Tag Archives: dreams

The Unemployment Chronicles: Chapter 1

27 Sep

I’ve often said that what I do for work is the least interesting thing about me. Now, almost two weeks after my company severely downsized, catapulting me into unemployment, I’m left wondering how true that really is. Funny thing about working full-time is you spend so many of your waking hours working towards someone else’s goals that you lose sight of what it is that you want. And then when that job goes POOF, along with the barely enough paycheck, you’re left picking through the rubble, trying to find the you that you were when the whole thing started.

When I first found out I was being liberated from my paycheck, I tried to focus on the possibilities time would give me. I could get back to the person I was before the pandemic started. I liked her, she was fun and productive and adventurous. Being her was somewhat effortless but getting back to her, that’s proven to be a bit more of a challenge. It’s like that corporate train with its steady paycheck and paid vacation is an addiction. It got me thinking about how I could progress in that world even as I saw my favorite parts of myself going dormant. As if money – humanity’s arbitrary and uncontrolled measure of value – is somehow enough to displace our joy. If you really think about it though it makes sense. Our jobs are how we relate to one another and how we make our money provides the means through which others make sense of who we are as people and what roll we play within society as a whole. Our jobs are also how people determine our usefulness to them and their own potential career advancement. Honestly, sometimes it feels as though our entire lives are just very, very long networking events. And, in my personal opinion, there is very little joy to be found in a networking event. Like spending all your free time scrolling through LinkedIn, only in person. Yuck.

I’m not entirely certain what the point of this piece is. Maybe it’s to tell people,


in one fell swoop so I can avoid the awkward conversations I have with people when I tell them in person that I don’t have a job. We have been so conditioned to blame individual actors for every little thing as opposed to looking at institutional failures. The result is that when I inform people I don’t have a job, though it is through no fault of my own, I end up feeling like a deadbeat loser with no future.


Anyway, it’s like a rollercoaster. Sometimes I feel pretty lucky that I have this time to get back to myself and really think about what I want to spend my time doing. In the evening, when I think about what the next day might have in store for me and I get the chance to truly focus inwards, I consider a lot of different paths I could take.

  • I could train for another half (or full!) marathon
  • I could write a book
  • I could go back to school and get my PhD
  • I could try and get a job in radio
  • I could get in my car and just, drive, aimlessly, with no real goals or ambitions (Is this a parallel for my life? Perhaps.)
  • I could throw my phone into the ocean

And then in the morning when I wake up, the hours stretching ahead of me and I’m presented with yet another bureaucratic hoop to jump through to qualify for a whopping $504 a week (pre tax!) from New York Unemployment, it all seems a little daunting. I don’t know. I guess all those times as a little girl when I answered the question

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Answer: a marine biologist, duh)

I never truly realized what it meant to grow up. To live, to build community, to earn your way, to find joy. So here I am asking myself that same old question: what do I want to be now that I’m grown?

Answer: Honestly, I want to be a lady who lunches. Imagine living a life that allows you to have long, fancy meals with your friends in the middle of the damn day. And when you’re not having lunch you’re doing other things. Going on a road trip, perhaps. Searching for turtles in a lake. Noodling around in some night market somewhere, looking for a snack. Hey, a girl can dream.

Rebekah’s Pandemic Diary: Nightmare Edition

8 May

As if every day isn’t its own sort of scary dream, I have been blessed with some pretty fantastic nightmares recently. After each one of these I sit awake in my bed, trying to stay up long enough to reset my brain so I won’t fall back into whatever hell my brain had dropped me. Here are three I can remember.

The Man in the Doorway:

A few weeks ago, just as the stay at home order was put into place and my financial viability was thrown into question, I had my first of a series of increasingly terrifying dreams. In that first one, I was in bed when my phone rang. It was my dad who has, in real life, been in a habit of calling me and giving me sometimes daily updates on Cuomo’s press conferences which I find helpful because then I don’t have to watch them. I shuffled into the living space so as to not wake up my boyfriend or any of our pets and I realized that our front door was wide open, with just the screen door protecting me from the outside. And there in the doorway stood a man, staring in at me from our small fenced-in patio. I didn’t know if he had been standing there long, spying, or whether I happened to catch him just as he arrived. I think I was still holding the phone as I walked towards him to close and lock the door, hoping I was making the best bet and he was just a creep, but not dangerous. I awoke with a start as he reached forward and let himself inside the house.

