Friday, November 21, 2008


A recent dream of mine took place in a white and silver coffee shop that looked like it was designed by IKEA.

I was sitting next to Kate Olsen, who was talking about a play she'd seen in Prague. Across from us was the queen of England, who listened politely to Kate for awhile, but then pulled out books about English architecture and tried to prove that architecture was England's answer to Czech theater. Her Highness was cheerful but competitive.

Realizing I was the third wheel, I excused myself from the booth. Soon, I noticed I was being followed by a 40-something man. I'd leant my car to someone, which meant I was without my keys and thus without my pepper spray keychain. I dodged into the women's restroom, which happened to be behind the cash register. Instead of a mirror over the sink there was a window, from which I could see Kate and Her Highness; Tim Hunt was alone in the next booth.

The bathroom door opened; the man had followed me in. This was the first time I'd seen his face. It was Otto, a guy from an iO class I took a couple of years ago.

Otto? What are you doing?

His voice was gentle. "I'm going to mug you."

Otto. I know you.

He looked pleasant. "Yes."

You were in my Level 2 class.

Not threatening, not sarcastic, not even mischeivous. Just pleasant. "Yes."

You can't mug me.

"I'm going to take your money."

I'm not even a stranger. We took a class together. I think we're Facebook friends.

"I'm mugging you now." I tried to yell for help, but my voice wouldn't project. Even though Tim could clearly see me through the mirror/window, he acted like he was watching a scene instead of a crime. Maybe that's because I couldn't stop laughing at how silly it would be of Otto to mug me.

But I knew he was serious, that he would actually hurt me and steal from me. Even so, I couldn't stop laughing, so Tim thought everything was fine. After I wouldn't break eye contact with him, though, he came into the restroom, too. He was pretending to be a monkey. This scared Otto away.

I couldn't make Tim understand that I really needed help. Perhaps laughing might have detracted from any sense of urgency I might otherwise have conveyed. Of course I was laughing; it was funny. Why would Otto, why would anyone, mug someone he already knew, someone with whom he was on a how-have-you-been-I'm-fine-thanks terms? That doesn't mean I wanted to be mugged, though.

That is why you should carry pepper spray everywhere. Even around your friends, even in your dreams.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dreaming through the Noise

It's been three months since I posted. Since then, my time has been taken up by:

- Getting flooded. I was homeless for a very short period in August, a time that culminated in a tornado, pepper spray, and getting lost in the parking lot of Nordstrom's.
- Finding the rhythm of school.
- Living in a very dramatic house that is mostly full of theater girls.
- Memorizing a lot of Shakespeare.
- Directing Faux Posse and Post Script Ambiguity for wheatonIMPROV.
- Cowering at the prospect of job and/or graduate school applications.

Amidst the insanity, why the revival of the blog? Currently, I am confined, restless, to a couch. My voice is completely gone, as gone as the sun, the maple leaves, free time. I hope my voice returns sooner than any of those things are liable to here to Wheaton College.

It has made me seasick to try and read for school. That might have less to do with the head cold and more to do with that the book of the moment is Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner. Reading Miss Rosa's memories feels like watching a scene filmed without a tripod, Blair Witch style. I suspect anyone trying to decipher the Sutpen family tree would be a little disoriented, even without the cold medicine.

So instead of reading Faulkner, writing an annotated bibliography, drafting a prompt book, rehearsing As You Like It, or working on my grad school application, I am drinking juice through a straw, dozing through Vienna Teng albums, binging on Pushing Daisies -- I am coveting all of Chuck's clothes, though I'm not sure they'd be as fun in a shades-of-gray Chicago winter; they might only work in a world of supersaturated color -- and fighting off the gathering panic about how behind I'm going to be when I go back to class.


And she dreams through the noise, her weight against me
Face pressed into the corduroy grooves
Maybe it means nothing, but I'm afraid to move.