March 17th, 2003


Terror in bed...

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well, isn't this nice"
And Isn't this ironic ... don't you think?

--- Ironic, Alanis Morissette

I'm not sure exactly what was going on in my head last night and maybe I don't even want to know, but I would really appreciate it if my subconscious would keep its little worries to itself. I do not need to wake up in the dark with a whimper in my throat and spend the next fifteen minutes curled up under the covers, panting, with my heart hammering away in my chest and feeling like my life just flashed before my eyes because of a dream.

That's what I have Ra for.

As near as I can figure it I started having a dream sometime around 4:00 AM this morning. With all the talk of possible travel that's been flying about for the last week I guess my unconscious picked up on it and used to for dream fodder. I don't recall all the specifics, but I do remember the key things... I was part of a large group of people flying, something on the order of six to eight people. We all knew one another, although I'm not sure entirely how -- I think we may have been coworkers. We'd known we were going to a particular destination but had forgotten to order our tickets ahead of time, so as we stood in line at the ticket counter with our bags we were trying to convince the counter agent to give us a sort of "group discount." I don't remember if it worked or not, but eventually a sky cap took all of our luggage, tagged it up and sent it on its way. I remember the airline very well, it was American Airlines, a company I've only flown with once (for my trip to Toronto last December).

The next part that I remember is being on the plane. We were flying over some major city or another. I had the window seat and was looking out over it as we flew over, commenting on it to the person in the seat immediately adjacent to mine. I believe at this point the dream had changed into a nightmare, I just didn't know it yet. We were flying along, slowly banking for a turn, letting me get a pretty good view of the cityscape below, even though it was easily many thousands of feet under me. I was still talking to the person next to me, who I believe was my coworker Bob. Bob is accompanying me on a work-related trip to Southern California sometime in May, and has been terrified to fly since even before September 11, 2001. Maybe I got a whiff of his fear and that's how I ended up with this dream, I don't know, but it turned pretty dark right then. As I was commenting on the city below the plane banked sharply, so that the wings we almost entirely vertical. Shouts of surprise were all around me in the cabin, and then those shouts turned to terrified screams as the nose of the plane plunged downward. The plane seemed to right itself somewhat, but that didn't help the feeling of falling helplessly out of control. I liken it to the sensation you get in the pit of your stomach when you go over the top of a roller coaster and gravity just seems to drop away from you as you plummet towards the bottom. After the plane straightened out somewhat we were still aimed towards the ground, and that's when the sound of the engines disappeared. Utterly gone, you couldn't hear them at all -- they'd stopped, or "flamed out", or whatever term you use for a jet engine that's essentially stalled. And of course we were still moving forward, but without the thrust it quickly became a much more rapid descent straight down. We were spiraling in towards the city, and I remember very clearly saying "Oh Jesus. I'm sorry Bob, it looks like you were right."

That's when I woke up gasping. I took a little while to calm myself, and then rolled over to look at the alarm clock. It read 4:47, as near as I could tell without my glasses on. For another fifteen to twenty minutes I couldn't get back to sleep, my heart was thudding like a lead balloon in my chest and I couldn't get my breathing back to normal. I think what unnerves me the most is that while yes, I was a little afraid to die in that dream... it wasn't my biggest concern. Sure, I didn't want to end things like that, but I recognize that when I get on a plane I'm giving up any iota of control over my life that I might have had up until that point. It used to bother me, but these days I'm pretty accepting of it. I just pass a lot of my time sleeping, because then I'm not aware enough to worry about every little detail that's surrounding me, and I don't care if the kid in the row ahead of me is bawling his head off and screaming that he wants a cookie. The fact that most flights these days have headphones readily available makes achieving sleep an even easier thing... I just plug in, find the ground control communications station (if I'm lucky enough to have a pilot who's piping that in) or the classical music station and then tuck in under a blanket for a snooze.

No, the overwhelming emotion I felt was sadness. I was filled with regret for things hadn't gone better, that I hadn't done more with my life, for opportunities I wouldn't get to take. I felt sorry that I was going to leave people behind. So I was sad. Scared some, yes, but mostly sad.

What does that say about me, I wonder?

Got one thing accomplished today...

I got ahold of a ruler from one of my coworkers and measured up my hands while I had a customer service representative from IMAK on the phone with me. She was very polite and friendly, although I wasn't sure she understood the question I was asking about sizing. I don't feel too bad, though, since she told me that the office receives a dozen of calls a week with questions about sizing. What did leave me with a good feeling about my purchase is that she assured me that if for any reason I wasn't happy with the size I had, or with the product in general, I could return it for an exchange or a refund. That's reassuring to hear and left me feeling a lot less worried about this purchase.