The Women with Scythes:

This is a nightmare I think I have had before.

I was at a gymnastics meet, or so I think. I was there with a group of women and we were all wearing matching outfits. Red with some sort of writing on the front. I think maybe we were gymnastics cheerleaders which feels pretty on brand for me. I was carrying a balloon that I think was supposed to be a letter L – maybe I was supporting LSU? – but somehow I blew it up weird and it ended up all folded in on itself. I didn’t care though. I carried that fucked up L-shaped balloon up and down the hallway surrounding an arena with pride, cheering my head off. Apparently, though, we were only allowed to cheer a certain amount of times for each competitor. I got a little carried away and as I cheered I saw little boxes tick off, one after the other, sort of as a warning. As I ticked off my last box, I was approached by the other women in red, all of whom were now carrying scythes in their hands rather than balloons. They walked slowly and steadily behind me. No matter how fast I went, they were always there, walking, until one of them laid the point of her scythe on the middle of my scalp. I grabbed the handle of the weapon and tried to stop her. I looked in her eyes and knew nothing I could do would spare me. Behind her, dozens of identically dressed women, holding identical scythes, stared. She pressed the tip of her weapon onto my head and I woke up.

The Fire War

I was sitting in my car inside of a garage of a house that is not mine but in which I was staying. The car was facing the front of the garage, the garage door behind me was still open. I was sitting there in the front seat, I’m not sure why, when I noticed some blinking lights reflecting off my rearview mirror and onto my face. I opened the car door and looked and there, over the Hudson River, were planes dropping balls of fire. There were so many planes, so much fire. Rather than running and hiding I called my friend on the phone because, why not.

Friend: Oh hey, you okay?

Me: Well, there is some sort of a battle happening over the river so, you know, I could be better I guess.

Friend: Yeah, I just got an alert about that on my phone but it seems pretty harmless. Just some people dropping fire bombs in the river.


Me: Why now though? With everything else happening?

Friend: I think that’s exactly why they chose now.

As we were talking, a man who I had not seen enter the garage fled on my right side wearing dark clothes and a backpack. He left the building and, running, made a sharp right turn into the darkness. Mere seconds later, the planes appeared to be moving away from the water towards where all the houses were, where I was. One flew close to the garage and dropped something that looked like a suitcase. It fell and as it struck the ground it exploded into fireball that appeared to be moving in slow motion, directly towards me. I turned and fled back towards the car, knowing full well that it, me and the entire garage would be entirely incinerated. I could actually see clearly what the aftermath of the attack would look like. The last thing I remember before waking up was me saying into the phone,

“Please, please, please.”

So, that’s a glimpse as to how I have been sleeping. Needless to say I’m exhausted. How are you all holding up?

If you are enjoying my writing, and since a lot of the cafes are currently closed, consider buying me a coffee on ko-fi! It only costs $3 (or a multiple of 3 if you’re feeling frisky!) and would make my house-bound, under-socialized heart sing. To those of you who caffeinated me, I send you so much gratitude. And I send gratitude to all of you who took the time to read this piece and helped me hold some of these thoughts. 

Tell ‘Em Large Marge Sent Ya

17 Aug

So things have been crazy the last week or so.  I have been working so very much.  Like, 8 shifts in 6 days sort of working.  I know that lots of other people work this much all the time because of necessity or having Important Jobs, but I am lucky enough to have cheap(ish) rent and inexpensive taste and also do something that I don’t believe to be life altering in any way.  Mind altering, maybe, but life altering?  Not so much.  Anyway, I am generally satisfied working 3 shifts a week and having enough savings to buy a house in Kentucky.  But this week all of a sudden all the things happened at once and I found myself working in the morning and until the morning, and sometimes missing one job because I had already committed to another one.  It was silly.  Really, really silly.  Needless to say that as of yesterday mid-shift I was completely and entirely burnt out.  Like, wow.  I would find myself just blankly staring at nothing.  Also, I kept going outside to get a breath of outside air and there is a ramp outside my bar and I would stand there and watch people but I was like, actively watching them.  As in I would see them a block away and then just watch them as they approached the bar and then follow them as they walked past.  I got some awkward smiles.  No one saw me staring and thought

“yea!  Let’s have drinks at that bar!  That creepy lady out front looks especially inviting!”

