Sunday, January 13, 2013

12 Shorties


I sit on the front steps waiting for my ride. I have to be careful not to get into the wrong car. Strangers pull up in front of my house all the time and I jump up and greet them like long-lost friends. Sometimes this scares them and sometimes it scares me. I'm always having to explain about being nearsighted.


Once in a restaurant I waved to myself in the mirror because I looked so familiar. I was critical of my haircut but other than that I looked like someone I might like to know. I gave myself a friendly smile, along with the wave. This could have been embarrassing but luckily nobody else noticed.


In the dream my friend tells me she is studying "Berlitz" and I get all excited, thinking she said "burlesque."

Cable Guy

The cable guy came this morning to hook me up to more channels than I really want but it's a package deal and I don't get to choose. It only took a minute to get me connected. Then he showed me how to use the remote control. It's not as easy as you might think. We sat on the couch together and first he flipped channels, then I did. Eventually we found a movie we both liked so we watched it for a while. "This is why I'm always behind schedule," he said. "Shhhhhh," I whispered, "here comes the good part."

Team Psychic

The softball team thought they could benefit from the insights of a psychic. At their next practice session someone thought to bring along a telephone directory. They couldn't find a psychic listed so they ended up ordering three large pepperoni pizzas instead.

Bones in Her Backyard

The man who comes to dig the holes (to see if there's the right kind of clay so he can go ahead and dig the pond) talks a lot about dinosaurs. My friend isn't sure but she suspects some of what he says is nonsense. Philopatic Age. Typlaytosaurus Rex. She wonders if he's trying to tell her he'll lay claim to any old bones he digs up. Later, he says his son is studying dinosaurs in school. She figures he was just trying to be friendly. She feels reassured that if there are any archaeological wonders in her backyard they'll be hers to keep.


A friend of mine told me about a woman she knows who demagnetizes herself every time she passes under an electrically-charged wire. She touches her forehead, nose, right shoulder, left shoulder, right knee, left knee, and her belly button. Then she does it again, in reverse. Some roads have a lot of wires to pass under. Luckily, her husband usually does the driving.

Porch Lights

As she approached her house one summer evening my friend wondered why there were Christmas lights strung  on the porch. She never hangs Christmas lights but even if she did she would have taken them down by July. Then she realized it wasn't her porch. It wasn't even her next-door neighbor's porch. It was the porch four houses down from hers. She's lived in her house for more than thirty years, but some days everything looks new to her.

On the Road

Like me, my friend is an adult who never learned how to drive, but unlike me she is doing something about it. At her third lesson her driving instructor gave her a sucking candy to calm her nerves. It tasted like fish, but she didn't run over anything. At her next lesson there was no candy and she ran over a curb. Her instructor was  soothing and supportive. "Where did that curb come from?" he asked. "It looks to me like it came out of nowhere." She finds his attitude unsettling.

Unanswered Questions

My grandmother used to put avocado pits in old jelly jars. She stuck fancy toothpicks in their sides so they wouldn't fall into the water; then she placed the jars on her window sills. Most of the pits remained bald all their lives but a few sprouted wispy bits of greenery. None ever grew up to be an avocado tree. I never saw my grandmother eat an avocado. Not one single time. I wonder where all the pits came from. And the fancy toothpicks, where in the world did she get them?


My sweetheart gave me a polished stone. I put it on my bedside table and there it sits, black and white and striped. At night the smell of skunk drifts in through the open bedroom windows. Could there be some connection?

The Green Ring Dream

In the dream I am trying to persuade you to try on a ring with a large square green stone. I am insistent and unrelenting. I say things like: "It's perfect for you. You'll love it. This ring was made for you. This is the ring you've been looking for your whole life." You resist. You tell me you don't like the ring, you don't need the ring, you don't want the ring. And furthermore, you say, you have not been looking for a ring your whole life. I don't give up. I nag at you until you finally try it on. When you put the ring on your finger even I can see that it looks awful on you. I always want to be right, but I admit it when I'm wrong. Dreams can be so humbling.

A big THANK YOU to my friends (especially Lisa H.) who told me some of these stories  years ago.