Tuesday, December 28, 2021

I was in a music store and impulsively bought a guitar, an Epiphone Les Paul. The cashier was Will Ferrell. “Does it come with a case?” I asked. Indeed it did. Will produced a soft gig bag from behind the counter. I oohed and ahed like it was something beautiful, amazing. The total was $177 and something cents. I handed him $180. He fumbled around the drawer, looking for change. He didn’t seem to have the correct denominations of bills and coins. “Am I overpaying for this guitar?” I asked, thinking it was a fabulous joke. “I am not going to overpay for this guitar!” On my way home with it I wondered what I was going to tell S. What the hell did I need another guitar for anyway? I didn’t imagine choosing to play it over my regular one.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

I was at work, in what looked like a cafeteria, taking a break, maybe at the end of the day. I was reading a Don Delillo book and two colleagues sat nearby. One mentioned how much he liked Delillo. “It’s not for simpletons,” he remarked.

“I think if he heard you say that,” I said, “he might accuse you of—”


“Condescension. Being condescending.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I was on a trip to a casino with coworkers and friends and some people I don’t know. The theme of the casino was the albatross. We looked for a place to eat. As usual there were dozens of restaurants in far-flung corners of the place, which sprawled over a vast area and included a main building and multiple wings and annexes. It was hard to keep the group together as we moved through these spaces. I located two options after searching what was best on my phone, Mexican and Asian. As we progressed, I found myself with different subgroups of people. We’d have a quick chat. I wondered when someone would sit down at a table to gamble but no one ever did.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Our electrician was also a bookie for NFL games. He carried around big cards with each game and its point spread written on them. He pointed out my Eagles hat and asked how they were doing, as though he didn’t know. So-so, I said. Still have a decent shot at the wildcard. They need to beat Washington tomorrow. And the Cowboys and the Giants. He charged $460 for whatever he had done. My pockets were full of crumpled-up foreign money, euros and Caribbean dollars and shit. I wondered whether I’d have to go to the ATM.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

J.D. was opening a restaurant. The first day didn’t go great. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood but I told him that shouldn’t matter. Plenty of great restaurants are in shitty neighborhoods. What he needed was a lighting design consultant. “Spend ten thousand dollars on one,” I suggested. That sum seemed about right. High but worth it considering. “You need warm, low lights,” I said. “It needs to be cozy.” I hadn’t seen the dining area but I supposed it was marred by high, bright, inhospitable light. Then I went through a door and looked around it. In fact the lights were pretty nice. But there was something off about the place. The decor didn’t hang together right somehow. I told him he needed to spend twenty thousand dollars on an interior design consultant. His eyes widened at the price. Now I felt like I might be exaggerating. But I said tens of thousands of dollars is worth it if it means the survival of his restaurant.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Desolate dream about falling behind in college. I resolved to work harder, to attend all my classes, including that one I hadn’t been to in months. It all seemed extremely important and also impossible. B.S. had given me his embroidered Grateful Dead jean jacket and I wore it even as we’d had a falling out.

Friday, December 03, 2021

I was on a plane and I thought of the Twilight Zone episode where William Shatner sees a monster on the wing. Then it started to happen, except I was watching it like it was a movie, a longer, scarier remake starring a trendy young actor. He was on the phone in his seat trying to get work done while the beast was doing its thing outside.

I was contemplating a job with a realm of new responsibilities, mostly financial—signing off on this or that. There would be opportunities for corruption. Would I stay on the straight and narrow? I thought yes.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

I had arrived home from work just as my older sister was visiting. I was running around doing chores, fixing things, feeling guilty that I hadn’t greeted her yet. A senior account person from work showed up. He’d been out because of the religious holidays, he said, and now he was catching up on some things. He didn’t like the name that had been chosen for a drug: Zoyotoga Garajagar. I said I knew what he meant, though I thought it sounded all right. I said it’s too bad we don’t have any say in that, other people do, people get paid a lot of money for that. Then his wife, another senior account person, showed up to complain about something gone wrong on another job.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

I felt compelled to buy a bicycle. I searched for the best, lightest one. The top result was a foldaway model with three wheels.