I did get a whole group of people from some sort of drumming group, drums and all.  Not sure if they were a drumming circle or a drumming line, but they were definitely drummers who organized themselves into some shape or another.  I’m getting bogged down in the details here.  The real story is that the last few days have been weird and that weird has spilled out into my dreams.  I have been having very strange dreams.  Angry ones, even.  So as I mentioned in my last post, for the past few years I have been feuding with my neighbor.  The feud began when he threw a three day long party of some kind with no warning to any of us living around him which resulted in me having to go to work and be nice to people on very limited sleep.  He threw another one of these parties this weekend, leaving me extremely displeased, to say the least.  As a result of my displeasure, and the fact that I was woken up at 2:30am the Saturday morning before my 8th shift in 6 days, I had a really crazy dream.  But let me actually just add here that I am not exactly certain where real ends and dream begins.  It is distinctly possible that I actually, in real life, got out of bed, opened my window and screen, and stuck my head out the window and stared down at the guests of the party with the meanest of mean looks I could muster.  I imagine looking back that my neck somehow became longer than normal and I was able to get way closer to the guests of the party than my 3rd floor window would actually allow.  I am pretty sure I looked something like this:



Okay so that might actually have been part of the dream.  The part that I am about 95% certain was dream was when I leaned out the window and screamed


and then poured a huge bucket of water out the window and all over the guests.  I know this was part of the dream for the following four reasons:  (1) I am a total long game type of girl and I very rarely do things that feel good in the moment in exchange for slow burn revenge.  Sort of like the slow burn that a bottle full of cat urine would unleash on the plants in front of my neighbors house; (2) I don’t have a bucket in my room at the ready in case someone (or someones) need a serious dousing; (3) I don’t know that my aim in the middle of the night would be particularly good, especially on no sleep, and so I would probably just end up watering the tomato plants that live under my window; and, perhaps most importantly (4) there was a Big White Tent which would have protected the guests from any projectiles, liquid or otherwise.  Even though I didn’t actually throw water on my next door neighbors party, I did wake up feeling slightly accomplished.  I suppose sometimes evil deeds in sleep are almost as satisfying as evil deeds in real life and with the added bonus of no repercussions.  (Note:  I don’t actually ever commit evil deeds.)  I did see my neighbor on the street yesterday at some point and I sort of giggled to myself because only one of us knew that I had completely ruined his party in my sleep and that one of us was me.  Sucker!

The other thing that happened this week was that my favorite coffee shop closed.  I have been going there since I moved to the neighborhood almost a decade ago.  It was a great little spot.  The coffee was good and fresh, the service was oftentimes somewhat crabby and, most importantly, none of the “cool kids” from the neighborhood ever went there.  I like my coffee scene-free, hold the pretension.  I know that I am interested in sustainable agriculture and that I have worked in some form of food service for like 13 years, but the reality is that coffee tastes like coffee to me and I don’t need a whole lecture about where the beans come from or get a side-eye from someone cuz I drink mine with milk.  I like milk in my coffee.  Sue me.  Also, I think cold brew is silly.  And wasteful.  Do you know how much coffee it takes to brew that shit?  Sustainable my ass.

I got distracted.  So here’s the story.  I went into the coffee shop to get my morning cup on my way to training at this new spot that I am going to be working at and the owner who I have known forever said

“This is the last day.”

