Small Threads of Reality

My bed of reality is a hammock made of spider silk. I would say that insomnia is something I have learned to live with, and a way I have. However there are times when it completely gets in the way and there is nothing I can do.

Sometimes I walk down the street and the cement becomes spongy beneath my feet, I feel like my shoes sink down and spring back lightly when I take a step. The air is thick and milky and hard to breath, so thick in fact I have to recall on my time in the womb to remember how. Sights become sounds and sounds become sights, the exhaust from the 48 bus drips off the branches of the newly planted trees giving them no hope of a healthy life, I can see the sounds of the bus as is drips down the bark like slow syrup over the edge of the bottle. If the cement weren’t so spongy I would try to do something about it.

But I can’t, because this is the point I wake up from in a dream I thought was reality. For some reason spongy cement and visual sounds do not always register as abnormal in a lucid state of dreaming, just like watching the skin melt off a person doesn’t register as all that serious in these non-reality existences.

If anything goes wrong…

….StanFoot will be my constant.

If you don’t recognize this modified quote then you probably never watched LOST.  If you did, then you know this was one of the best episodes of the series where a time-skipping Desmond can’t find his place in space-time and begins to die.  He needs an anchor, something to tell his brain what his location is in the universe.  He had to find a constant. A point in space-time that he could always find when he loses his bearings.

There are so few things you can truly rely on in this world anymore.  You never know if your favorite store will close, what small patch of woods will become a strip mall, which person will fade from your life….all uncertainties that leave a person’s brain skipping around looking for a firm grasp.

But in this world of uncertainties myself and small group of men have a constant, something that is as reliable as the rising sun and the incoming tide.  Every Friday after Thanksgiving at noon at Stanly School in Swampscott, Massachusetts this group of men meet to play a game of tackle football…..StanFoot.  Yes we are older (in our thirties), rounder, married, some are fathers, but we refuse to let it go, refuse to stop a 16 year tradition, we will not make it two-hand tag, we will not wear flags.  Sure the tackles are a little softer, sure some of us opt for out of bounds, but we go out there and play.

I probably only see some of these guys once a year on this day.  But I have no doubt that those core group of individuals will be there.  A constant in an inconsistent world this small football game is more than just a group of guys playing football, it is a point in space-time where there is a constant, where no matter how far you travel, how off course you go, you can navigate your way back to this point and find something wonderfully familiar and get your bearings.  Some people travel from California, some travel from around the corner, some have kids in tow, and a million things to do, but they are there, because there is an air of importance about keeping this tradition alive. I appreciate every one of these people who put aside a few hours of their lives to make sure this point in space-time never gets erased….

….to the loyal people of StanFoot, I leave you with the brilliant words of Desmond whenever he parted ways…… “See you in another life brother”……

*Unfortunately pictorial record begins in 2003 and all pictures were borrowed from Matt Drinon

Quantum Leap

I have something weird going on with my brain. Not sure what the cause but I haven’t been sleeping well and when I do fall asleep I go right into a lucid dream, and then wake up again.  Last night was one of the most confusing dream/awake states of my life.

Aqila went to bed and I just couldn’t sleep. So as I normally do I plugged a set of studio headphones into the TV so Aqila could be saved from the sounds of the horrendous programs I choose to entertain myself with in the wee hours of the morning. Usually consisting of bad reality shows and other brainless genres that would allow my brain to drift away from focus.

I don’t remember falling asleep but I will now describe the series of events in first person narrative exactly as I experienced them.

I am sitting on my couch watching The Office, all of a sudden I hear a voice crackle over the headphones as if I am receiving a signal I am not suppose to hear. In a staticky walkie talkie sound I hear…

“Transport to base over”:

“This is base go ahead”

“We need a location, we got nothing over here and he wakes up in 1 minute”.

“Transport, he isn’t showing up at all.”

“Well what are we supposed to do, he wakes in 30 seconds and we don’t know where to put him.”

“Transport stand by, working…”

Computer voice cuts in: 10, 9, 8,……3, 2, 1…

All of a sudden I wake up in my bedroom at home in Swampscott, not my current bedroom, but my bedroom when I was a kid, bunk beds, blue wall paper, pictures of animals all over the wall.  I can’t comprehend how I got here. I was adult me, I knew this because when I reached my hand up I was wearing my current watch on my hand. Even stranger was it read the correct time, 3:54am.

“Base, this is transport, this is all wrong, he is in the wrong place, we need to move him again, he knows its not right, we need to jump ASAP before he unravels… put him back down so we can jump him”

“Transport, we still have no destination coordinates…”

“Just put him back down…”

I lay back down looking at the bottom of my top bunk when I hear

“10…..3, 2, 1…”

I wake up on the bottom bunk, but this time I am in my dorm room at Appalachian State, I am confused, I am trying to get my bearings, why am I here? I reach my hand out and see my watch “3:55 am, wait, why am in this bed now?”

I close my eyes for a minute and suddenly I open them and I am in my bed in my dorm room at the University of Maryland, I immediately know something is wrong. “Why am I waking up here? How did I get here? Didn’t I fall asleep on my couch? Wait, was I back home? No, I was at Appalachian State? I could have sworn I was on my couch.”

I get up and walk out to the common area of my dorm and lay down on  the old dorm room style couch. I look at my watch 3:57am. “What the hell is going on?”

“Base, we need to find a fucking location ASAP he is unraveling, if we don’t jump him we could lose him.”

“Transport, I got nothing, how did you lose his location? always keep track of current coordinates….that’s Transport 101”

I can finally comprehend that these voices are talking about me….

“Who is this? Who is talking to me, where are you….”

All of a sudden I hear a lot of static, like an old dialup modem and I begin to hear the voices screaming back and forth, the sound is increasing in volume and the world around me blurs like I am traveling at light speed and suddenly in a split second I come to stop and I am in another bedroom I have lived in…..

Blurry world, freeze for a moment in my Arlington bedroom…..

Blurry world, freeze for a moment in my Brooklyn bedroom….

I begin to scream in agony as my brain feels like it is being stretched like a rubberband to its breaking point….

Blurry world…screaming….Norwood bedroom…

Blurry world….screaming….Girard bedroom…..

Blurry world…screaming…..crescendo of static, screams, I feel my rubberband brain about to snap when all of a sudden…..

“Knock Knock”
“Who’s there?”
“KGB…..” *SLAP*
“We will ask the questions!”

I am watching an episode of the office with my headphones on. “What the hell? Was I just dreaming all that? My brain feels so weak and foggy….”

I could barely form thoughts, I felt like I was trying to see the words I wanted to say through a thick fog.  “What time is it? 3:58am? What time did I fall asleep?


“Base, this is transport, location secured…..”

I ripped my headphones off my head and stared at the TV as I watched the soundless characters of The Office play out the dialogue I looked down at my headphones and went for a pad and pen I had on my coffee table……