Sylvester Stallone has been working with my wife at a gallery show. I’m sitting across the way, splayed on the floor looking not unlike a hobo. Sly, out of the goodness of his heart, brings me chocolate chips. I’m genuinely thankful and tell him how he’s my favorite, 1984 was the best year, etc. (If I’m perfectly honest, I’d bet this is referencing a story about when someone was a kid and they met Joe Pesci in an airport. He goes “Who’s your favorite actor?” Kid says, “You of course!” Pesci say’s “That’s the right answer, kid”, and hands him a crisp $100 bill.)
After Satllone is outside I walk over to my wife and chat. Somehow the topic comes up: I share my opinion that the MidJourney prompt she used for the show is problematically basic. She might not have realized it, but the source prompts have been collected on the gallery’s server are public. So hers something being something like “blue Elmo Sunday morning” next to the many elaborate and tricky prompts used by the other artists in the show gives a bad impression. I know she worked harder than that. To make my point I give her the analogy: “An expert can do what a novice can do. But the novice can’t do what the expert can”.
An acquaintance, Andi, is working nearby also, wearing a mechanic’s suit onesie. I chat with her too and express how I feel like her outfit is great, but if the name tag said “Becky” that’d be perfect. Still working, she reveals her large back tattoo that says “Cantram Parts”, a family business that’s been around 100 years. Guess she’ll have some job security — probably not gonna fire her walking around with one of those on her. Maybe it’ll even put her in charge one day.
There’s a website we look at as a group, described as “a kind of Akira.com website”. There’s a clever columnar interface, you simply slide a full column over and there’s an entirely different dating selection to explore. I note that the men are blue-themed and the women red-themed. Yellow… I didn’t get to yellow.
There’s ruckus outside. The quality of light indicates either a quiet evening or (unusually for me) an early morning. Leaning out a window I observe what seems like the local army base having a local defense drill. As I gawk from above, a gangly, almost gigantic recruit performs a side-stomping maneuver — straight through the trunk of a young tree in the green sidewalk margin adjacent the residence I’m in. Must have been trained on it. Or… oh, this IS the training. Only last night I walked by that very tree with a group, playfully jumping and swatting a dangling branch. There ought to be a different policy for base defense drills, I think, at least when it’s civilian property. I’m not grumpy about it though, just resigned. I say not a word to the recruits; nothing I could say. Military people are extra “just doing their job”, which feels like an understatement when it’s actually even “following direct orders”. But soon, I am able to holler out and warn them about the elephant that’s appeared from around a nearby corner, and is approaching them from behind. They take it in good humor. There is really an elephant though — a little pink baby with goofy eyes and ears that looks like it can’t even see anyone.
I can overhear the spirited conversation of a couple from where I sit in the backseat of a car. The woman has a pronounced English accent. I lean my head out, inserting myself into their conversation, and make an opportunistic joke related to what the boyfriend just said. Something about never trusting them? The English I mean. Because we’re Americans, you see. It’s a cheap joke and a few hundred years out of date but I knew it’d get a laugh. Later, driving along in the car, the conversation picks up on my joke. I realize that since it’s 2024 now, 1776 to 2024 would mean it’s 300 years of America! Wait, that’s not right… 250! That’s even worse from a cultural perspective. The media will most certainly be deluging us with the phrase “a quarter millennium of America” as often as they can. (I know the math is wrong here — this is a dream in case you’d forgotten.)
I’m taken around with a special kid, someone folks seem to think I have an unexplained connection with. Maybe I just have a similar vibe. Maybe my personality at that age was similar to whatever unusual thing this kid’s got going on. I attend his visit to a therapist’s office. It’s ringed halfway round with stone benches and has a peaceful zen garden feel, and they keep the office lights off. I spot a stuffed white stoat. It seems obviously symbolic, a canny and subdued symbolism — as if I’m not expected to know it. I carry over an indented tray, like a cupcake pan, randomly loaded with a personal rock collection in its rows of concavities. I perform the offering gesture to the special kid with exaggerated kindness and good humor. I don’t know why I’m being put together with this kid, but at least we’re enjoying each other.
Rats are easy to lose. For instance, apparently I just lost Bertie when I set down a tray a moment ago… fuck!