The order wasn't cheap, but then I didn't order just the Smart Gloves to wear while typing at home and at work. I also ordered two Adjustable Pil-O-Splints to wear while I'm asleep. My hope is that if I treat my hands nicely at night as well as during the day I might start to feel less like I need to take a chainsaw to them when I get up each morning.

So I've followed through on the promise I've made, and in doing so I've taken one chore down from the list of things I need to accomplish. That leaves four more to go for today! I still need to:
  • Get a haircut
  • Take clothes to the dry cleaners for a clean, press and starch
  • Vacuum the floor in my bedroom
  • Do at least one load of laundry so I have dress socks.

    That last one baffles me. I've bought hundreds of dress socks over the last two years or so. Where do all these damn things keep going? Are some gnomes sneaking into my chest of drawers each night and snatching these things, or what?
    • Current Music
      Keyboard clicky office noises

    Recap of Monday's events...

    Today was a relatively uninteresting day, and in a way I'm sort of thankful for it. My drive in was quiet and filled with a lot of thoughts about the nightmare I'd had earlier in the morning. The whole day had a sort of surreal vibe as it all around the highways there was a soft white mist clinging to the ditches and valleys that the freeway progresses through. The traffic was lighter than I was really expecting, especially for a Monday. Perhaps everyone was waiting to drive in to Chicago so they could celebrate St. Patrick's Day... or maybe they've just finally found alternate routes in to work to avoid the construction I have to slog through day in and day out during my drive. I certainly won't complain if that's the case, because I'm more than happy to see the roads with a little more space on them in the morning. I hate having some rich yuppy in his $65,000 luxury car riding the back of my pickup as if that's somehow going to make me go faster when there's absolutely no space in front of me as it is.

    Work was slow and annoying. Somebody decided that Krispy Kreme donuts were the "perfect way to celebrate St. Patty's Day." Hunh?!? These weren't green-glazed or anything... they were normal Krispy Kreme donuts. I'm sorry, while Krispy Kremes can be good they are nowhere near good enough for me to fall down and worship them the way some people seem to. I've had better donuts at the local bakery, to be honest. The way I see it Krispy Kreme is just another Dunkin Donuts, but they let you eat their donuts fresh from the fry vats in the mornings if you get there early enough. Big deal.

    I handled one or two tickets, chewed on Hewlett Packard for pulling a bait-and-switch on me with regards to the pricing on our support agreement, and puttered a little with getting some OpenView work done so I could at least claim a little productivity during the day. For lunch I had some of Kestral's very tasty blackened chicken, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and a few pieces of green pepper. Man, did that hit the spot!

    After lunch I went outside to hang out with Charles, one of my coworkers. I just wanted to bask in the gorgeous weather we've been having. The breeze was so faint you could hardly feel it. The first day of spring? Heck no, this felt like a day in mid-April, except with less green foliage and no rain. I can take another few weeks of this without complaint.

    The rest of the day was passed chatting online (I'm bad), working a little more on OpenView, handling another problem or two in the help desk queue and just occupying space in front of my desk. I mentioned earlier that I got my ordered placed with IMAK, so now I just have to hope they ship it soon... my wrists could really stand the benefit I'm told I'll see from using them consistently.

    I was out the door promptly at 4:00 PM, as I have been for the last few weeks. It's nice that I have coworkers to pick up some of the load I used to carry -- it means I can get out of the office on time. Driving home from work was equally surprising in that again the traffic wasn't all that thick, and I was back at sometime around 4:38, meaning I did a pretty decent clip up the highway once I got past the work zone.

    I cuddled with Ra for a few minutes after I came into the apartment, reassuring him that I do in fact love him and missed him too. He's back to his old self in terms of routine with people coming home... when he hears the door open he's right there, and if it's somebody he likes he just sort of spontaneously falls over on his side -- his way of begging you to pet him. I stayed in the apartment until 6:40 PM or so, when I left with slacks, shirts and my heavy black jacket. I made my way to the dry cleaner to have the clothing attended to, and then stopped over at the hair cuttery that's right across the street from the apartment complex. $15 ($12 plus my tip to the stylist) and 20-some minutes later I have my hair looking respectable again. So I can cross those two items off my to-do list and feel a little better about it.

    I spent an hour or two fighting with my old Samsung digital camera. I've got it speaking to XP now, and I've pulled some pictures out of the Compact Flash card and into Photoshop for manipulation and repair. Some of the pictures don't look too bad, and the rest of them are simply horrible. I think that the problem is the auto focus mechanism on the camera -- it reacts poorly to different light conditions and just isn't that great overall. It's also only a 2.1 Megapixel camera, so that probably contributes in some small way to the resulting image quality.

    I changed my Livejournal's format tonight. It was due for a change. Eventually I'll learn how to write a style, and then I can combine some of the traits of my favorite layout formats and make it into my own. For now I'm content with the Generator style.

    The Lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
    • Current Music
      11 Basement Jaxx - Bingo Bango