General Strike, rain clouds looming overhead, and me sitting on my bed after having dreams about mice and dead people. It might sound morbid to you but for me, it's just my subconscious telling me to get my act together and tidy my nest.
The days have been so long lately they've all run together. Did you ever do "spin art" at a summer camp or school carnival? It's where you dump red yellow and blue puddles of paint onto a cardboard square, put it in a doohicky machine that spins it all around and afterward you've got art! It's an awfully good metaphor for my schedule.
Yesterday, as I mentioned, we had a very successful day with some clients I was apprehensive about. They're what I can safely consider to be "MY" clients, as in, I'm the one responsible for reeling them in. If they're not happy, I'm three times the more unhappy. Through luck, charisma, and a padded block of experience, I managed to make them not just happy... yesterday they were in a fantasy. They saw the Parthenon by the early morning light and the temple of Poseidon at sunset. They ate fresh calimari in a dive taverna in Kallithea watching Spain VS Germany on a tiny television set alongside three Pakistani waiters and their potbellied, Greek boss, cheering like mad at the Spain's grand victory against the machine. They rode the little train, climbed Lycabbetous Hill, ate fresh fruit in the cafe of the New Acropolis Museum
14 hours later, George and I were the walking, talking dead but these people couldn't stop telling us what fun they were having and it made everything worthwhile. When I say this word, worthwhile, I don't mean the day of working like a donkey and smiling like a jackass. No. I mean all of the other days I've felt socked in the head by those giant red boxing gloves on cartoons. The clients who don't say a word, not even goodbye. The days I wonder if this is a passing phase or something worth building on, and the many many days I feel like I'm spinning imaginary clothes for the emperor.
Despina once told me, life is like a stream. Sometimes you have still, calm waters, and sometimes you have rocks. You just have to enjoy the calm and push past the rocks. Push past so you can find more calm. It's not exactly how she said it but it's how I've got it etched into my thick head.
I call these rocks "lesson days." They're the days that are uncomfortable and make you want to drown yourself in something bad for you. Alcohol and cookie dough work well, although maybe not together...
They usually are uncomfortable because you have the impression of being in trouble, like everyone is mad at you, and usually this is because you missed something important and the world wants you to remember it for next time. Maybe that's why,for me, lesson days usually come all at once. I get two or three in a row. Even if I've been sailing along like a little kaiki enjoying Posedon's good mood and smooth waters, out from the depths of the sea comes the krakken with her massive tentacles and THWAP, THWAP, THWAP... down goes the ship and me flailing for air.
"Next time you'll remember!"
They're usually all related to the same issue, even if they come in different costumes. An example, losing things. I will have gotten through a trip across the ocean and back and not encountered one single incident of absent-mindedness, but here come the lesson days and I misplace someone else's camera, a fifty euro bill, and my favorite cherry lip gloss all together.
Why am I going on and on about this? Because I feel like the whole last month has been one lesson day after another and I've got the bruises to prove it. This is not to say that nice things haven't been sprinkled in the middle, but having a good solid day like yesterday is exactly what usually signifies the end of "class." The world is giving me a little grace to heal so that I can swim into deeper waters, get a little stronger, get to the next sea monster and try my new tricks.
The other signifier of the end of the lesson days is vivid dreams.
"You have a specific relationship with your dreams," said G.
"You need them for your balance."
He said this while he was mucking with his computer and went right along into stating out loud that he should pick up his shirts and call his mother.
This morning I indulged in the unthinkable. I woke up, drank my coffee on the balcony, studied a little Greek, closed the book and went directly back to bed.
Just like that! I don't make a habit of it. My philosophy is to use up those precious stolen hours. Stuff them as full of activity as possible. Think of the thief with the stolen platinum card and those critical first few moments, before anyone has noticed something is missing, SPEND SPEND SPEND!!
But today, my trip back to bed gave me the gift of the vivid dream, the breaker of lesson days, the reminder that I haven't cleaned my room or done my laundry in far too long.They usually go in this way:
I find a little mouse that, while breathing, is sicky and starving. Usually it's my fault. I'd forgotten I'd had him as pet or it was something I was supposed to do, feed the little mouse... but in this case I found him on a train. I followed him in there. He had one eye and was losing his hair, but I picked him up and noticed a little cage not far from him. Picked that up too. Vow to take care of the poor creature and nurse him back to health.
In this particular dream I turned around to see trays and trays of straw in the train car, all with little mice eggs. Yes, in this dream, mice are more reptillian than mammalian. I said to myself, "Oh dear I have to take care of all of these too!" and put the little mouse on my shoulder and set about refreshing the hay and adjusting heat lamps. Other animals tripped in and out of my line of vision but I waited too long to write this and now I can't remember.
The train lurched into motion and I panicked. I hadn't intended on going so far. (My mother is, right now, giggling as she reads the obvious intepretation) I wandered through the train cars, all detailed in a sort of Alice and Wonderland fashion, until a gentleman invited me to sit with him. He looked like a tourist complete with a canvas bag printed in Hebrew letters... if not for the bluish tint to his skin.
"Have we met?" I asked.
"Oh! Are you dead!?"
Skimmied out of my chair and moved further down the cars until I found an opening in the roof. Shimmied out of the hole and into the cityscape where a double decker bus was driving right alongside of us, two gorgeous flight attendants smiling their colgate smile at me from the railing.
"Would you like off?"
And they lifted me out.
I woke up peaceful.
Yes, it's bizarre. But there are those of us who say that our dream world is just as real as our waking world, just as the reverse is true. Our waking world is just as surreal as our dream world. Some have said that when we reach the end of this life we will wake up, just like we do in the mornings after a long, strange dream, and that's what keeps me going.It puts everything that feels so difficult about lesson days at a safer distance.
This has been a long and winding post. I'll save detailing what on earth sickly mice have to do with cleaning your nest for tomorrow.
Until then, a bedtime story.