Thursday, July 03, 2003

It's Dreamy

It's Dreamy

It’s July now, and I’ve started my new job. I work on a grant-funded position from the National Endowment for History. I get to teach people about book binding and repair and all about mold. It’s totally awesome, and for the first time I feel like I’ve really hit my stride, and found out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I love being an archivist, but there was this totally subtle (OK, sometimes not so subtle) elitism that ran through all of my previous jobs that I found disturbing. Now that I’m working on a government grant to serve the masses, I feel a lot more satisfied. I feel like I’m going to get to do some really good work that will improve a lot of people’s lives. Ok, well, it’ll mostly improve the lives of people with library cards. But I’m definitely in a more egalitarian environment now. So what if I gave up the office with two windows and my name on the door? I may be in a cubicle now, but at least I feel good about what I do – and I’m in Midtown, not Buckhead. Hooray for me. 10 blocks farther south makes a hell of a difference in this town.

In other news, things here have settled into a quiet summer rhythm that I dig entirely. The nights are warm and steamy, and sometimes I just go out on the veranda and close my eyes and enjoy being here, where I know I belong. I miss living with my cousins a little bit – I miss Colin marching into my room, toy sword held in the scabbard of his Scooby-Doo underwear, naked except for drawers, toenail polish and a cowboy hat, demanding that I play chess with him. And I miss watching Audrey go through her daily motions of being far more adult than me, and I image I’ll eventually even get nostalgic for Jamie’s totally boy-like behavior. But things are good in the new apartment. I’m back with my own social group again; activists and designers and bartenders. I’m still a total homebody for a while until some more bills get paid, but on the whole I seem to be managing to have an active social life again. It was time, you know?

Devon wrote about her Murfreesboro dream over on her blog. I’ve been dreaming a lot too lately, because I’ve been learning a lot at the new job. I always have the most intense dreams when I’m trying to absorb too much information. It’s like my brain soaks up as much information as it can and then leaves all my emotional responses to be dealt with while I sleep.

Here’s an example:

I dreamt that I took my sisters, Sara and Abby, shopping in Atlanta. And while we were out, Sara bought a magic lamp. We all ran around town having fun – eating in the park and everything. We took our shopping goodies home, and I let them go – to my aunt’s I think.

The next day, Sara shows up on my doorstep with her genie, who looks exactly like the giant from the last episodes of Twin Peaks. The genie (the giant, wearing the same clothes and everything as when he tried to warn Agent Cooper not to pick the beauty contest winner) stands slightly behind Sara all the time. Sara tells me that no one can see the genie except her, and whomever she wants to see the genie. The genie is her invisible helper.

I ask her what she wants to do with the genie, and she tells me she all ready got her driver’s license and a car, and now she’s going to drive to the Lottery office in Atlanta to pick up her lottery winnings. She wants me to come with her because she’s a minor, and she’s worried they won’t let her have the money without a grown-up present. Also, she needs me to help her open a bank account with the new money. The giant is just sort of shaking his head.

I say “Don’t you think that the lotto office is going to know you’re faking them out? I mean, they probably get scammed all the time by people with genies and stuff.” And Sara is just like *SIS-ter*, please, this is a magic genie. Magic genies are for winning the lottery, stupid.

So we all get into Sara’s new green car – it’s a four door sedan, which now that I think about it was an odd choice for a 16 year old girl – and we drive downtown, listening for music. We go into a very tall modern building to the Georgia lottery office, where a receptionist directs us to a hallway with the word “WINNINGS” on it in silver metal lettering. The hallway is small and cramped and there’s a line. I can’t see past the other people down the line, but the hallway evidently opens up into an office where they verify your ticket and make you fill out paperwork to get your lottery money.

It’s the day after the drawing, so there are a lot of winners. We are last in line; me, Sara, and the giant genie. Only, no one else can see the genie, so Sara and I have to make sure we stand on either side of him so he won’t get bumped or stepped on. The hallway is painted red and the carpet is the flat grey industrial kind. We stand and stand, talking around the genie, who stays silent but watches us with some interest. Eventually we all get tired of standing and sit down with our backs against the wall. The hallway is narrow enough that as workers try to get to and from the winnings office, we all have to move around just to let them by. The line never seems to move at all.

After being in line for a very long time, the receptionist starts coming down the line, giving us clipboards with paperwork on them, to try and speed things up. With the receptionist is a little man – the backwards talking guy from the red room of Twin Peaks. And immediately I know we’re going to get in trouble, because I know he can see genies. There’s no time to warn Sara so she can send him away.

They come down the line, shaking hands and explaining the clipboards, apologizing for the long wait. The receptionist was introducing the little man as an important person – The Director of Lottery Winnings. He shakes everyone’s hand and thanks them for their patience on such a busy day. And then he gets to the end of the line, and us. And he starts smiling with his eyebrows raised, a superior look. He leans on one elbow on the door frame behind us, and is all like: And who are you young ladies? And Sara is all giggly and smiling because she thinks he’s just flirting and being silly and she doesn’t know he’s about to lower the boom. After a few minutes of sweet talking, asking about when and where she bought the ticket, and what she would do with the money, and how nice it is to finally win something, blah, blah, blah, he says to my sister:

“You know I can see that genie you’ve got, right?”

And the genie just lets go with this big sigh. And I lean my head up against the wall, and Sara’s all like, So what? I still won, you still have to let me have the money. And then she’s all bragging on about her genie, how cool he is, and asking the director how he can see them, and I want to just yell at her “They were both in Twin Peaks together, stupid, of course they can see each other!”

The director tries to be nice to Sara, but his bottom line is, no, she can’t win the lottery. It has to be random chance and genies are cheating. And the director is really, really sorry, but he can’t help everybody. Some people just have hard lives, and there’s nothing he can do about that.

The genie is nodding emphatically, and I’ve got my head on his shoulder. And that’s when I woke up.

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