Spring Cleaning the Clutter in my Mind

Since this is the time of year for such grandiose events as cleaning
out attics, basements and gutters, I'd like to do a little cleaning of
the attic in my head. I've got this dream that keeps popping up and I
need to get rid of it...

It always starts simple enough: hanging out in Old Havana with Ernest
while we sip mojitos and discuss politics, a topic which Papa always dismisses
with a wave of his hand and a gruff noise in the back of his throat that
sounds like the last stroke of an old lawnmower that has run out of gas.
Then, out of nowhere, in burst the revolutionaries, and they quickly recruit
us all to go topple the existing regime in the capitol building. I turn
to say something clever to Papa — possibly even something sarcastic and
biting at the old man's resolve and the deep irony that we're now in —
but he's long gone. Out fishing, no doubt.

Then instantly I find myself rocketing through the city streets of Istanbul
on a Husqvarna
250 Enduro through a narrow, open strip of Turkish belly dancers
on both sides of the street, wearing white and pastel-colored sarongs
and playing finger cymbals. Trying to maneuver between the shrieking masses
is maddening enough, but then I look down and see that this motorcycle
has a sidecar. And there is Jack Kerouac,
sitting upright and perfectly calm, dressed in thick, oily-looking goggles
and a heavy white scarf that is snapping in the wind. He is looking at
some sort of map, but man — my navigator is Kerouac? The
guy never found himself, how are we going to find our way out of

Kerouac turns to me and smiles, and when he does I can see the fissures
in his dry, wind-chapped lips. I think to offer him some lip balm, but
before I can do anything of the sort, he opens his mouth, and all of this
terrible noise comes out. It sounds like all of the lectures I attended
in college, and all the traffic
I've sat through, are all being replayed back to me
in one colossal sound bite — and it's blasting out of this one heavily
cracked, screaming, mouth/speaker that he aims at me like a gun.

In the distance I spot the German Luftwafte bombers coming and I point
it out for Jack, so he can get us out of this mess. Kerouac looks dumbfounded,
and the noise coming out of his mouth starts to fade, like an air-raid
siren that is powering down....
And then it turns out that I'm listening to some stupid DJ and his incessant
cackling — acting like some sort of schoolgirl at recess. Oh, right —
my alarm — time for work.

No point in trying to analyze it — I just wanted to pass the goods along
to you, gentle reader. Think of this column as my little yard sale —
just like everyone else has when they spring clean their attics.

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