Friday, August 2, 2013


I was visiting my family in Arizona.*

It was early in the morning and my mom and Aunt Karen were sitting in the kitchen. A newspaper was spread out on the counter. I glanced at it as I walked by. Something in it caught my eye, so I stopped for a closer look. At the bottom of the opened page there was an ad that read something like, “One lucky citizen will receive a phone call from Al Gore today!”

The ad confused me, because that was literally the only thing it said. There was a picture of Al Gore smiling at the camera with a flashy border around the whole thing, but there was no additional information. As I was thinking about it, the phone rang behind me. It was a cordless phone hung up on the wall next to the refrigerator. I was on the side of the counter nearest to it, and my mom and aunt were on the other. Karen motioned for me to go ahead and get it, which was weird since it was her home and I could have just as easily lifted the phone off the hanger and handed it to her. She said no, and told me to answer it. I did.

“Hi. Who’s this?”
“Trevor. Who’s this?”
“Al Gore. I guess you’re the lucky winner!”
“Um, hold on. It’s my aunt’s house. You should probably talk to her.”
“No, no, no. You answered the phone and that means you’ve won. You get to spend the next 45 minutes on the phone with me.” **

My mom and Aunt Karen looked confused as to why I hadn’t passed the phone to them. I pointed to the ad in the paper.

“He said I can’t hand the phone to anyone. I answered so I have to be the one to talk.”

Both of their eyes lit up and they exchanged huge smiles. They both started running around the house telling everyone else what was happening.

“Bob! Kim! Trevor’s on the phone with Al Gore! Al Gore! Come up here!”

Everyone started flooding into the kitchen to watch me. Things started to get awkward because as I was talking to Al Gore about nothing in particular, the crowd got bigger and bigger. My brother showed up, his wife and son not far behind, all my cousins and their kids. I didn’t even know all of these people were in the house, but there they were. I eventually wandered into the backyard, down the steps from the sliding glass door, across the deck and to the back lawn. I paced back and forth as my entire family watched through the window.

I don’t think any of them actually like Al Gore as a politician and they’re not fans of his environmental efforts – he’s just the closest thing to a celebrity as they could get. They weren’t jealous that I was the one talking to him and not them, they were just happy to be within a single degree of separation of someone that’s been on TV before.

The first real meaty conversation we got into was about stamps.*** He was telling me about his stamp collection, but it was one he'd just barely started, so the only ones he'd collected so far were the "Forever" stamps that you can buy at the supermarket. He bought his at the post office from the self-service kiosk. He was really excited about it. I told him about my Grandpa's collection that he'd been working on for most of my life and probably before that, too. Al Gore was impressed. I looked up to the window to see if my Grandpa was there, but he wasn't. I relayed this info to Al, but he quickly shot me down. "Well, even if he was there I wouldn't be able to talk to him. You're the one that answered the phone."

Not for a single minute did my new friend Al and I talk politics or the environment. As soon as I got to one end of the yard, it ceased to be a yard anymore and turned into a desolate alleyway. Al Gore was suddenly giving me tips on how to navigate my way through various scenarios that play out in horror movies. As he began to describe whatever situation popped in to his head, that’s what my surroundings became. When he started talking about how to avoid a herd of zombies in an alley,**** all of a sudden I was in an alley looking for places to avoid the undead lumbering towards me. When he started giving me tips on evading a serial killer chasing my through the streets in the middle of the night, that’s what was around the next corner.

There was, however, always one exception. Wherever I ended up, whatever the scene became, there was always a window about 10 feet above me where my whole family was watching. They were never worried about me, because Al Gore was always able to tell me exactly what to do, exactly when to do it. I was never in any danger whatsoever.

Eventually my 45 minutes were up and he said he had to go. I understood, we said our goodbye’s and hung up the phone. That’s when the window to my aunt’s kitchen disappeared and I was all alone in a weird alleyway/neighborhood street hybrid. One half was the alley and the other half was a quiet suburban street lined with trees. I had no phone anymore and no way to get back to wherever I was supposed to be.

That's when I woke up.

This was a dream I had the other night. Lately I've been having weird dreams and in the middle of the night when I wake up, I take notes about them. The next morning, I try to remember everything I can about the dream, so I decided to start fleshing them out.

Here are the footnotes.

* Aside from my Grandpa for 5 months out of the year, I have no family in Arizona whatsoever. My Aunt Karen lives in the suburbs of Sandy. Everything about the house was the same, it was just in Arizona and the only reason I know that is because the newspaper was the Arizona Republic.

** This is the only actual dialogue that I remember.

*** I'm pretty sure this portion of the dream/conversation came about because earlier that day I'd been watching Jeopardy Kid's Week (which I killed at, by the way) and there was a category about stamps that I did surprisingly well at.

**** I woke up once in the middle of this dream because I jumped when a zombie came out of literally nowhere. I must have twitched in bed, which scared my cats because they jumped off the bed which is what woke me up. Luckily, I fell right back asleep and right back into the middle of the dream.

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