I literally thought she was going to follow that with a loud


But then I realized that it is August and there is no such thing as August fools.  Not that I know of, anyway.  I couldn’t stay and chat because I was running a little late but I was really sad about it so I called my friend Ben and he was also sad about it.  He went down and bought beans.  Now he Has Beans (I didn’t just capitalize that for no reason.  It’s funny, for those of us In The Know [which I capitalized for no reason]).  So all that happened in real life and now I am left scrounging around for a scene-free coffee place.  I tried the bagel shop but I don’t know, the service is a little lackluster.  I could go to the bakery, but then I have to cross the avenue to the side that I don’t really have to be on most of the time to get to any of the places I am ordinarily rushing to in the morning.  I could just make my own coffee which I often do but….sometimes I want my coffee out!  I’ll figure it out somehow.  So the dream!  This is actually a nice one.  I had a dream last night that all us neighborhood folk who went to this shop reopened the shop and ran it ourselves!  And it was so nice!  And then the owner came in and her heart was warmed because she realized how beloved she was in the neighborhood amongst those of us who are a little bit crabby and not dressed particularly stylishly.  Anyway, it was nice and then I woke up and realized it was all a dream but I did feel a little bit fuzzy inside knowing that my dreams aren’t all about revenge and eating peanut butter.

So, that’s it.  I am hoping this coming week will be less weird but if it isn’t that I continue to have dreams that bend my understanding of reality and/or leave me feeling good about myself and my community.  The end.

Nick. monsters. dead? ask him.

9 May

So, this is funny.  Last night I had a nightmare during which my friend Nick was killed by some sort of a monster.  In my awake state, I imagine this monster as being sort of a comical creature — big, green, hairy, lots of drool — and the whole thing being more of a cartoon than anything else.  I imagine that Nick’s downfall was something like him slipping on a banana peel in the midst of his escape from the monster.  In reality, I haven’t had an actual monster nightmare since I was little and had this reoccurring dream that these aliens would come and kidnap me from the top bunk in my brother Aaron’s room.  It was a terrible dream.  I would be in Aaron’s room with him and our friend Matty, playing around.  One of them always ended up cutting their arm on something and they would both leave in search of a bandaid, leaving me all alone in the room.  The second the cut happened my dream self would start to panic; I knew what this meant.  As soon as Aaron and Matty left the room the aliens would land on the front yard in their huge spaceship and abduct me. The thing about it that made it SO horrible was that despite the fact that I absolutely knew this was going to happen, and I became very agitated and afraid and I screamed for Aaron and Matty to come back, I could not for the life of me wake myself up.  I would just have to go through it over and over and over again.  After a while I was almost afraid to go to sleep.  Those aliens were the absolute worst.

Anyway, so last night.  Last night I had this dream that my friend Nick got attacked and maybe killed by a monster.  I woke up mid-dream and scrawled the following thing on a piece of paper near my bed:

“Nick.  monsters.  dead?  ask him.”

So, I asked him and I am sure you will all be pleased to know that he is not, in fact, dead.  He was, however, less than excited about the fact that he may or may not have been killed in my dream and didn’t seem terribly flattered by the fact that my half-asleep self was worried enough about his well-being to write a note to my future awake self to ask him about it.  Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

In other news, I just saw a picture of some of my old coworkers at the bar I used to work at all grouped in front of a cork board that has always held photos and newspaper articles and the likes.  There used to be photos of me on there but I guess someone threw them in the garbage.  I can’t say I am terribly surprised but it is a very odd feeling to be completely erased from a place that you spent so much of your time.  It’s like, 5 1/2 years of my life almost didn’t happen, or people want to pretend they didn’t happen, or something.  People, as a rule, are weird.  Myself included.

Poop, Ghosts and Baby Chickens

10 Dec

Alright you guys so here’s the thing.  I know it might seem, through this blog, that I am an at least passably interesting human being.  I have a job where things happen that people like to read about.  I have an ant farm that at first provided me hours of entertainment which then morphed into soul crushing guilt (slight exaggeration).  Also, sometimes I write letters to people hoping that some solution will come from an unjust situation.  Sometimes the letters help.  Sometimes, not so much.  For someone that goes through life turning mundane activities into adventures, I have quite possibly the most boring dreams ever.  There was that time that I dreamed about waiting for the bus.  And also that time that I dreamed about hoarding peanut butter. (Do you like how I am shamelessly promoting all these past blogs in hopes that at least one of your will click on them?)  Anyway, so in the past few nights my boring dreams have returned with a vengeance.  Okay, well, they weren’t all boring.  One was really boring.  One was super weird and maybe a little bit creepy. And the last one involved a baby chicken.  So, here they are.  Enjoy.

