I was writing a journal entry in my sleep last night.
It was only when I rolled over and woke up that I realized that I had been lying in bed asleep instead of sitting at my computer composing an entry.
The dream had begun with something about the English royal family. Queen Elizabeth had abdicated her throne and King Richard would ascend to the throne. Yes, I know, Prince Charles is first in line, followed by Prince William and then Prince Henry -- no Prince Richard. (Actually, I've just looked it up and there is a Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but he is 18th in the line of succession.) In my dream it was because it was apparently the custom to take a new name, the way Popes do, and Prince Charles (or maybe it was Prince William) had decided to take the name Richard. For some reason I was scheduled to meet with them and I was very frustrated because I didn't know which Richard he would be. I wasn't sure if he would be Richard IV or Richard V and it would be very embarrassing to get it wrong and I couldn't seem to find out and I was trying to find out without actually exposing my ignorance by asking anybody.
So I ended up in a restaurant because it seemed that would be a good place to find the answer. (Who says dreams are supposed to make any sense... except in dream logic.) Then apparently I -- or my dream -- forgot all about the monarchy and I was just there in the restaurant, dark, mostly empty, many large round wooden tables and I was at two of them. That is, I had been sitting at one table with a cup of coffee and there was a five dollar bill (my change from paying for the coffee) on the table next to the cup. But I had moved to an adjacent table, where I had a bottle of beer (with a dollar bill on the table, my change from paying for the beer).
My waitress came by, clearing away empty dishes, laying down menus and napkins and silverware. She said that the guy who'd been at the next table was nicer than me because he'd left her a five dollar tip and I'd only left a dollar. I started to protest that I was the guy who'd been at the next table, surely she remembered serving me, but then I saw that she was smiling, just joking with me. I picked up the five and handed it to her.
She asked me if I minded sharing my table -- the restaurant had been quiet with only a few customers but suddenly it was busy and quite crowded with customers. I told her it was okay and she led three or four guys to my table. We introduced ourselves and a lively conversation began but I wasn't paying much attention at first because I was worried that I might have under-tipped the waitress, but all I could remember having was a coffee and a beer. My new companions at the table asked me what I had been doing there -- apparently I had a laptop on the table in front of me -- and I explained that I was involved in a writing project, writing a book.
I began explaining my project -- except it seemed that I was no longer talking with them but rather was explaining this to someone who was a good friend who happened to be standing outside the restaurant -- apparently the restaurant was in a basement and I had to stand on my chair and then sort of pull my self up on the window ledge. I explained -- with great enthusiasm -- that Nancy and I were writing a novel together and I was trying to figure out all of the tie-ins. My friend became increasingly excited as I explained my plans and kept telling me what great ideas I had. The novel would, of course, be made into a movie -- and a television series -- and a comic book -- and a video game.
He asked me "What about the musical?"
I hastened to explain that I wasn't a very musical person -- that I'm a very bad singer -- but did mention that I had written a song once. It's somewhere in here as I was attempting to tell about the song I once wrote that things somehow morphed from me telling it to this guy outside the window to me telling you by writing about in this journal. (Interestingly, my dream narration of this anecdote was very accurate -- at some point in here the dream state must have melted away -- so what follows is a true story, even though I was trying to tell you about it while I was asleep -- or at least not actively conscious.)
Tommy Quinn had been one of my buddies in high school -- during my junior year I hung out a lot with him and another guy, Charlie Shoemaker. Charlie graduated in 1960 and enlisted in the air force. Tom and I hung out that summer and -- since Charlie had been the one with access to an automobile -- we frequently hitch-hiked. One day we had (for no particular reason beyond adolescent boredom with wherever we happened to be) hitch-hiked from Kingston to Saugerties, hung out there for a while, then hitch-hiked from Saugerties to Woodstock (probably actually walking four or five miles before we caught a ride), and then hitched back to Kingston (picture the three towns at the corners of a triangle about ten or twelve miles on a side -- Kingston and Saugerities are on the Hudson River and Woodstock is inland, nestled in the Catskill Mountains).Among other ways of passing the time, we decided to write a rock song -- sort of a doo-wap my-baby-done-left-me lament -- where I did the words and Tommy did the music. All I can recall at this point, forty-seven years and a half years later, is "Lovers stroll through the park / holding hands in the dark / lovers stroll through the city / all look down at me with pity" (hey, I didn't say we were a threat to Carole King or Brian Wilson -- besides, if you actually think about the lyrics to most pop songs from 1960, they were rather lame).
Anyway, that night, back in Kingston, Tommy and I stopped in at some of the local hangouts -- including, of course, the 24-hour cafeteria at the Trailways bus depot on Broadway (which is where everyone always ended up at some point in an evening, to sit there and sip coffee and eat a buttered hardroll -- this was before bagels escaped from New York City to conquer the nation -- and meet friends and find out where the action might be and, well, just hang out). We would tell everyone about this great new song we'd heard on WKBW ("The Fifty Thousand Watt Giant on the Niagara Frontier" -- a super-powered top-40 station in those days). They had a reputation for playing new hit songs two or three weeks before the New York City stations played them (which makes sense for any songs that first attracted attention in the mid-west) so if we said we heard it on WKBW that would indicate it was an up-and-coming hit. Tommy would sing part of the song and I'd kind of do the doo-wop background and -- much to our delight -- we suckered several people into saying that they'd also heard the song played on WKBW. (My father and my brother were not the only pranksters in the family.)
It was as I was "writing" about how amused we were at how easily people could come to remember things that had not happened that I rolled over and, as I said at the beginning of this entry, realized that I was in bed instead of at my computer.
There I was at quarter past three in the morning, wide awake. I got up, made appropriate fluid level adjustments, tossed Tiger a cat treat, and went back to bed. It seemed to take forever to fall back to sleep -- I didn't want to turn on the light and read because I didn't want to wake Nancy -- I almost got up and came downstairs to turn on the computer on the theory that if I were going to lie away thinking about my computer, I might as well get up and actually use it -- but eventually I fell back to sleep, but not until around 4:30.
My alarm is set for a few minutes before six.
And today is the 29th of January. Exactly three months until I'll tick off another natal anniversary. *sigh* These numbers keep getting higher and higher.