Thursday, April 18, 2013

Perchance to Dream

For some reason I remember Dr. Sidney Freedman, M*A*S*H 4077’s ever-patient psychiatrist played by Allan Arbus, once saying, “Freud said, ‘Every dream is a wish.’” I forget the context but, suffice it to say, ol’ Sigmund was a bit careless in his pronouncements and slothful in his conclusions on occasion—prone to some big-time generalizations. I, for one, do not desire being friends with this strange and unpleasant guy named Martin from the neighborhood. Yet, last night, I dreamed he and I were best pals and met for a game of chess in a nearby Starbucks.

Foremost, I don’t like Martin by reputation and—most of all—from extended observation. I’ve seen him through the years—decades in fact—in places we both frequented. One of them was my favorite diner, which sadly is no more. I never said a word to the man, yet he menacingly glowers at me every time I pass by him on the street. I don’t take it personally, though, because he does the same thing to just about everybody else.

Martin, you see, was a diner blowhard, but not your run-of-the-mill diner blowhard. Let’s just say he was on the higher intelligence side of the blowhard spectrum and wanted everyone to know it. He desperately needed to be heard and to show-off his eclectic acumen. Martin regularly jousted with the much lower IQs of the diner staff and its clientele. He also wrote and read poetry in local establishments that welcomed poets with open microphones. Martin would always attend these events at the pub-eateries that hosted them, but never, ever buy any food or grog—nor would we he contribute a buck when the basket was passed around to help support and sustain area poetry readings and the arts. He often got up out of his chair when the basket took flight to go to the bathroom or to get some fresh air.

I suspect a sighting of Martin triggered this dream of mine. Recently, I spied him seated in a Starbucks' window and playing a game of chess. Martin is a paranoid fellow—his eyes flit back and forth as a rule—so I was not surprised when he sneeringly peered out at me looking in at him and a friend, or more likely a chess-playing acquaintance. I find it inconceivable he could have an actual friend, but anything is possible in this wacky world of ours.

Personally, I don’t frequent Starbucks—too expensive and highfalutin, especially when there are diners and Dunkin’ Donuts around in abundance. Granted, there is no WiFi in these places, and Martin probably couldn’t bring a chess set in and hang around for hours and not even buy a lousy cup of coffee. I played chess as a youth, but never enjoyed games grounded on next-move pressures every step of the way. This goes a long in explaining why I usually lost. Martin would make short order of me in a game of chess in a Starbucks' window. Perchance to dream a better dream tonight—a Freudian one without Martin that I could genuinely wish would come true.

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