Monday, May 9, 2011


My clock radio is talking to me. I work nights and mornings so I’m sleeping during the day when the world is making a hell of a lot of noise outside so my clock radio has white noise functionality. I usually listen to either a gentle rain, crickets chirping at night, a babbling brook or ocean waves breaking on shore. At an appropriate volume it masks the noise outside and relaxes me so I can sleep. This morning my eyes were closed, my breathing slowed, a dream about Kate Beckinsale already cued up in my subconscious and I hear: “Give in, become a republican. Join usss. Join ussss.”

My head shot up off of my pillow and I’m looking around the bedroom, confused. Sunlight is peeking through the blinds making me cringe like a vampire. After a few seconds I lie back down and settle in under the covers again. I’m in that hazy place where you’re half awake and half asleep and I swear I heard: “You think Katherine Heigl is a fine actress and her string of romantic comedy failures isn’t her fault.”

“What the . . .” I said as I turned over in bed. I listened carefully but heard nothing but the waves breaking casually over the imaginary shoreline. Soon I was drifting off once more. Kate and I were standing hand-in-hand, watching the sun rise over the Atlantic. I picked up a shell, putting it to my ear and I hear: “The songs of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are not an elegy for the death of music. They are the voices of angels.”

I was so tired at this point I couldn’t fight back. A shrill voice began singing in my ear overtop of a derivative dance beat. I could feel my body tossing and turning in bed, mumbling, “No, no. So awful, like an auditory laxative.” Back in my dream, on the beach, Kate Beckinsale morphs into Katherine Heigl who is jabbering in my face about being in love with her best friend’s dog groomer’s Pilates instructor but she’s already engaged to a high-powered government lawyer with a heart of gold and she doesn’t want to hurt him but the heart wants what the heart wants. I’m just about to punch her to get her to shut up when Jennifer Aniston appears on the other side of me. Normally that’s my Wednesday dream but this is turning into a nightmare as Jen starts telling me what a great job John Boehner is doing as Speaker of the House and his constant bawling just shows how much he cares about this country and if I would just listen to Tim Pawlenty I’d see he wasn’t just this election’s version of John McCain, a boring white man who will gainsay anything a Democrat says to get elected.

The ocean is my only chance. I run into the water until I’m bobbing in surf up to my waist. The girls follow. Heigl has just found out her cousin has been cheating with her fiancé while dressed as a rabbit who chases the fiancé who’s dressed like a carrot. Jen is doing a dramatic reading of a Rush Limbaugh Show transcript and I’m begging, “Come on water, do your thing!” When I chance another look, Katherine and Jen are now both in wedding dresses and singing, their voices auto tuned until they sound like the guitar solo on “Do You Feel Like We Do” from Frampton Comes Alive. I’m jumping up and down in the water when finally . . .

I wake up. My eyes pop open and I realize I have to pee like crazy. After taking care of business I climb back into bed and close my eyes, but I only pretend to fall asleep. The waves are ebbing and flowing from the white noise machine. I can feel the sand between my toes and listen to the gulls calling. Then I hear: “Obama was born in Antarctica.” I sat up yelling “A ha!” The voice from the radio sputtered, “Uh, hey, ocean waves . . . soothing ocean waves . . .” I reached over and unplugged the machine. Wrapped the cord around it and stuffed it in the closet.

I climbed back in bed, buried myself under the covers and fell asleep to the mellifluous strains of my neighbor hammering on his new roof.

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