Something about being outside of a facility in the cloudy nighttime, dusk-ish looking sky. Vending machine? School? Buying groceries in college town being cheaper than other places?
Then in the TV room of the house I grew up in. Then I had just moved into what seemed like a shelter during hard times. It was time to go to sleep and the father (mine? Someone else’s? I didn’t recognize him and he was way too calm to be my dad) and sister (who acted like my sister but looked nothing at all like her) told me that my laptop cord was way too bright and would prevent everyone from sleeping. My bed and my brother’s bed would be underneath a loft where other people would sleep and it was a really nice setup in such bad times. We were allowed a curtain to lend us the precious little privacy it could, but the power source was a distance away which is the cord was hanging out in the room like that. Unfortunately they were right. That bright blue cord IS too bright at night. The girl was sniggering while complaining telling the dad to make me get rid of it. Since he was taking care of that dorm, I could tell he was trying to figure out a solution that benefited everyone there. While they exchanged words, I was was busy silently coloring the darn thing with an almost dry Sharpie. It worked and I triumphantly plugged it back in so everyone could see.
Then it changed to a banquet in a banquet hall. Everyone was wearing nice clothing. It was still nighttime and my brother and I had arrived late. I recognized very very few people. At first, I made my way over to where the biggest and oldest attendees were. My seat was smack in the middle at a table and I kept getting the feeling like this was a symphony and everyone here played an instrument. Everyone was white, so some of them were giving me weird looks, but it didn’t matter because my mom’s sister’s husband was there. While trying to ignore the lavender frilly dress I was wearing and picking politely at my food, I decided to ask my uncle how everything was going. I hadn’t seen any of them for a while. He nodded his head in that “ehhh” way and I was thinking, uh oh, in my head. Then he started explaining what was on his chest, but suddenly the group was entirely too loud and I could only understand snippets of what he was saying. I tried really hard but he was getting frustrated trying to be heard. I made out the words “black New Listing signs” and then it clicked in my head because my mom was telling me about this as her mom told it to her. So that’s what I told him, and then I tried to make it better, telling him that actually, my aunt (his wife) would make a very good real estate agent because you need someone who’s excited but more importantly, will get things done. And she certainly is good at hounding people until something happens. He made that face again.
I’m at a different table now, much further away from the clamorous crowd and with me are my family and relatives. Thank goodness. My brother had disappeared somewhere, but I was sitting with my sister, some cousins and another aunt. I was getting excited while talking to that aunt and started exclaiming about it, when the aunt who is the wife of the uncle from before comes to sit down. I had just interrupted the first aunt and the second one looked at her sister and told her that I won’t let her talk, so don’t bother. I decided to stop talking then altogether and it was a bit awkward.
Then my mom shows up and it’s time to go get ready for the next celebration. Second aunt is coming with us, my mom and brother too. One of my cousins whom I’d not seen in a while shows up in his new Forester to pick up the other cousins and I remember thinking, wow! They’re so grown up! He had a beard. I drive out to the light and I keep asking my mom where we’re going, but she’s so busy talking to her sister she doesn’t hear me. Then she realizes that I’m about to go the wrong way and tells me to go straight through the light into the shopping center. I can’t change over to the straight lane because there is a car there, so I tell her it’s ok I’ll just turn around. As it happens, right after the left turn there’s a opening to get into the shopping center. I start turning this way and that, not sure where to go but my mom is still yakking away and not paying attention. We need to pick up a few things at the asian marts so I just start driving, remembering that there’s one that she likes to go to. I’m not exactly sure what happens to my car, but I find the store which is right on the ocean front (the parking lot ends). It’s called “B.F.” The old people go shopping and I veer off to go to a different store. There, I pick up a shopping elephant and start gathering items. The shopping elephants are about Rottweiler sized creatures and I’m not exactly sure what they do, but it’s free for shoppers to use. At least I think so. I put several things in my cart and push it over to the B.F. store to wait outside for my mom since I don’t know if I can bring the shopping elephant into that store. While I wait outside for her, I see a bunch of other elephants, now freed from their shopper, rushing over to play in the waves. They’re pretty cute but then I notice them eating rocks. I look back at my elephant who is busy trying to steal a BBQ chip to eat and I realize how skinny it looks. That’s when it hits me that you need to pay the shopping elephant when you’re done with it. Payment with food. No one seems to know or care. I’m freaking out, so I give it 2 chips, which it accepts with its trunk gratefully, but I know that elephants shouldn’t eat chips. I decide in this emergency to run into the store, but I leave my cart of stuff and the elephant outside. I tell it to “stay!” hoping that it will both guard my stuff and not wander off. I rush in to find my mom in this fancy asian grocery (good thing I didn’t bring it in) and I tell her that I need a bag of apples. She’s not listening again. I don’t have any money, myself, otherwise I’d buy the apples myself. The cashier lady hears me and offers that a bag of apples if $6.76. I was like, bah, that’s too expensive and my mom tells me hush hush that it’s cheaper in another store. I rush away, placing the elephant into my cart this time. This store is cheaper looking and I don’t mind bringing my elephant in. There’s a queue like in an amusement park which is full, but it moves quickly. I make it to front and start running while pushing my elephant in the cart.
It’s now a game! I need to push, run and avoid the obstacles! I’m not doing that well because the cart is so heavy, but we make it through and surely enough, a bag of apples here is only $4.99. Success!
Then I wake up because Gable is licking himself loudly.