either are out, you’re out of luck. And since my landlords won’t even do anything about the brown water that reliably gushes from my hot water taps or the window frames that are so warped, it’s pretty much all the same whether the windows are open or shut when it comes to a stiff breeze, I doubt they’re going to buy me an electric bidet. Oh, well. I’ve heard wonderful things about this item.

Last Thursday I was finally able to get to bed on time—8:20 p.m.—and in the morning, I recorded nine dreams. I also had a perfect Friday evening: I turned off the light by 8:19 p.m. and got a solid twelve (hours of sleep). On Saturday morning I did some chores, including preparing cards for Chuck’s widow and for my co-worker who is ill. I sent her my phone numbers in case she feels lonely. I think if I had a serious illness, the main thing I would want, besides not to die, would be to feel that I was loved and not alone.

Later I went to Rainbow on my bicycle for groceries. I spent the afternoon cooking, while listening to Load, Reload, and Death Magnetic to get in the proper frame of mind for next week. I’ve reached a turning point in life: I’m too feeble to cut the rind off a Hokkaido squash (for subsequent cubing and steaming). I considered asking Tom if he’d come down and do it for me, but then I just decided to bake the thing, and I should have switched to that method long ago. It is delicious.

Saturday evening, I watched the raucously entertaining Alpha Dog, which I cannot recommend due to violence and misogyny. I saw it because Emile Hirsch stars. He’s a wonderful actor, but this is not one of his strongest parts. The standout, surprisingly, was Justin Timberlake, who brought some complexity and depth to his role.

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my movie (and book) reviews, but can say these are the movies I’ve liked most lately: The Lookout and Mysterious Skin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and Into the Wild and The Mudge Boy (Emile Hirsch). The latter is the story of a young man whose mother has recently died, leaving him alone with his aloof and angry father. His only friends, using the term loosely, are a bunch of beer-guzzling joyriding thugs. The sole living creature he has to love is a cherished pet chicken. This movie does not have a happy ending and is still with me a month later. I’m kind of worried about that kid, even though I know he doesn’t exist. Some kid like him exists.

As for books, I’ve read a whole pile of books on lucid dreaming, with the current selection being Conscious Dreaming, by Robert Moss. I’m also reading The Afterlife, by Donald Antrim, a memoir about his mother's death (I suspect the title refers to his own life once his mother was gone) and When the Iron Eagle Flies: Buddhism for the West, by Ayya Khema. She is extremely direct and extremely clear.

I sent my parents my proposed 2010 visit dates and my mother wrote back, “Whatever works best for you, Mr. Chicken.”

On Saturday night, I had a brief lucid dream. Asleep, I was thinking, “If I were dreaming, I could do such-and-such.” To establish whether I was dreaming or not, I looked at a piece of paper on the floor—these have an obliging way of turning up when needed—and saw the word “fun” written on the piece of paper. I looked away, looked back, and the word was gone: definitely dreaming!

I realized I have been misusing the Dream Views website. It has these main categories, among others: General Lucid Discussion, Attaining Lucidity, Dream Control, and Lucid Experiences. Since I’m just getting the hang of attaining lucidity, I often head for that section. This almost always inspires me to try some new technique, and that is a mistake, because one can only focus on so many things at once, and I end up with sort of the frenzied feeling of stabbing wildly in all directions.

I’ve quit visiting that section and am sticking with Dream Control and Lucid Experiences, where I can be inspired and learn about things to try when I’m lucid in a dream without dissipating the energy of my basic protocol.

On Sunday I went to see my new hospice visitee, C. I felt kind of a pang when I passed B.’s room and could see someone else was in there. C. has dementia and spent our hour taking my hand and then snatching her hand away, and looking worriedly into a pocket on the front of her gown. She said only three things, in a tiny voice: “I don’t know what to do,” “What should I do?” and “Help me.” She looked afraid, and at times angry.

I know some of her relatives died long ago under very adverse circumstances, perhaps including her own parents, and I suspect she may have some ghosts visiting now, at the end. I don’t know how long it’s been since she got to hold her own mother’s hand, but I tried to look at her the same way her mother perhaps looked at her when she was a tiny girl, decades ago, and to hold her hand as her mother would have.

I went from there to a home in St. Francis Wood where I met Tom for a piano recital, his mother, Ann, being one of the performers. It was a lovely afternoon and I really enjoyed hearing Ann play. I could not believe how much music she memorized: lots and lots. One of the other performers played a Haydn piece I can remember hearing my mother play in the 1960s.

After all the splendid music, we had refreshments. Our hostess was the teacher of all the performers, and her husband, a very sweet man, is my new good friend because he insisted that I eat many, many cookies.
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