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March 8th, 2022

I Suppose This Has Something To Do With My Having Retired

I had a dream about my high school early this morning. It was very painful. Not to start with though…

In this dream I am a young adult. I’m bicycling around the old neighborhoods. I find myself in front of the main entrance of my high school, Woodward, across the service road where the school buses park. There is some sort of event going on…lots of people of all ages going inside, tables and banners and colorful flags out in front of the doors and the auditorium.

I have an urge to go inside and look around, but I feel as though I’m not allowed inside and everyone would know that. But I want to look around, and maybe take a few reference photos for A Coming Out Story. So I walk my bike across the street to a nearby bike rack.

I realize I don’t have a bicycle lock on me. But then I notice there is one, in a holder in the bike frame. It’s an odd type I’ve never seen or experienced before but in the dream it all makes sense. It’s just a small chrome plated block of metal that rests in a holder in the frame. There is a key lock at one end and I pull a key for it out of my pocket, and remove it from its holder. It fits into a slot in the front wheel yoke when the wheel is turned all the way to the left, and blocks the front wheel from turning. The theory seems to be that a thief can’t ride off with the bike if the front wheel is stuck to the hard left. Of course one could always just throw the bike in the back of a car or truck, but in this dream I don’t think about that. I’m in a hurry to get inside.

My dreams often geek out like this.

I figure if I just act like I belong there nobody will notice me. It’s behavior that has served me well as a photographer. I walk inside and see that people are gathering in the cafeteria. There are also a lot of people walking around in the hallway leading to the cafeteria. Just like outside, there are tables inside, colorful flags and banners. It looks like the tables are selling or giving away souvenirs and keepsakes for whatever event is happening today. There is no text on any of the banners, just splashes of color everywhere. Everyone is happy. Everyone is having a good time. Smiles and happy conversation all around.

Inside the cafeteria it looks like a catering company is providing the food, as the kitchen area is empty. There are tables of food and various juice and soft drinks. It’s all high quality stuff. I’ve done wedding photography where it was like this at the reception. The dress code today seems to be everyday casual, so it’s not a very formal event whatever it is. People are sitting at the tables or standing or milling around. Everyone is chatting amicably with someone near them. This is a happy crowd.

The hallway outside, I notice, is much Much bigger than I remembered. Wider and taller. It’s become a grand hallway, but still keeping that 60s modernist flavor. I will always love that architecture. I step out into it, and walk toward the classrooms. I want to see the art rooms again. Every hallway, every staircase, has been greatly enlarged, made grand, but here there are no people and all is quiet. As I go up the stairs I can see sunlight from outside shining in and creating huge spaces of beautiful light and shadow. I reach for my cellphone to take some photos, and realize I left it back in my car.

Yes, somehow, and dreams do this to me all the time, the bicycle has become a car. My little green Geo Prism specifically this time. I’ve no idea why that car specifically, but it might have some dream connection with the fact that it was my first new bought car when I started making good money as a contract software developer, and I could live on my own for the first time in my life, and not in anyone’s basement. The Prism (I named it Aya) is a touchstone, a marker at point where my life took a turn for the massively better. The life I have now is nothing like the life I was expecting to have. I run out to the car, see the cell phone on the passenger seat, grab it, and run back inside.

But now all those grand spaces around the classrooms are full of people wandering about. The event, whatever it is that’s happening here, has grown in size.

I begin snapping some shots of the grand spaces inside. Like downstairs the hallways have tables and colorful banners and flags and people either selling or giving out keepsakes. I don’t look closely at what they are, I am focused on getting my shots.

I wander into the art rooms. Inside instead of all the art tables and stools, there is a big merchandise counter with friendly looking youngsters selling or giving out I can’t say which, more keepsakes and souvenirs. There are people of all ages looking the stuff over, and also milling about enjoying themselves.

I take a few shots and mutter to myself, “Well I guess that’s enough.”

An older man nearby gives me an odd look (I’m still a young adult in this dream). I suppose without context what I just said is strange, so I explain. “I just wanted to get some reference photos for a cartoon I’m working on…”

…and then I realize.

“…because this place doesn’t exist anymore. They tore it down.”

Now the man is looking at me like I’m crazy. But a younger man standing next to me speaks up.

“He’s right. They tore this place down. It’s not here anymore.”

And then it all fades away around me, and I’m standing in the middle of a field of wrecking ball art. Concrete blocks and bricks and twisted steel beams scattered all around me, none of it recognizable as having been anything in particular.

And I begin to cry. And cry. And cry. Like my heart is breaking.

And I wake up. It always surprises me when I wake up from dreams that do that to me, that my eyes are perfectly dry. I’m breathing pretty heavily though.

 

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Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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