Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i am the ogre who lives in the basement

A piercing shriek from upstairs reminds me that I hate my landlords' children. At 7:15 this morning I was dragged up out of sleep by the sound of stomping directly above my head. Those kids. They dance or wrestle, I don't know what they do, but it probably sounds like nothing up there yet the sound travels directly down and it sounds like angry pounding to me in my bed trying to sleep. After the dancing it was a sound over and over like a marble dropped on the hardwood floor and allowed to roll, then picked up and dropped again.

I finally fell asleep composing in my mind an email to send to my landlords. "This morning at 7:15 I was awakened by the pitter patter of little feet above my head. Only it wasn't a pitter patter so much as a loud stomping. I understand its probably hard to manage two little kids with so much energy, but would it be possible to maybe wait till 8:30 to start the stomping? Or perhaps let them stomp in a part of the house that's not directly over my bed?"

I drifted off with this in my mind and dreamed about my landlady, the wife, who is youngish and who was an art therapist before she reproduced, and I've always thought she was cute in a nerdy, over-educated, social-worker sort of way. I dreamed that I went over into their side of the basement to talk to her and she gave me a pile of my laundry and some things she had ready for me, including one of my books. I took the things back to my side of the basement (which, in this dream, was large, spacious, not underground, with lots of light and exposed brick walls) -- and I puzzled over these items.

I wondered how my landlady got my clothes and my book and I realized that she must have let herself in. I called her. I said, "I really appreciate that you've done my laundry, it's very sweet of you, but I would prefer in the future that you not let yourself into my apartment when I'm not here. I'm very private, I'd prefer to maintain that privacy."

And then, suddenly, she wasn't on the phone, she was in my apartment and we were talking. She was sitting on the floor leaning against one of my bookshelves and I knew that she was so bored with her life up there with the children and she'd been letting herself into my apartment as a distraction. "What do you want here?" I asked her. And she smiled, leaned back agains the shelves and said, "You have such wonderful books." I offered to loan her books.

I wanted to make something easier for her, but I wanted her to stop coming into my apartment. I sensed there was something more, something wrong. I said, "Is there anything you need from me? Anything I could do differently?" She furrowed her brow. She said, "Yes. My feelings are hurt about my painting." She pointed to a spot on the (exposed brick) wall that was empty. There was a painting of hers that I'd taken down, so long ago I'd forgotten about it, forgotten where I put it. I started looking.

In the end she left and I realized that she'd made me these arm cuffs, for kayaking. Kind of like arm-warmers (which are kind of like leg warmers) but these were made out of stiff animal hide. There was a note attached explaining that the material would relax over time, that this is how the Inuit kept their arms warm while kayaking in the cold. I tried them on and the dream ended.


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