Sunday, May 12, 2013

I had the most horrible dream last night

Let me begin with this:

A couple of weeks ago, Daughter #1 sent me a text out of the blue asking "If six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, who accounted for the other six or so million?"  Because the total number is often pegged at twelve million.

So, while grumbling to myself that she could google it as easily as me, I googled it.  The answer: Polish citizens in general, intellectual dissidents, Catholics, Gypsies, Homosexuals and the disabled.

Shit, I'm like more than half of those things.  Definitely out -- Polish citizen.  And while I'm not actually gay (my dialogue with Daughter #1 being held as Exhibit A), I am deeply in touch with my inner woman.

Try telling that to the nice Nazi.
Dog!  That's what I'm talking about.

As for the rest, I'm in on one level or another.  Plus there's my theory of New Yorkers in general becoming partly Jewish by dint of cultural osmosis.  So for me to have a dream about being caught up in the Holocaust is perfectly legitimate, not some sort of glib misappropriation of some other culture's suffering.

I mean, they were slaughtering Catholics left and right.  Priests?  Fuggedaboutit -- you were screwed.

Okay.  Now, with the stage set, fast forward to last night, around three a.m.  I'm on a packed subway train.  [We're dreaming now, people -- thus the italics.]  Taking up two entire seats in the otherwise crowded car is my old folding suit bag -- the one I dragged around the US and Europe for thousands of miles, back when I had a job that required going to Europe with a suit.  Lying on top of the suit bag is a cat.  

And when I tell you the rest of the subway car was jammed, I'm telling you it was jammed.

Then suddenly I'm on a very narrow part of the station platform, outside the subway car, trying to get back into it.  It seems like I'm going upstream against a million people coming the other way.  Somebody comes up to me and says "Here's your valise."  Which I take, although I don't remember having a valise.  And through the window of the subway, I see an old porter loading my suit bag onto a cart and taking it, along with some other people's stuff, away.

Really, you had to be there.  But suffice it to say I sat bolt upright in bed, sticky with sweat, my gut filled with that horrible mixture of fear and despair that I don't have the energy to actually describe for you, relying instead on the hope that you know what I mean.

I could feel my blood pumping through my temples.  I got up, went into the bathroom, took a piss, then stood in front of the sink, letting the water run.  It was 3:15.  For some reason I took an aspirin, then a long drink of water.

And when I tell you it was a long drink of water, I'm telling you it was a long drink of water.


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