I have been forcibly “de-funkified”. I really should thank Carol for doing it with her nasty comments (and even nastier private emails), but I’m not quite ready to do that, because, truthfully, I don’t think I’m quite ready to be “de-funkified” at all.
But she’s right. Wallowing in it, publicly or privately, only makes things worse.
I still don’t have A Dream. So, I’m going to force one. And I’m going to be purposefully vague about it (sorry), because it’s an old dream, and only a couple of people know about it.
One of those people is the one that killed it. Granted, I let it be killed. I let it be killed because Way Back When, I didn’t have any guts. I don’t have any guts, now, either, but I intend to grow some.
Anyway…! On with it.
Way Back When, when the world was still new (1982, I think it was), I saved up $250 to help make my dream come true. A friend of mine, The Dream-Killer, boosted me along. I worked in a restaurant as a dishwasher for really crappy pay back then, and it was only part-time, since I was in school. Still, when I got that paycheck every week, all I wanted to do was buy jeans and party. The Dream-Killer would remind me about saving for my dream, and I would gratefully set aside some cash, and then steal beer money from my parents. Sometimes, I just cut out the middle step and stole beer instead. Even so, it took a long time to save up $250, let me tell you, but I did it.
I lived in a teeny-tiny town 50-odd miles East of here. I had to come up here to the Sault to plunk down my money and make Step One happen. The Dream-Killer came with me for support. We skipped school and hitch-hiked, of course. I wasn’t about to spend Dream Money on bus fare, was I? I wasn’t stupid.
Hitchhiking 50-odd miles sometimes takes hours. By the time we got here, The Dream-Killer had almost convinced me that The Dream was too big for me…
“You’re too young. No one’s going to take you seriously.”
“$250 really isn’t enough to do this with.”
“That guy is just looking for money. It’s going to turn out like shit.”
Almost convinced me. Almost.
And then, killing time until Step One would be underway, we wandered through the mall… and saw…
It looked a lot like this…
“Look at that chair! Don’t you love that chair?”
(It really was a cool chair. Yes, I loved that chair…)
“That chair would look sooooo gnarly in your room!”
(It really would…)
“It’s only $200! You should buy the chair!”
(I really wanted to buy the chair. But The Dream…!)
“You know… I don’t know how to tell you this… but… your stuff’s really not…. that… good.”
I bought the chair.
My father worked up here at the time, piloting one of the Lock Tour boats, and reluctantly agreed to truck it home for me. Wicker chair… Open truck bed… My chair blew out of the back of the truck at about Echo Bay.
We got turned around to go recover it just in time to see another truck wing by us with my chair in the back! Pissed my dad right off.
He took off after this guy at breakneck speed, berating me the whole time for being so stupid as to spend $200 on a chair for Chrissakes, and now he had to chase it down the damned highway, and so help him God, if he got pinched for speeding, I was paying the God-damned fine.
He caught up to the guy and pulled up beside him. Waved.
The guy waved back.
My dad yelled at him to stop, God-damn it.
The guy wouldn’t stop.
My dad darn near ran him off the road before he gave up and pulled over, telling us he was “trying to catch up with us”… ?! The chair survived with nary a scratch or break, surprisingly, and the story is incredibly funny now, but only because I survived. I was certain through the whole “chase” that my dad was going to roll the truck and kill us.
We pulled into Thessalon an hour or so later; my dad with a snarl on, and me with a crushed Dream, an un-crushed chair, and $50 burning a hole in my pocket. I’m pretty sure I spent the $50 on beer. And probably grass, too.
Every time we had company over after that, my dad would tell The Chair Story, bring people into my room to show them The Chair, and beam as if me spending $200 on a chair fer Chrissakes was the most brilliant thing I could have done. Maybe a highspeed chase down Highway 17 East was one of his dreams, I don’t know…
A year and a half later, my first apartment went up in flames. Wicker burns really fast.
I’ve always regretted buying that chair and forfeiting what I thought at the time was a pretty good chance at a really big dream. I’m not really sure if my heart is in this yet, but I’m going to give it another go.
Step One is now actually Step Three – as the world has changed a little since it was new. I have changed a lot since the world was new, but I’ve already begun Step One. I’ve talked to some people, and got some advice. Step Two is coming in short order.
It’s going to cost a lot more than $250.
I know it’s a bit of a cheat to not actually detail this further, but I haven’t exactly grown those guts yet. And I hope some of you will wish me well anyway. Comments are welcome. No Dream-Killers will be taken seriously. I hope.
Random Song for the Day: “9 Crimes” – Damien Rice