The Boring Dream

So in this first dream, my childhood dog, Buckwheat, came back for a visit.  For some reason, Bucky, who has been dead since the fall of 2001, decided to come and visit me in the city.  He was his fun, silly, slightly stupid Bucky self instead of the scary tumor-pressing-on-the-personality-part-of-the-brain Bucky that made him growl and snap at us.  Anyway, Bucky came to the city and I was running late to meet up with a friend for a drink.  I decided to bring Bucky.  Seeing as how he has been decomposing for the past 12 years, give or take, he was slightly out of shape and was having a hard time keeping up with my brisk New York pace.  Also, he had to poop.  Like, really bad.  So, in the middle of 9th Street he stopped and took a big old shit and it was right then that I realized that I didn’t have a bag to pick the poop up with.  I searched all over, hoping that someone had gently place a plastic bag atop the mountain of garbage that had accumulated on the side of the road.  (I guess in Rebekah Dreamland the sanitation workers were on strike.)  I couldn’t find a bag but I DID find a newspaper which I used to cover the poop and carefully scootch it towards the garbage mountain, in hopes that no one would step on it.  Immediately, someone did.  Bucky and I ran away and then I woke up.

The Weird/Creepy Dream

I’m sure this happens to everyone, but sometimes dead people visit me in my dreams.  Like a few months ago, my grandpa, Papa, came for a visit.  He asked me how my running was going.  I asked him how being dead was going.  He said it was okay but that the cars driving by his grave constantly were keeping him up all night.  I thought that was funny because my grandma, Bama, had been very concerned about the noise level near his final resting place.  I guess she was right to raise the point.  Anyway, a week ago yesterday was the one year anniversary of the passing of one of the bar’s favorite regulars, Mary.  It’s safe to say that she has been on all our minds recently.  On Sunday night, after work, I road the bus home with my friend Glen and we talked about some of the things that make us think about Mary.  For Glen, it was simply riding the bus, the same bus she used to take home to her residence on Atlantic Avenue.  For me it was the smell of tomato vines and the appalling consistency of a vat of blue cheese dressing. You know, the usual.  Anyway, that very night Mary came to me in my dream.  There she was, sitting at the bar, wearing her favorite Christmas sweater with a big Christmas tree broach on it and a few flashing lights.  Mary loved pins.  She had this great baseball cap she used to wear with all these silly pins all over it.  Anyway, she was sitting there, in her favorite spot a few seats to the bartender’s left of the taps, with a snifter full of brandy.  She liked the way it burned her throat.  And boy, did it burn.  After she passed, my coworker/friend/boss Sasha and I each had a glass of it in her honor.  The smell was so harsh it made our eyes water.  We were full-on weeping after we sipped it.  This year we upgraded and had fancy brandy.  Significantly more palatable.  Anyway, as I was saying, there was Mary sitting in her spot.  She just appeared out of nowhere, looking just like she had before she fell ill.  I turned to Sasha and I said “Hey, Sash, look who’s here!  It’s Mary!”  By the look on Sasha’s face it was quite clear that she could not see Mary.  Sasha and I continued right on dream working while Mary and I shared our little dream secret.

The Dream About the Chicken

Last night in my dream I received a box full of eggs.  Naturally I distributed the eggs to all the people near me and then I sat on a chair and looked at the egg gently resting in my hand.  It started moving and breaking.  I thought to myself, “I am basically the worst egg mom ever because I have had this egg for like than 15 seconds and it already has a big ass crack in it.”  I gave the egg to my boyfriend, Pete, and he chipped away at the shell to reveal a teeny, tiny little bright yellow chick.  It was the silliest chick I have ever seen. For some reason that I cannot quite understand, the egg remains ended up in my mouth and it was terrible.  Like, the worst thing.  They were crackly, they tasted bad and the longer they were in my mouth the more space they took up. I had to run to the bathroom to spit them out in the sink and during the interim the chick escaped!  It was just like, bopping around!  This little yellow ball of fluff with itsy bitsy feet and a HUGE beak.  I went searching for it high and low.  I mean, how far could a chick really get.  Just as I was about to admit defeat I saw a little yellow cotton ball on the floor.  Only it wasn’t a cotton ball at all!  It was the chick! So I materialized a box and some newspaper, ripped the newspaper up, but it in the box and then gently placed the chick inside.  All was right in the world.

