My dreams too often are disturbing. They involve problems I didn’t have twenty or thirty years ago, but could have. They put me in situations impossible yet plausible. They make me doubt my own sanity. They keep me awake.
A few days ago in my slumber I was playing tennis with a high school friend, Charles. In high school neither of us played tennis. No one did in our redneck burg. But in this dream the kid with all the musical talent was down match point, receiving serve from the third chair trumpeter who fifteen years later could actually hit a pretty decent backhand. I proceeded to triple fault our contest into a third set, which might have happened near the end of my days in tennis. Steve Sachs Syndrome got me. Sachs was a second baseman who made a very good living for maybe ten years with the LA Dodgers, until one day he lost the ability to throw the ball to first base. I quit tennis around the time I began to too often have trouble finding the proper court with a serve.
Months ago I had a land development nightmare. I forgot to do something at City Hall, or miscounted buildable lots, or overlooked budgeting something big, and thus under-costed the project. I had to get up and read for a couple of hours. Old men are like that. Perhaps only those haunted by having to retire too early have these dreams; I don’t know. But tonight I knew I had to get out of bed at 2:00 a.m. and go for a walk, or at least sit outside.
It’s too quiet in rural campgrounds at that hour. I took a seat in the darkness and listened. I have some hearing loss, but mostly it’s an auditory confusion, a difficulty following one voice when a louder or nearer voice competes, be it television, radio, another speaker, or even an engine. Mild tinnitus can make me hear things that aren’t there. I soon noticed an owl hooting, maybe half a mile away. “Who-ha-ha-who?” Then off in another direction a big RV’s heat pump kicked on. Then a distant ‘clump’ you’d hear if somebody tripped over his dog in the dark on the way to the toilet. Traffic sounds from the Pontchartrain Causeway crept up. Long after it began to feel cold I thought I could detect a very soft scraping sound thousands of feet overhead.
That could only be the moon and stars against the clouds of a buttermilk sky, struggling like huge power forwards for rebounding position. Or was it a raccoon, scraping vainly to open a garbage can?