The other night I had a dream where my wife and I were dead but didn't know it. (This is a plot device I enjoy identifying in movies and television productions - the most recent celebrated entrant being 1999's "The Sixth Sense.")
I suppose if you don't know you're dead, you escape that urban legend business about if you die in a dream you'll really die. Well, that's what the spoken prelude to the 1964 William Castle film "The Night Walker" said, anyway... I grew up believing it. My question is, how is it possible to verify it? You can't exactly interview a dead person, can you? "Tell me, did you dream about dying just before you entered the Other Realm?"
I've been having fun around town for the past four days with my visiting daughter Julie; some photos here. We've been doing restaurants, malls and museums - and both of us going through the bins of her childhood and teenage stuff stored in the attic above the garage. We pitched a lot of junk she no longer wants, which is nice because it's that much less weight above the cars to possibly come crashing down. (I worry about that a lot.) By the way, when you have daughters you find yourself awash in little purses. I don't know why, but little girls seem to love having little purses.
We also found a poseable, tattooed, Barbie-sized Scary Spice figure in the Beauty and the Beast box - sacrilege! Julie swears that this wasn't hers, which she didn't have to tell me. (Like we'd ever buy our daughters tattooed dolls...) So I brought it next door (they have daughters), from whence it probably came. Reunited after nearly a decade!
Julie and I saw the Hubble 3D IMAX film at the Smithsonian, which was pretty spectacular. Well worth the $9. I had no idea repairing the Hubble Space Telescope while in orbit was such an incredible procedural chore. While at the Air and Space Museum I also batted a mug off a table and broke it - they didn't charge me. And earlier, we were standing at a table that was really a big computer read out designing a space module when we heard and felt a thud - a woman collapsed with an epileptic fit and had to wheeled out in a gurney. Julie described all this in her Facebook account with the comment, "D.C., it's been too long!"
We visited the Potomac Mills Mall - for those of you who do not live in the D.C. suburbs, this is a hugely popular over-large outlet mall that is designed like a bowling alley - one floor in a more or less straight line. It is an endurance test for any male and to be avoided at all costs. Walking one course down and back will prepare you for the Marine Corps Marathon. But I saw some interesting sights. When did the Casio G-Shock get so UGLY? And the "Spirit" Halloween store featured some truly ghastly little plastic models of children chewing on body parts. (My son tells me that zombie babies are all the rage.) One Hispanic Mom thought it was amusing to wheel her little kids by these to start them crying, the wretch.
The most terrifying experience of all, however, was stepping into the Spencer Gifts. EEECCCHHH. Calling that place tacky doesn't begin to describe it! My son says he's afraid of getting an STD on his shoes if he goes in. But I am sure the place has cornered the market on flatulence-inspired gift novelties, a sort of Lillian Vernon with gas.
And of course there's a Hot Topics (commercialized non-conformity with more than a twist of Goth) outlet. I have yet to step into one that didn't have an overbearing smell like a plastics plant off the Jersey Turnpike.
We also visited nearby IKEA. I want a job naming IKEA furniture: Snodblatt, Icky, Vikgrog, Fartsstrom, Oleo, etc. We had a meal in IKEA's cafeteria on a cloudy, rainy day. I always feel like a dreary Swedish socialist dining there.
When I picked Julie up at the Reagan National Airport I saw signs for the Abingdon Plantation, which I knew was an 18th C. site at the airport, now mere ruins. I suppose, being the Virginia Compleatist, I should still visit it someday. But, taking a note to look up the site on wikipedia, I found something I didn't know: the place is the ancestral home of every weeping willow (including the one in my front yard) in the United States!
From wikipedia (my italics): "While at Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1775 during the American Revolutionary War, John Parke Custis was presented with a weeping willow (Salix babylonica) twig by a young British officer on the staff of General William Howe, who had taken it from the famous weeping willow, and first of its kind in England, planted by Alexander Pope at Twickenham. The young British soldier had planned on planting his willow sprig wrapped in oiled silk along a stream on land he would seize from the Americans, but following his defeat, he decided to give the sprig to Custis. Custis planted the weeping willow twig at Abingdon and the resulting tree became the progenitor of all weeping willows in the United States. General Horatio Gates brought a slip of the Abingdon willow with him to his Rose Hill Farm on Manhattan, where he planted it at the entrance of his farm. The tree remained at what became the corner of Third Avenue and 22nd Street, where for many years it was known as 'Gates's Willow' until it was cut down in 1860."
Well, if it's in wikipedia it must be right, right? (Like if you die in your dreams you'll die in waking life.)
I used to play rugby union. I've always known I wasn't fit enough to play the variation known as rugby league, which is more of a running sport. I just discovered I'm also not crazy enough to play it.
That's all. Back to work.
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