BLOT: (12 Aug 2010 - 04:13:58 PM)
My last dream of the night started out on a bus. It was a school bus, old and beaten, like you'll see in rural districts: unattractively pitted yellow with a three four digit code—unnecessarily specific for such a small town— windows that you pull tabs inward and they drop down half way, seats that go up about a full fifth-grader's back but only three-quarters a senior's. A relic, but still practical when it comes to a school district saving money, getting that last few thousand miles on it, hoping next year's budget carries through. This one had been fitted to be a for-pay passenger vehicle, though I suppose it could have been a school bus some of the day and a for-pay vehicle the remainder. I was riding it to work, with my old tan-and-black book bag (contents unknown, though a small but heavy lump at the bottom was mostly surrounded by empty).
It pulled up at a corner of two country roads. A corner that had been built up some and then left to rot. If you grew up in a small town, you probably know the sight. A gas station. Maybe a garage. Something that could have been a general store and something else whose purpose you can't quite nail down: a white brick building with peeling paint and a sign that says something like "Terry's!" Now all of them are closed except maybe the garage putters along, surrounded by relics, taking over their parking lots and relying on word of mouth in a small town to insure everyone that yes, they're open. There were some buildings like this running down the perpendicular road. Off, catercorner and across the intersection were fields and grown up lots. Over to the right, a grassy area whose trees had been cut down but whose market-value was still in doubt, waiting until someone inquires at which-ever local lawyer or banker also worked as the area's real estate mogul. And there, between the dead businesses on the left and the unfilled field on the right: was Bags 'n Books*.
It was a single story, old country house sort of affair. Wooden inside and out. Half-porch bordered by a jutting room to the left, making the whole building look like fat apostrophe dangling above the road. A sign which was much newer than the building dangled overhead, somehow attached to the roof, in that way that old buildings get appropriated for new businesses wherever real estate prices outstrip the ability of small-timers to pay. It was probably white once, or some generic pastel yellow, but now mostly gray. Sunbleached to remove the color; the long slow boil of humidity adding some back.
As I got down, I immediately remembered that I had forgotten by bag and asked for them to hand it to me through the window, which they did. The inability to return to a spot left is common in my dreams, but this is the only case I have it in this one. Then I went inside. The purpose of the building is unknown, but I knew that I had worked there for some time, but irregularly. It seemed to be something like a bookstore or a library, but only had a few books at the best times, a dozen dozen spread over three or four rooms of shelves. It was a place where people could read, could talk about books, but it was sparse old wood and little furniture. Outside, it was early morning and felt like early Fall, late summer, the first whiffs of cool. Inside, the decorations where pastels, paper from long rolls, cheap ruffled borders you get in primary colors from teacher-supply shops. It was a kid oriented day, some special day, possibly a back-to-school sort of deal, possibly a book fair. The old BnB seemed to have even fewer books than it normally did, though.
I remember asking someone where do I put my bag? To explain the confusion I mentioned that I had worked there in the past but maybe it's been a while. I get that situated and then go about my day, which was mostly nothing. People start coming in, none of them seem to be kids in contrast to the decorations, and the dream ends only a few minutes later after a discussion about politics. An old class-mate of mine asked how I had voted and I told her (and this is not true, but in the dream was both true and a source of pride) that I had been for years straight-party Democrat in all local elections and she was quite happy to hear it. We were standing by a decommissioned fireplace, the sort you see in gouged out and retooled buildings like this. Talking. Being friendly. She somehow represented the people who ran the place. And then, about the time I was explaining that I only vote straight-ticket in the locals, and in the nationals I...
...woke up. Which is how I was able to piece together that I had dreams about this place before. I had been a slacker in those dreams, coming in but spending much of the time reading the books instead of working. Maybe even avoiding people. There is always the impression that is, to some degree, busy—much too busy to be so devoid of product and surrounded by the husks of a town—but I was always in the rooms away from the crowd. This is part of the reason I don't know what exactly the business is. I have been avoiding it. In the dreams involving it, the place has been a series of sense data surrounding an idea, impressions without death, text on a page without context or meaning. About the only other thing I know is the house that was and the business that now is has more rooms than spotted at first glance. Looking to be only two, maybe three, rooms deep and two rooms wide from the outside; it actually goes at least four or five back and gives the impression of more. Oh, and it doesn't have hallways. Every room is accessed from other rooms unless you count what is kind of the large "central" room past the opening room (the smaller room I tend to walk towards is off to the right of it).
How weird is that? To have a series of dreams about a single place, roughly telling a story that goes nowhere, but never having really strong definite anythings?
* This, of course, could be my subconscious telling me it is time to run off with Katie and open a combination bookstore and knitting outlet, though all other indications seem to indicate that business will not be super swell.
Written by Doug Bolden
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