I guess that’s it.  But because I need some sort of concluding idea, I will leave you with this.  The other day, someone said to me “I never know what is going on in that head of yours.”  Well, now you have the answer: poop, ghosts, and baby chickens.

A Fear of Fire and Ice Explained?

28 Feb

This might sound strange to some of you but I am fairly convinced that in a past life I died in a fire.

For those of you who have spent a significant amount of time with me, I might have mentioned to you this discomfort I have with extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.  I’m pretty sure the dislike of cold, and more specifically of ice, stems from an experience I had as a young child.  I was 3, maybe 4 years old, and I accompanied my mom to the grocery store, something I still do when I am home.  I love, I mean love, the grocery store.  I was wandering the freezer aisle with my mom while she put whatever it was that she needed into her cart — I imagine it was Welsh Farms Coffee Royal Ice Cream, now discontinued, but I could be wrong — when I decided I wanted something from inside one of the freezers.  I somehow opened the door, reached in to grab the thing that I desired, and promptly got my lower lip stuck to the metal shelf.  I shrieked.  My mom had to quickly pull my mouth off the icy structure.  There was screaming, crying, bleeding.  To this day I can’t eat an ice pop without first washing it in hopes of melting that first sinister layer of ice and I simply cannot sit through A Christmas Story without getting queasy.

The fire thing I cannot explain through past experience.  I remember when I was younger I had this reoccurring dream of being locked in my house, although it wasn’t my actual house and I wasn’t actually me, but I knew that I lived there and even though I didn’t look like myself I was somehow still the same person.  Know what I mean?  I would be locked in this house, at the window, and I would be looking outside as someone got into a car, preparing to drive away and leave me unprotected.  Right as they closed the door to their vehicle I would smell smoke, turn around and see fire entering the room.  I would try as hard as I could to unlock the window but nothing, it was locked.  I would bang on it and bang on it as the fire got closer and the smoke got thicker and then, right as it approached me, I would wake with a start, breathing heavily and sweating.  I had this dream at least once a month, with slight variations, for years.

And then there was this other thing.  You know how sometimes people talk about out-of-body experiences?  I only had one of those once.  I was in the kitchen of the house I lived in from the middle of fourth grade until I went away to college, baking cookies.  They were raisin drop, if memory serves.  We had one of those two-tiered ovens and I was using the one on top.  I had decided, and this is something I would never ever ever do now because it is like playing with fire (no pun intended), to put the cookies in the oven without using oven mitts.  I figured, whatever, the oven is hot but the cookie sheet isn’t.  As I prepared to slide the cookies into the oven I said aloud to myself,

Okay, Rebekah, don’t burn yourself.

It was at exactly that moment that I saw myself from above.  It was like I was floating up by the ceiling but then corporeal me was down by the oven, mittless, holding the cookie sheet.  I saw myself slide the cookies into the oven and then I watched, in horror, as my body panicked, my hands lifted with a jerk to touch the top of the 350 degree oven and the cookie sheet tipped back, all the small blobs of dropped dough sliding back towards me and onto the floor.  As quickly as I left my body I was back inside it, looking at the mess on the floor and feeling a dull throbbing on the tops of my hands. That was literally the only time I really burned myself and the only time I saw myself from the outside.  I honestly don’t think it was a coincidence.  It was if something in me, my soul maybe, knew what was about to happen and was protecting itself, if not its physical manifestation, from the inevitable.

I literally haven’t thought about all that stuff in years.  I also haven’t had one of those fire dreams since I was in grade school.  But New Orleans is a spiritual city and I guess, when you spend enough time around all that unseeable energy you can’t help but engage with your own ideas and experiences with life and death and whatever comes in between.  Anyway, as I said, I am fairly certain that in a past life I died in a fire.  Let’s hope this go around ends slightly less painfully.