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Dream: 5.9.15

May 10, 2015

There is a narrative to this one, but it makes no sense chronologically.


It’s lunchtime, and I’m in the cafeteria of a job where I work occasionally, which I think is in a warehouse-sized supermarket. I’m eating by myself, people-watching. I see a bunch of older white guys doing their usual “old boys’ club” thing at their usual table. One of them looks enough like Chris Matthews that I think of him as Tweety in my head.

I see Curtis, a tall, attractive, well-dressed African-American man in the cafeteria too. He’s fairly new to our workplace, and doesn’t know to avoid attracting the attention of these old white guys. He overhears them saying something (probably bigoted), and objects vociferously, but politely.

As I watched things unfolding, I was already worrying that the old guys were planning to jump Curtis in the parking lot after work, beating him up or worse.

Curtis, meanwhile, walks away, probably not thinking much about it. Everyone else knows he’s in danger, but they don’t say anything to Curtis. I do. I walk over and introduce myself, then suggest that, at quitting time, he and I walk out to the parking lot together. Also, maybe he should leave earlier than usual. (I’m fairly certain that the old white guys will not attack Curtis if I’m there. I don’t expect them to attack me, either way, but I’m not completely certain that they wouldn’t.)

= = =

It’s a very long day, and somehow, Curtis and I go to lunch together later that day. We leave the store, to go to one of my favorite restaurants, which is dark and quiet and moody, a jazz vibe, and has great food.

First, though, we stop at a Catholic Mass. We can’t hear anything very well — Curtis mentions to me that “the acoustics are terrible”; we also both agree we are too hungry to stay. We leave.

We go back to our grocery store to get some snacks. I attempt to buy a large candy bar that’s marked as costing $7.50 before tax. Rifling through my purse for cash, I run across a very large Kennedy half-dollar [it’s approximately the size of a dinner plate]. It’s very shiny, and looks brand-new. I can’t seem to find the year it was minted though. Anyway, I think to myself, “this is probably worth a lot of money; I could hold onto it.” But I decide to go ahead and use it to pay for the candy bar anyway.

Curtis signs in as the cashier, scans the candy bar, and readies to take my money. But it rang up as costing $9.17, so he must’ve entered something incorrectly. (Also, I don’t have $9.17.) I tell him he’ll have to void the transaction and re-do it. He hasn’t been trained on voiding yet. I go in search of a more senior employee who can do the void-out. The person I find is a youngish white guy, with curly light brown hair, wearing red fingernail polish. After I explain what we need, he says Curtis has to do the void himself; he walks Curtis through the procedure.

= = =

At some point, I say something to Curtis about how I like being seen with him because he’s cute. He laughs.

= = =

The restaurant is a place where I commonly see mixed race couples, friends, and families, so I’m not expecting any side eyes from anyone. (And there aren’t any.)

= = =

Curtis’s suit is kind of a dark mango color. {Really cool color, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in waking life. I’m not doing it justice with that name.}

= = =

At lunch, I say something to Curtis about how Tweety et al. won’t allow [Curtis] to “get away” with treating them as his equals, which he (inadvertently) did by publicly disagreeing with them. Nobody does that, even though Tweety’s group is full of pompous, insufferable tyrants.

Of course, Curtis is their equal. He didn’t do anything wrong. And yet, there’s gonna be unpleasant consequences.

= = =

At some point, I’m alone when I walk by a hair salon I’m familiar with, that’s closed for the evening. I think about blue hair, and resolve to come back on a different day.


Spouse and I had somewhere to go early this morning, so I handwrote notes, but had no opportunity to write this post. Later, he was trying to install software on my laptop that kept crashing.

Because of the racial aspects of this dream, which, when I woke up immediately reminded me of Emmet Till, I’ve waffled all day about even writing this post.

Also, if the opening scenario occurred in waking life, where I honestly thought “Curtis” might get shot or beaten up, I don’t know what I’d do.

The dream wants to be written about, though, so here I am.

= = =


The supermarket where I/we worked… looked like a particular location I used to take Gramma to, when I lived with her. She’s been on my mind lately because Thursday I sent a copy of the poem I wrote about her to somebody. I wondered if the person would receive the poem by Saturday, which would be a sort of Mother’s Day remembrance of Gramma, 17 years after her death.

I’ve never actually worked in a supermarket. But Spouse has.

I’ve been noticing in the few months that a lot more people of color appear in my dreams these days; I think historically my dreams’ characters were probably 100% white people, and I never even noticed how weird that was.

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone named Curtis.

Dream-Curtis, once I woke up, reminded me a bit of Derrick Rose, the NBA player I’d just been watching play the night before. But Curtis had much darker brown skin, and a bigger build.

The thing about Derrick Rose is… while watching March Madness and the NCAA tournament on TV, Spouse and I kept seeing the commercial showing the African-American boy bicycling through the streets of Chicago, while someone recited a poem about roses growing up through sidewalks. I really loved the poem, and I was seeing Chicago, where my parents grew up (poor, but not black) and I was just powerfully moved every time I saw it. I finally said something to Spouse about it, and he said, “yeah, well, the guy at the end is Derrick Rose” (whom I’d never heard of). That just added this whole other level of stuff. Because roses are a motif in my life, and have been since I was a baby.

The shiny Kennedy half-dollar segment echoes both David using Grampa’s special coins to pay for ice cream bars, and child me deciding to use the Kennedy half-dollars I’d received as a gift to contribute to the collection plate at Mass, for several successive Sundays. I felt virtuous doing so, but I also felt… something was “off”. In retrospect, I think the discomfort came from being told I could save the money, or I could donate it, but no one ever suggested I could spend it. The whole point of resources is to use them, (hopefully) use them wisely. So, in the dream, thinking, “this coin is probably really valuable, I could hold onto it… nah, I’m gonna spend it on this thing I want right now” is a sea change. In A Good Way.

The more senior employee being a youngish (white) guy with light brown curly hair and red fingernail polish? A younger me, it must be. But instead of taking charge, he directs Curtis to fix the thing himself. That’s gotta be my issue with inner authority vs. outer authority figures — I’m switching over to relying on my own judgment, especially about creative things, rather than waiting for some “authority” to tell me what I should think or do.

Orange is a power color for me, but calling Curtis’s suit color “orange” hardly captures the beauty and complexity of it.

I want to like jazz, but listening to it hurts my brain. I like the idea of it, though.

When I told Curtis I liked being seen with him because he was cute, I was flirting (which I don’t do that much in waking life). We had an easy rapport, despite not knowing each other very well. I also didn’t get caught up in wondering if he found me attractive back. I just enjoyed his company. I think this part means I’m relaxing with even some personas I don’t know very well.

I had just stayed up all night 2 nights ago reading Just Call Me Superhero by Alina Bronsky, wherein the narrator was disfigured in an attack by a Rottweiler after he pushed his girlfriend out of the way. We learn near the end of the book that he did that out of instinct, and regretted it afterwards, so he never wanted to see or talk to his girlfriend again. Would I deliberately put myself in harm’s way to protect someone else? I have done so, but nothing like as drastic as the dream scenario.

I think this part of the dream was about standing up for my own inner selves. Making a stand to take them seriously, and value them, no matter what anyone else would do (or not do). Which I’ve been doing in small ways for a while, but bigger ways more recently.

Clearly, the hair thing is important, because I keep dreaming about it.

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