A Recollection: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer always seems to be the shortest season in terms of perceived available days for relaxation versus actual days for relaxation…but the longest season in terms of “it’s-going-to-be-hot-for-six-months-so-you’d-better-get-used-to-it.”

So, here I am, sitting at my computer on the eve of another academic year, and I thought I’d complete that “old-as-the-hills” assignment that we used to do in school entitled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.” (Or, in my case, “What I Did With Approximately Two Weeks.” Three months off is a myth, folks.)

My first major vacation-y event was something I probably could have done in any season, but one of my all-time favorite bands happened to be touring close by during the summer…hence, it became part of my summer vacation. I say I could have gone to this concert during any season, but since I’d been trying to get to one of their concerts for, say, eleven years, I suppose I was just kidding myself. So, in June, I finally went to a Steely Dan concert. My apologies to anyone who had to listen to me sing along with them at the top of my lungs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.

And it was good.

I’ve become pretty good at squeezing little side trips into a packed schedule, but this year I wanted to go on a real trip. I addressed it in my previous blog post, but never included some of the stunning scenes I woke up to every day on beautiful St. George Island, Florida. It was my first trip to that particular beach and my first trip to ANY beach in four years. My apologies to anyone who had to stop dead in their tracks while I took photographs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.

And it was good.

If you don't like the beach, we might not be able to be friends.
If you don’t like the beach, we might not be able to be friends.
Cape St. George Light. I also have a t-shirt to prove that I was there.
Cape St. George Lighthouse. I also have a t-shirt to prove that I was there.

On the way back, I did the nerdiest thing I have ever done in my life–stopped in Seaside, Florida to seek out the “Truman House.” One of my favorite movies ever is “The Truman Show,” and it was filmed in Seaside. I found it, had a nerd moment, and grinned for a week. Twelve hours later, I was back in Arkansas.

Then, it was back to work.

Tomorrow is the first day of school (although, technically, it’s the fourth week of the new academic year for me).

And the weird dreams have already started. I’m trying to forget last night’s brain cornucopia. I was trying to run a rehearsal with a potluck going on next door, all while people felt the need to keep pulling me aside to tell me I was crazy. (Something about my sense of humor…) I tried to argue with them, but it was hard to hold my ground as I went through the potluck line and put beef stew, fried rice, Lucky Charms, and milk on the same plate. I finally got fed up (haha) and took off in my car, driving in reverse over swinging bridges constructed of thin rowboat paddles and shouting something about trying to break the Olympic record.

(Figure that one out, Freud.)

And that’s what I did on my summer vacation.

And it was good.

With that, here’s to a great academic year for all!

*I also started an Etsy shop this summer. I’m updating listings as I create more work, but right now it’s primarily for my landscape photography. I am selling 8×10 prints. Please take a look! You can buy photographs here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeticulousObserver

A Dream: Vague Specifics

Dreams can be incredibly strange. Since I don’t have Sigmund Freud around to help me analyze a few of them, I guess I’m on my own.

As a child, I had a recurring dream about a monster that lived in the television set. It only seemed to appear when the set was turned off. I think my brother tried to humor me by agreeing that he had a similar dream…although he could have just been messing with my head, trying to make me believe that everyone had that dream.

We were children of the 80s…not that it might have had anything to do with my recurring nightmares. (Nothing to see here. Moving forward…)

As an adult, I don’t have any specific recurring nightmares, although I usually have central thematic material to work with.

The biggest one?

I’m running terribly late for something and no matter what I do, I never quite make it where I’m supposed to be. Oddly, I’m never late for anything in the “awake” world.

In college, the dream usually jolted me out of my evening slumber during finals week. I would wake up–heart pounding–and check the clock obsessively. They usually ended with me desperately trying to run to an exam I couldn’t find because I had trouble interpreting the finals grid the university sent out about a week before testing.

