07: Light Under Water

I dream every night but most mornings I wake up not remembering them. It isn't the same has having no dreams, where you spend all night floating in a void before awakening. I am aware my mind conjured some images, I feel I have been busy dreaming, but I can't remember the content. Two or three nights ago I had the most vivid dream I can remember in a while, most plot-centric one... we had moved to mars. Initially this seemed like a true revolution, but Mars was already turned into a green second earth. So we were escaping and going far only to wind up in a place not that different from where we started, with all the same people and even some neighbors. I will not over-inflate the significance of this symbolism but it might mean something that I remembered this dream so well in daylight when they lately have been fading. Last night's involved a gruelling fistfight with an implacable shape-shifting foe whose final form was a chubby old man. Go figure.

Mel often remembers her dreams in great detail, often complaining in the morning of "weird dreams," which she then describes, and I unsympathetically tell her just sound like regular dreams to me. Imagine being so averse to dreaming.

The past few weeks have proceeded quietly, and I both cannot and can believe that I've gone two weeks between posts. Now we're way past the point where I should remark on the span of time between posts - any given one could be my last for two years - but I've wanted to post. But much of what I wanted to write about has faded.

Work has provided me with some unique anxieties. Say what you will about my old retail job but I enjoyed a low level of scrutiny. Which is not to say that I am being harshly or unfairly scrutinized here - if anything my performance is being taken as given shockingly too uncritically. In retail I had a job I knew I was good at and didn't really need to hear from others. At Home Office I am constantly fumbling my way through, afraid of being "found out" yet desperate for guidance and clarity - too self-conscious to stop sometimes and say "Wait, what is it I'm supposed to be doing?" Or to know when to do so. Because I worry that if they hear that too much it will amount to "You know what, let's just fire this guy."

But all that self-consciousness and worry is just in my head, a Scotto original... if anything, Murray is exceedingly pleased with my performance no matter how much my self-sabotaging side wants him not to be. We had a one on one this past week whose theme was to be my future with the company... and he was exceptionally positive in requesting it but in the lead-up, my mind envisioned him sitting me down and saying "Hey man, you're dropping the ball in the following ways." In reality, he was passing along some information on a role that might be vacant in the near future - Bryant's departure has opened room for some shuffling, and while we don't know the result of that, it's likely we know what job will be open. He reminded me this was all hypothetical, no job offer on the table, but to be prepared... he was talking to Penny about me.

I should be chuffed, you know, but being under a microscope doesn't suit my personality.

The other drama this week - still ongoing - is our need to justify what we have done in optimization to the head of Fiction, who will be losing a great deal of shelf-space because of our work. He doubts the math, doubts the process. I have my own take on why this is the right thing to do and I hope I am not kidding myself that it boils down to more than "Oh a computer told me to do it." I feel guilty (and self-conscious) about my role in reducing the presence of general fiction in small format stacks across the country, but looking at the numbers it felt very right to do. Ira has actually been quite nice about it and forthright about wanting to know more (and directly or not, poke at our process and see what gives.) Personally I feel slightly out of my element attempting to justify coming in my first month at home office and irrevocably changing (for a year at least) the dynamic of the business, to someone who has worked there for so many years. I'm not alone though... we've got Martin, Ibrahim and Tony and Maria and of course Murray... it's a good team.

A week ago, Mel and I had our other social engagement of the season, Dan and Shannon's wedding. It was a really good time, we sat with all the expected people, which worked for me since I know where I stand with everyone in that group, shared some laughs and many drinks, and hit the dance floor hard. Shannon in particular seems to have an affinity for big group scenes - she led her bridesmaids, and then Dan, through a choreographed routine to get the party started. She also led the charge in the conga line and was quick to hit the floor for the Cha Cha Slide (Per Wikiepdia: "a song by American artist DJ Casper, often played at dance clubs, school PE/dances/proms, parties, ice and roller skating rinks, bar mitzvahs and weddings in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the song reached number one in March 2004.[2]") as well as Cotton-Eye Joe, and the Macarena. In the year 2017 I witnessed a large group of people doing the Macarena. What a time we live in. I personally requested "Mr. Brightside" as a palate cleanser, following a round of the Time Warp, because yelling and screaming to a only-somewhat-dancey rock song is a good way to blow off steam, and everyone under 40 loves that song and somehow knows all the words.

There were lots of speeches,each one specifically ending with everyone raising a glass, which got a bit tiring, but the speeches were often funny and moving... not really being close with Dan and Shannon it was nice to get to know them through their friends. The wedding was mostly put together as a reflection on the time when they met, the first week of University, and of course all the Uni friends they had then remain part of their present (but for the fact they now live in Swift Current, SK.). It's not a dynamic I have, ever had, or could imagine for myself... that tight knit friend group with a ton of enduring in jokes and fond memories. I was always just me, passing through. Now I'm "us." We have our people, our connections, but few who could gush they "knew us when."

But that's okay. We've got us.

The workweek progressed, as noted above, and we went to dad's for Wednesday night dinner for the first time in a while. (We had gone a few weekends ago, and met Alex's dog Zeus, for Deb's birthday,) which was nice and quaint return to an old routine. And then yesterday we came home, that is to my place, did some light gardening to pull weeds. We had dinner with Eric (B took the food and returned to his gaming,) chatted into the evening, played Mario Party and GoldenEye. It was good, in fact it was great, it was like that last-year feeling I've been chasing. We have spent much of the summer away from 471 Postridge, largely because we have had so much going on that returning to Mel's after one of our outings (weddings, the trailer, whatever) often just seems more natural. We can't go back to the summer of 2016 - when Mel was out of work and desperate to be away from her place. And those fond memories that could have been traditions are the casualties of that. We've eaten out back on our patio like twice, and though we often make smores in the microwave we haven't used our makeshift fire pit once. (We have twice, however, lit the mini fireplace accent torch thingy that Mama H got me for my birthday, it was very nice.) I'm ambivalent and torn about all that but this is life.

While preparing dinner, Eric and I even had a nice talk about creativity. We both are just in places now where we don't have the time to indulge as much as we'd like. I'm doodling a bit, but nothing concrete, nothing the world will see.

Not yet anyway.

I've got schemes. The ideas will never disappear and the drive, the need, simply has not died.

We'll see.

Keep on rockin'


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