I was standing in line somewhere with P.C. and someone else. He said, “We’re getting in!” It was the line to be in the studio audience for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. We settled in our seats. There was a lengthy preamble of warmup acts, comedy but also music. P.C. became distraught when his wife—his wife’s sister in real life—texted to tell him their unborn baby was of indeterminate sex.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

I was having a hard time getting home on the subway. Going the wrong way, missing trains, in the wrong station. I got on at one point and I sat with people from my high school reunion. I said there was a game we used to play called Cake and Ice Cream, or maybe Fun and Ice Cream. The thing about the game was that it had no rules, no point, and in fact did not exist. In the dream, this seemed very clever and profound. They didn’t remember it.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Vexing dreams about some intractable problem with a clumsy workaround. Then I was playing the bass in a big room with lots of people. Getting ready to record or perform or who really knows. I sat at a table with some people, weeping as I described what the song “Don’t Worry About the Government” means to me. “It’s so…optimistic,” I said. Then I was outside with people, sitting at a round table, and it began to rain. The pockets of my shorts were heavy with spare change, keys, other things.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

I was in a bar with two pool tables, a normal-size one and a miniature one, the kind you put on a table.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Jackie and I were driving in winter, through an unfamiliar place with steep hills. We tried different side roads, parked, got out and climbed through the ice and snow. We found a great view of the surrounding valley and town but I was worried she’d slide down the ice. We had to be careful.

M.B. called me to say that he was hurt by something I’d said. I tried desperately to call him back and make it right.

I was in some strange village with friends, people from my past and present, celebrating New Years. I asked someone if they were going to party tonight and he said he wasn’t sure, because of what was going on. He indicated some development in the news. I realized it was riots in England due to Covid restrictions.

Monday, May 10, 2021

E.B. was living in some town upstate, possibly to go to college. I asked him if it got cold up here, colder than the city, and answered my own question, of course it does, but he said not really that much.

It was my job to mop a large indoor space the band had occupied for a few days before leaving and returning it to its owners.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

I was anticipating a trip abroad, Europe somewhere. Before leaving I wanted to entrust my notebook of important ideas to a friend.

“Here you go,” I told him somberly.

We leafed through it together. I wanted to make sure he understood my notes, my lists, my half-assed sketches for short stories or plays.

“And here’s my gun,” I said as I got up to leave, pulling it from the back of my waistband. He accepted it without concern or hesitation, as though I’d handed him a set of keys. “Don’t use it!” I warned as I walked away.

He called out to me and asked if I could bring him back two chocolate eclairs. I said yes, although I thought this was kind of a pain in the ass. Carrying them gingerly in their little box through the airport, onto the plane. Another friend who sat nearby asked me to bring him back a large coffee-table book on the subject of Italian theatre.

Friday, February 05, 2021

The Lakers were winning by 10 or so points in the last minutes of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Some kind of technical foul was called that resulted in every Laker player getting a free throw, including the bench. After a few had shot and scored, with the championship in hand, P. C. bounded onto the court to give a rousing speech about how happy he was that his beloved team would win. When he was done there were a few moments of silence, which I ended by initiating a round of applause.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

I was in an Amsterdam-like hash bar run by Seth Rogen. He served a cloudy little pot-infused drink and I drank it in one shot. Immediately I experienced a mellow, spacey high. Later there was some talk that the liquid might have been bong water, but everything seemed OK.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The town was covered in florid graffiti. Some of it was abstract. Some was numbers and symbols from a math problem or proof. We ventured out in groups to create video projects.

Monday, January 11, 2021

I was in some lair in the middle of a casino entertainment complex, indoor-outdoor, possibly situated on an island. I peered across the way at the concert hall and its old-fashioned marquee ringed with light bulbs. It read “LUCIANO PAVAROTTI.” I thought, the fat man must be around here somewhere. Doing what he does when he’s not on stage.

It was a bleak dream of lost opportunities and wasted time.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Dreadful dreams. I was watching a car race, and I was in it too. It was in the past, part of some underground, semi-legal racing culture, like maybe what stock car racing used to be. Different kinds of cars raced pell-mell; open-wheel, GT. A maniacal driver chased down another and crashed into him from behind, somehow pinning the driver’s body against the rear bumper. Blood and gore emerged and covered the tail of the car, which kept racing in a zigzag. There was real malice in what the attacking driver did, a bloodlust. It seemed related to current politics.