Monday, March 28

[It gets hard to explain]
I spent my off days in Saltillo with the family, munching on birthday cake and charred hamburgers. Today I hid eggs for Casey and Patrick. That's always fun. Man, I used to want to hunt eggs all year. I remember making my parents get the eggs and baskets out of the attic in January or something, and then hiding them in the house over and over again until all the hiding spots were exhausted.

I gave Patrick a fishing rod for his birthday and he seems to really like it. He went outside just to cast it a few times, and he buried the bobber (I think that's what it's called) in the sandbox to see how much pressure the pole could take. It held up really well.

My parents are thinking about selling the house and moving. My dad's relationship with his mom keeps deteriorating and my mom really feels like if they move, he will be better. My grandmother and my dad both are so much alike and so damned stubborn and unwilling to yield to the other that they could feud for years and never resolve anything. What makes it so frustrating is that she's no spring chicken anymore and won't be around forever, and she insists on maintaining a relationship that my dad simply won't accept because in his view (and in most people's), it's immoral (her "boyfriend" is married and refuses to pursue a divorce even though he says he's in love with my grandmother; it's quite the sticky situation).

I try to mediate between the two of them, but it's a constant exercise in sympathetic nodding and not much else, because how do you convince these two identical knuckleheads to just chill out and get along while they're both still alive?

Anyway, the trip home was still nice, despite all the drama. I gave my mom a DVD set of Red Skelton episodes for her birthday, so we sat and watched hours of late '60s slapstick, and she really loved it. She used to watch that show as a kid, so she has an emotional attachment. I have to admit, I laughed at a few of the gags, especially "Freddie the Freeloader," a lovable bum that's in some ways a precursor to Dave Chappelle's crackhead character. Mid-century comedy is a different beast from today's comedy. It's so innocent yet there's always an edge of raciness to it. I mean, every other skit had a woman in a bikini in it, and a good chunk (no pun intended) of the laughs came at the expense of fat women. I even think I caught a brief KKK reference, but I couldn't tell if it was pro- or anti-. And there was a silly little monologue about the new "women lib" movement, where Skelton showcased his complete cluelessness by making a joke that the women's movement is waiting for a man to lead it. Yuk! Innocent, but annoying at the same time.

And then we tried to watch Chappelle's show, but with my 8-year-old nephew in the room, the satire and sarcasm just didn't translate. I mean, I tried in vain to explain the "Niggar family" skit to him, but I could see that he just didn't grasp why I was guffawing at a word I usually am appalled to hear. So I had to change the chanel. Irony is for grown-ups, you see.

+++
I had what I think was my first lucid dream last night. I was dreaming about my grandmother and dad's situation, and using a TV analogy (sadly) to explain to my dad why my grandmother would never see it his way. "It's like you're a fan of this TV show, and you're watching it, and suddenly the directors decide to take it somewhere you don't necessarily agree with. You can write letters to them and complain about what they're doing, but ultimately they have complete creative control." Of course, the analogy really breaks down in the waking world (if I really tried to explain it like that to him, he might laugh me out of the house), but at the time it made a lot of sense. I remember that about the time I said "creative control," I realized I was dreaming, because I was like, "Whoa, I was just falling asleep a minute ago!" I didn't panic right away, but I felt almost embarrassed or like I was in danger and needed to return to the waking world. For a fleeting moment, I wanted to just go with it and see where the dream took me, but once I realized I was dreaming, I felt compelled to regain control, and the only way I knew how to do that was to wake up. So I forced myself. It felt like I was coming up from deep water, out of darkness. It always feels like that when I wake myself up. Normally, though, I'm not fully in a dream when it happens; I'm usually lingering right on the brink of dreaming. But when I woke up, I felt incredibly vulnerable, my heart was pounding, and I was a little afraid to go back to sleep. But now I wonder if I could do it again and train myself to stay in a lucid dream. They say you can, and that you can do all kinds of amazing stuff.

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Happy belated birthday, Joseppi. Hope your pores were overflowing with liquor and your hangover wasn't too severe.

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