I dreamed I went to a popular all-night diner with a friend after a great show. We sat at a table in the front window. Conversation was lively and far-ranging. The place was packed and noisy. I'd wanted to eat here for a long time. As my eyes scanned the huge room, I spotted several people I knew from Louisville and Oakland and New Orleans and other places. Amazing to find people from all over the country in one place. I mingled, sitting at first one table and then another for a few minutes of laughter and talk.
Gradually, I became aware that everyone was eating except me. What was the protocol here for getting some food? I set my mind to answering that question and discovered a long, long line that started somewhere near the middle of the building. I joined the queue, talking amiably with people I didn't know as we advanced. The line moved quickly. I was surprised when I reached the cash register: I still had no food. I left the line and retraced my steps.
Somewhere in the middle of the line sat a high counter with a plexi-glass top and copious scuff marks covering its face, as though a lot of struggle had taken place. A youngish man and an old woman were dressed in white and more focused on each other than the customers but I soon figured out they were the ones taking orders and making food. It was necessary to talk loud and look upward to place an order. "What do you want? Biscuits? Sausage? Gravy?" "Yes," I said. "I'll have biscuits with sausage gravy." "We don't have that," barked the young man. "But you said...."
We spent several minutes in confused, circular conversation before it finally seemed he had my order. I stayed in line. I reached the cash register and, again, I had no food. This time Henrietta Alves was also there without food. We were the only two in the restaurant who had no food. "I've had such a good time," I told her. "But I am starving. How do we get food here?" She was angry but gracious as she complained to the cashier. I was desperate and frightened and very very hungry....growing weak....and I woke up.
At 7:04 a.m. Feeling tired and hungry.
The dream has moved me to get dressed and find the nearest UU church (one of which happens to be just outside Oxford). I've had coffee. I'm on my way there in another hour. I don't have great expectations but the dream is under my skin, driving me to "get fed" today. As I searched Google Maps for directions to the church, the thought of Batesville and the Buddhist Monastery there came to mind. I added it as a destination on the map and plan to stop there after I leave the Oxford church.
The determination I feel resonates with the photo/quote at the top, something I found on my Facebook page this morning. This hunger feels like a matter of survival. Like I have no choice now. Like the present situation is no longer tolerable and it's time to get on the bus.