Lately I’ve been experiencing a rash of bad dreams, the character of which may be displayed on a continuum with “Unsettling” on one end and “Horrific” on the other. In last night’s dream, for instance, I caught a glimpse of a guy standing atop a five-story building. He was a white male, slender, with shoulder-length dark hair, and he was striding toward the edge. I recognized that he was about to jump, and instead of doing the decent thing—yelling “No, it’s not worth it!” or somesuch—I worried that five stories might not do the trick (you wanna kill yourself, you need to do it from seven stories or higher, otherwise you risk turning into a vegetable), and then I averted my eyes. A few minutes later, when medical personnel started rushing toward the scene, I did my best to look surprised.
I’m not sure exactly what this says about me, but I’m pretty sure it’s unpleasant, whatever it is.
The dreams have been bad enough the past few nights that they’ve woken me. Each time it’s something different and something very disturbing—people being butchered, murderers stalking me, people dying, hospitals turning away the desperately ill. All told I’m glad I’m forgetting the details.
(courtesy of www.xkcd.com, the funniest web comic going)
Another popular dream topic lately has been my grandfather, who shows up now and again to admonish me that this might be the last time I see him alive. Seeing as he died last year, he is rather tardy in delivering this message. It is in keeping with his character, however: I think the verb “admonish” describes the bulk of his communications toward me during his life and, apparently, in his afterlife.
During my waking hours, I am happy to report, I have lately witnessed no suicides, no murders, and no ghosts. I have however witnessed some irritating behaviors, and so, with the aim of educating and improving the world, I present a partial list of things that bug me:
- People who throw recyclables in the trash even though the recyling bin is two feet away
- People who doubt the reality of global warming. I know it snowed a lot this past year, but for decades the trend has been toward increased temperatures. The ice caps are melting. Global warming is real.
- People who are unsure whether humankind is responsible for global warming, and who therefore use this doubt as an excuse for their own irresponsible behavior. Even if the world would be slowly roasting itself without humanity’s actions (which, by the way, is not bloody likely), we are all stewards of the environment and we ought to treat it with a little decency, i.e., you need to start recycling. (Please see the first entry on this list.)
- People who let their underage daughters dress like tramps. Though no woman is ever responsible for being raped, every woman is responsible for understanding that dressing provocatively carries a risk. Young girls are not responsible for understanding this; their parents are. Every time I see a young girl dressed in a slut outfit, I want to throttle her parents for exposing their daughter to that risk. She can decide for herself how she wants to dress when she is of age, but until then, it is her parents’ duty to minimize the chance that she will become the victim of sexual violence.
- Corn meal. Someone who is new learning her way around the kitchen might inadvertently purchase this rather than corn starch, as she had intended, and then she would be stuck with an item that is not at all easy to use as compared to, say, Bisquick, a product that involves two actions: 1. Adding milk and 2. Stirring. Corn meal, in contrast, requires actions such as “frying” and “battering,” none of which are in the working vocabulary of a kitchen novice.
- Grandfathers who nag you even after they’ve died.
- People with loud voices who live in my apartment complex. To the dude who lives in the next building: please stop conducting your lengthy cellphone conversations outside. I can hear every word. To the woman with the pedantic, annoying voice who lives downstairs somewhere: please stop loitering outside on the off chance that you will encounter my ex-boyfriend, because every time you loiter, you feel compelled to strike up a chat with every passerby, and these chats are tedious beyond belief. Also, it is painfully apparent to everyone that you are loitering expressly for the purpose of encountering my ex. This sort of behavior is appropriate only if you are in junior high. You are in your forties.
- People who complain about being way far down on the hold list for James Patterson. If you want the book right away, you can buy it. If you want to take advantage of the free service offered by the library, you can wait your turn. That’s what sharing means. I might take this opportunity to mention that there are thousands and thousands of other books in the library, more books than you could read in a lifetime, practically all of which are better than that James Patterson book which, by the way, he didn’t actually write.
There. I hope the world is better now. Observant readers will also appreciate that this works as a birthday anti-wish list: as you finish up your shopping for the presents for my birthday in a few weeks, you can steer clear of items such as James Petterson books, corn meal, nagging dead people, and “Sex goddess” t-shirts for ten-year-olds.