Midnight Snack

Every so often I have a dream that was obviously intended for someone else. Last night’s tour of the unconscious mind was a case in point.

My dream self popped up in a hole-in-the-wall greasy-spoon diner somewhere in New York City.

The place was little more than a narrow closet: four or five two-tops running along one wall, a battered white enamel display case stocked with an assortment of plastic-wrapped mystery-meals, and a narrow aisle in between. At the back was the cash register and a doorway leading to the kitchen.

The waiter was a hulking Russian gangster visibly suffering from violent indigestion, while the owner/chef was a little bundle of rage in a filthy apron, cursing and spitting in broken English from the tiny kitchen.

The specialty of the house was breakfast: bacon, french fries, and eggs. According to the menu posted on the wall behind the desk, the eggs were available in several styles, each with a cute California theme.

  • The “San Francisco” (light and fluffy)
  • The “Camarillo” (thoroughly scrambled)*
  • The “Folsom” (hard-boiled)
  • The “Simi Valley” (whites only)
  • The “West Hollywood” (over easy, with sausage)

and so on, down to where the grime and inadequate lighting made the rest unreadable.

For some reason not entirely clear to me, I seemed to feel that this dive was the only choice available to me. My dream self was unable to walk out the door and get a falafel from a street vendor – or, for that matter, to root through a trash can for a leftover hot dog – which would have been far preferable to anything available in the diner. I was starving, desperate to eat something, but not altogether convinced that the available options were better than a slow death – especially after the waiter had to run to bathroom for the second time to deal with an intestinal emergency.

Eventually the stress reached the tipping point and I woke up, baffled and desperately wanting a really hot shower. And maybe a bagel.

Anyway, there it is. If this dream belongs to you, please feel free to pick it up any time between 9 and 6 weekdays. Please.

*I had to Google “Camarillo” upon awakening. It turns out that the town was the home of a state mental hospital from the 1930’s through the 1990’s. I’m not quite sure why my unconscious mind knew that.

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