September 10th, 2014

hasui rain

My version of an anxiety dream

My guarantor from over twenty years ago called me from Tokyo, asking me to get my stuff out of his apartment because he needed the room. So I grabbed the cheapest flight I could and got in at night. He wasn't there, but his two children- the pre-school son and his toddler sister- were asleep in the bedroom where my things were. I started going through the stuff- clothes into bags, books into boxes- and despaired. Too much stuff to take home with me- oh and look, all these hardcover manga in their slipcases, way too heavy- maybe Mizuno-san could find me another room at the dorm to store it in? (The apartment was simultaneously part of the Kimi Ryokan and located in the Heiwadai women's residence, hence Mizuno-san, but physically it resembled a western university residence, with carpeted hallways and common areas.) I went out into the crowded hallway, where people were packing and moving because it was end of term, and there were farewell books people were signing, and I figured there must be an empty room available. And maybe there was, because I began transferring stuff somewhere. My guarantor came in with a younger women companion, not his wife- ah, so that's why he needs the room- and his kids woke up and ran to him; and I went back to loading books, and all that stuff- the books, the heavy books, filling a ceiling-high black wooden bookcase...

And then realized I had a shift the next day and I had to get home to Toronto to do it. And then woke up, thank goodness.

The Buddhist message is clear, and possibly the psychological one as well-- too much baggage-- but underlying all is the trauma of 1996: weeding through All The Stuff to decide what I absolutely had to have, and somehow getting it back home.

With all that, in the dream I still wanted to go to the bookstore and get more stuff: this being the Heiwadai bookstore that crops up regularly in my dreams, the one that's a good mile down the road from the station, amid fields and sparse buildings. I've never figured why it's there and not where any of the real bookstores were; have wondered if 'down the road' is supposed to translate as 'several stations away from Ikebukuro', only in body-space and not train-terms. But in any case, 'the Heiwadai bookstore' is as much a fixture in my dreamlife as 'the apartment over near Madison', the perfect apartment from the 70s.

Licence to print money

I called the plumbing company yesterday about snaking my slow-draining right-hand kitchen sink- same guys as snaked it eight years back when my new bath caused the pipes to flood the kitchen. Plumber gets back to me in fifteen minutes. 'I can be there in three hours.' 'I have to be at work then. Tomorrow morning?' 'Sure. 8 OK?' 'Can we make it 9?' and let me get some sleep. '9, sure. See you then.' 'Oh, how much is it?' 'Two fifty.' 'Two hundred and fifty dollars? Uhh err...' maybe I don't need two sinks. Hastily, 'OK, one fifty.' Enh: but known as a reputable firm; and plumbers are traditionally more expensive than dentists.

This morning I'm staggering back from the bathroom, half-awake, at 7 am. And of course the phone rings. I can't work, I *can't* work, please don't let this be a real crisis Hello? 'Oh hi. It's the plumber. I'm coming to your house at 9 today, OK?' Guy, there was a *reason* I said 9. But oh fine, I'm wide awake. I tidy the kitchen, empty the cupboard under the sink, wait. And wait. He appears at 9:30.

Squats down, looks at the pipes, and says, no really, 'Oh fudge. Oh fudge oh fudge oh fudge.' Long story short, he winds up replacing the entire apparatus, substituting plastic piping for the ancient and much corroded iron stuff. 'It's broken. I can't believe you haven't had leaks yet.' For that I'm happy to pay $250- payable to Cash which is a sure tip-off of something not quite kosher. But if I need snaking done again- mhh, I might call around first.