This is the time when you need a friend

Dreams are weird. I don’t necessarily see them as messages so much as ping pong balls of the conscious and subconscious bouncing together when you’re not sleeping particularly heavily.

Last night I dreamed that I was trying to get on a Cleveland RTA bus to go downtown. I was somewhere out in the far suburbs and really needed to get downtown but for some reason, nobody would tell me what buses were going downtown. I tried asking some strangers but they wouldn’t respond. Each time a bus stopped at the station I was at, the drivers would ignore me. One of them finally said to me, “Ma’am, you know we can’t tell you that information. You’re supposed to find it another way.”

RTA was in the news yesterday as one of their officers pepper sprayed some protestors downtown. This is very near where I work, and I was wondering if there would still be unrest in that area today. Instead, there were random power outages. Things feel akimbo everywhere and I’m not sure why.

I don’t remember dreams for very long unless they are particularly unusual. One that’s stuck with me for many years took place back when I was working as a security guard at an outdoor concert facility. You learn a lot about how things work at concerts and in the music industry when you work a position like that. You meet a lot of roadies and there’s a lot of late night talk after the runner is over and the venue is methodically cleared of concertgoers, late, late at night down in the bowels of the facility. In offices or catering, talking about events of the evening. I miss that job a lot in the summer. The pay was for shit, but the experiences were invaluable. I saw things there I’ve never seen or experienced anywhere else; not all of them good. I was working there when they instituted a new ban on blankets being brought to concerts, after watching kids discover “blanket tossing” and seeing a boy become paralyzed for life when he fell and they didn’t catch him. I’ve seen people beaten with umbrellas, which led to the banning of umbrellas. I’ve looked out on a surreal scene, the air a mass of brown and green as kids tore up handfuls of grass and dirt and flung it at each other in a frenzy until you couldn’t even see the sky anymore.

And then of course there’s everything that happens backstage. You take most of those stories with you quietly. It’s what you do.

Metallica came to the venue one summer. I’m a huge fan, but there are certain concerts where it’s an “all hands on deck” thing and nobody is allowed to take off work to attend the show, because enormous security forces are required. Metallica was such a show. It was a pretty uneventful night and I was able to watch a little of the show in between keeping the peace. I had been asked the week before at a previous concert if I wanted to get on the bus with the band. “Never get on the bus” is the “never get out of the goddamned boat” of concert work. But I had a dream after the Metallica show that I did get on the bus. The guys were actually very respectful and nice and we partied and had a great time. We rode for something like 12 or 15 hours and ended up somewhere in one of the Carolinas where they were going to play their next show. At a gas station in the middle of nowhere, they made me get off the bus. There would be spouses and girlfriends meeting them at the venue, and stragglers were not allowed. I had to find my way home on my own. I was crying and I remember pleading with James Hetfield, who had previously been so nice and was now very cold. He threw a few twenties at me and said “Figure it out,” climbed on and the doors shut, and I was left there alone. I couldn’t believe how quickly they had turned from nice guys to assholes, and I had no idea how I was going to get home. I felt alone and needed a friend to come and get me, and had to spend my money calling people on a payphone to see who would agree to drive 12 hours to come pick me up. This is probably so real in relation to a thousand stories other women have who got on the bus. Which is why you don’t.

I’m picking some people up, now, albeit virtually. It seems many people close to me are going through a very hard time, and I’m offering what support and love I can. I have it to spare.

I drive my own bus now. You’re on or you’re off, but the door is not revolving.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

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