My stress level had gone through the roof one semester. I was working long hours on a research project. One Sunday afternoon, I drifted off with a pile of books within my reach. (Although this little anecdote isn’t about a dream, it does demonstrate how your mind can play tricks on you.) I woke up and panicked when the clock said it was 2:30. In my mental fog, I thought I had slept straight through that afternoon and the next one, missing my class altogether.

(Oh, it gets better.)

I freaked out even further when I realized that I hadn’t pulled a Rip Van Winkle…but that sleeping until 2:30 a.m. was within the realm of possibility. So why was the sun out at 2:30 a.m.? Yep, only a few parts of my brain had woken up, and not in any kind of sequential order. Once I realized it was 2:30 p.m. on the same afternoon in which I had fallen asleep, I calmed down and kept sifting through the books.

(I got a 4.0 that semester. I think it was worth it.)

Last night’s dream, however, takes the cake on “weird.” The central theme remained the same: I’m running late for something and I won’t make it on time no matter how hard I try.

This time, it was a concert.

Oh, and I was trying to find the performance venue on a continent upon which I’ve never set foot. (I figured this one out by my “dream-style” logic reasoning skills.)

Oh, and I was trying to chase down one of the performers who was supposed to stay right by my side for some reason.

I knew I was in a race against the clock. I was on a train but I had no idea how I ended up on the train. All I knew was that it was supposed to take me where I needed to go. It was dark outside, but I could make out the outlines of trees against the moonlight. They were types of trees I’d never seen in person, so that was my “dream-style” reasoning clue that I was in foreign territory.

Now, when you know you’re running terribly late for something, the last thing you need to do is stop for a leisurely lunch. In my “dream-style” mode of thinking, however, I did just that. I found myself in a nice little cafe. My companion hadn’t materialized yet, so I was alone…but then I noticed the celebrity couple seated at the table behind me.

I have no idea why these two were anywhere in the same ZIP and/or area code of my mind, but when you see The Crocodile Hunter and his wife eating lunch six feet away, you get a little curious. (Especially considering one pretty big detail that would negate the possibility of this little outing ever occurring in 2016.) Never mind that I was running late…I had to say hello and gush a little bit about how wonderful their daughter was on “Dancing With The Stars” and whatnot. (I really think they just wanted to be left alone, because they said they wanted to be left alone. I should have known that, even with this being a dream and all.)

It was only then that I realized just how late I was running and that I had to be somewhere…I just didn’t know where. I ended up back on the train again, but it was daylight. Somehow, I ended up off the train shortly thereafter, and I was on foot running through muddy fields and gravel parking lots while trying to keep up with the companion that had finally materialized.

I woke up when I found myself trapped in a small room in a nuclear power plant. I guess my companion made it to the concert. (Way to go.) I’m curious as to how it went. And what we were supposed to be playing. And–oh, yeah–where it actually was.

Why can a dream leave you with such specific details as a slightly tense conversation with a departed wildlife expert but NOT let you know where you were supposed to be going by a certain unspecified time? I mean, I couldn’t really find anything about any of these scenarios in my ten-dollar dream dictionary, so it must be an unsolvable mystery for the ages. The only part of it that makes any sense is “concert,” because I just finished with one last week.

If I ever have that dream again about running late for finals, though, I may have to see if I can get Dr. Freud to materialize.

A Reality Check: Lottery Loser Forced To Go Back To Practical Dreaming

Wahoo, Neb.–After a week of entertaining thoughts of leaving his job at a local air hockey manufacturing center for relaxation on a private Caribbean island, local Powerball loser Joe Goodefornuthin reluctantly made plans to shift gears to a more practical train of thought upon realizing that the winnings had gone to someone else.

“I plan to start daydreaming about my 401(k) next week. Today, though, I just need a little more time to make the cabana in my mind look like I think it could have.”

At press time, Goodefornuthin was driving home from work contemplating who he would have taken with him to the island, a small, uncharted tropical hideaway fully-stocked with a fifty-year supply of Cheetos and 25-seat private screening room set to play “The Godfather” on a continuous loop.