To be clear, I have never done this before. I woke from a dream that was so utterly bizarre, I had to write it down immediately.
Here now is my attempt to capture the crazy. (Note: The pace of the dream was harried, so to get the full effect, it’s best that you read this as quickly as possible.)
I’m in some airport with my dad, Jer. Not the current, 86-year-old Jer. We’re talking the younger, on-the-go businessman version of my Jer. We’ve just landed from somewhere. Who knows where. I’m catching another flight. A tight connection. Flying international. Again, who knows where. My heart? Racing. Running late.
My dad has all the info. For some reason, he’s booked my flight. He’d sent me the itinerary and my ticket, but I didn’t get it. He smiles, unconcerned, and tries sending them again. No dice. (My father and I never worked together. Nor have I ever known him to stay so calm. Ever.)
We hurry with our carry-ons. He’s telling me he’ll pay for my flight. I say, “You don’t have to do that.” He replies, “Hon, I’m paying for the flight.” I think, Good. I hoped he would. (Seems that in my dreams, I’m a cheap person. Sad.)
All of a sudden, Jer is gone. I’m dashing to a bus that’s taking me to another airport. On the bus, I’m sitting next to Valerie Bertinelli. Yes, that Valerie Bertinelli. From One Day at a Time and Hot in Cleveland.
Valerie points out that our bus makes its first stop at a dentist office. We have to wait for whoever’s getting off there to have their dental appointment. “Maybe 20 minutes.” (I once had my teeth cleaned in about 20 minutes. Still, that timing seems optimistic.)
As promised, the bus stops at a depot by the dentist’s office. I hope no gets off for an appointment, but several people do. Crap. The woman at the reception window says it could easily be a half hour. We don’t have the extra ten minutes to burn. So, my new best friend, Valerie suggests we catch a cab. She and I exit the depot and--
Surprise! We’re in Atlantic City.
After quickly looking around the deserted streets, we get decision paralysis. For some reason, we go back to the depot. And I still don’t have my itinerary from Jer. No ticket. Nothing.
The woman at the depot asks why we’re back. Here’s where things get messy. I’m upset that we’re running out of time. Valerie feels I’m blaming her. She says that if I didn’t want her help, then just forget it. People are always getting upset when she tries to help them and she’s sick of it.
Now I shift into diplomat mode. I try to calm myself. As politely as possible, I explain to Valerie that I want and appreciate her help. But having her point out what I’m doing wrong (and I admit that I was wrong) is only further frustrating the situation. Perhaps if she waits until later to point out my obvious failings.
Somehow, I know that this is a thing for her. Something she’s prone to doing. How I know that is anyone’s guess. We each take a quick, cleansing breath. She sucks it up like a pro. Goes back to her seat on the bus and takes over where Jer left off. Valerie is now trying to book a seat for me on my flight to…wherever?
Suddenly, three swinging musicians wearing black suits start playing music in front of the depot, which is now a café. The song is, “A Lot Of Livin’ To Do” from Bye Bye Birdie. (As a kid, I was a huge fan of Bye Bye Birdie. I thought Ann Margret was the shizzle. I was right.)
In a rush, Valerie runs up. She’s booked tickets. We have to hurry. I guess now we’re traveling together. She grabs my hand. We’re running out of the depot for a cab. But I stop and run back to the musicians. I have to lean in and sing the chorus, “I got a lot of livin’ to do” with them. I just have to. It’s imperative.
Then I run back to my new BFF Valerie, who’s already in a cab. I race around to the other side, open the door, and—Wake up.
No idea what it all means. If you have any thoughts, please share.
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.