Hanging around in the cloud…

Archive for January, 2012


The only people that can hear or see me are kids, babies really, under two years old and best when they’re very sleepy.  Animals seem to see me just fine, but pay me no attention other than giving me knowing glances before their focus returns to comfort or nutrition.  Once a really old guy saw me as he lay dying in his big chair in front of the TV.  The toddler I’d been trying to communicate with was throwing a tantrum after being put in her crib for a nap.  The chubby little girl with her own big pink bedroom wouldn’t notice me until she grew drowsy, and as she had a lot of screaming left in her,  I’d drifted back into the family room of the rambling suburban house.  His eyes widened as he realized I was standing smack in front of the TV.   The playoff  game was forgotten  as he fought to get air with a huge weight pressing on his chest.  Then he was gone, and he didn’t even hang around to chat.  Lucky bastard.  Everyone who died already is lucky, but they just don’t know it yet.  And only babies and animals can hear me when I try to warn them.  Animals don’t care, and babies just don’t have the frame of reference to understand the warning.

Babies and animals lack a sense of time, and their brains have not made constructs with which to interpret the world.  They simply exist and sense.   They see everything, unfiltered.  But something starts to process all this.  They begin to shut things out.  Eventually, all is linear and ordered, with a memories of a past, right now, and a sense of what may come.  Once on the linear path, filtration is complete, the door is shut, and they become another closed off human soul.  And only humans seem to do this.   So they can’t see what’s what.  They only see a tiny slice of the cosmos.  But babies are truly experiencing the infinite, glorious, and incomprehensible cosmos, so they can see me, or what I think of as me, a man with a squarish face with a mustache, receding hairline, and wearing a dark suit, thin black tie, and carrying a black briefcase.  I can appear as anything I imagine.  Sometimes I like to be a curvy brunette in a tight red dress and red high heeled pumps.  Once I was a big golden retriever.  That was when I tried to focus on the first decade of the twenty first century, before I realized that was simply too late by then.

The middle aged man with the dark suit and mustache, me, seems to mesh best with what I decided was the key span of years–1949-1965.  Any time before ’49 the children didn’t seem to live long enough or think deeply to make a difference.  After ’65 the kids seemed to develop the filters sooner, a phenomenon I blamed on Television, an invention that created a legion of passive aggressive consumers.  I could tell right away when I was too early or too late by just looking at a telephone or the cars.  By the millennium year,  many children were hyper aware, but they knew who I was and what I was doing right away and waved me off.    All of the leaders of history must have been visited as children by apparitions such as myself, sent in an attempt to shape events in a particular timeline.  I of course, am tethered to the timeline of my physical life, and for every single soul in the cosmos there exists an unique timeline.   The utter chaos and enormity of this becomes obvious when we are liberated from our filters, and I would like to explore timelines of others, but I can’t.   I am tied to this particular pathway, along with many others bound by this slice of time and space.

Some souls from the collective focus on one person and follow them through life.  I can’t imagine trying that.  I would get too frustrated with never being heard or seen.  Not having the wherewithal to intervene when something terrible was about to happen, to helplessly stand by while disaster strikes, or disease, or accident changed everything utterly is intolerable to me.  So I mainly try to communicate with babies, because occasionally, I feel as if I’ve planted a seed that will germinate into something good.  Plant enough seeds and maybe, my timeline will not end so badly–that’s my theory, anyway.  When I stick with one kid for awhile, in hopes of having influence or staying power with them, to try to become part of their lives, the day comes when they either can’t or won’t acknowledge me.

Other souls from the collective have abandoned all the timelines in favor of drifting and experiencing all, because so far trying to nudge timelines by influencing the those living through them hasn’t been all that successful.  I did that for awhile, and it was an immense and open ended experience.  But eventually my thoughts came back to being rooted in this timeline, where I lived 55 years and watched America kill herself with overindulgence while being led astray in the name of “Jesus and Freedom”.  The real goal was quite the opposite of Jesus’ vision, and more resembled the worst of the Roman Empire.   I had a long discussion with a soul who is convinced that visiting Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was in a Polio delirium influenced the then teenage kid to use his social standing and access to brilliant minds to actually make good in the world.  And he did just that.  Since  I spent my physical life mostly observing, occasionally creating, letting myself be limited by perceived failings, lack of funds, and other constrictions of mind and body, I’ll spend the next phase of my existence trying to reach one living soul who can upend this downward spiral to the Xtian self fulfilling prophesy of blowing up the home planet.    So far, I’ve amused and frighted a few babies, but the bad timeline still plays out with the same horrific ending.

So I go on the prowl for American households without TVs in the late 50s, 60s, and 70s.  After many tries, I hit the jackpot.

The Fosters, a family with five kids that more resembled the Addams Family or the Munsters presented me with little Louise.  She had a mop of frizzy red hair that matted into dreadlocks because she would not let her older sister Margaret or her mother brush or comb it.  Mother was a thin, angular woman with long, stringy black hair with a grey streak on one side.  She wore a dingy gray a line shift with a turtleneck sweater under it in the winter, or a short sleeved peter pan collar white blouse under it in the summer–day in and day out.  Sister Margaret, about ten or so at this time, had a pile of frizzy blond hair and always wore the same blue dress.  Every room in the Fosters house had bookshelves instead of walls.  Stacks of books filled most flat surfaces, including the long dining room table and some of the chairs.  They ate standing up in the kitchen, gobbling their food quickly and scattering back to their respective rooms to read or experiment with things, especially Derek, the eldest son, a chubby redhead with twinkling green eyes and a wicked sense of humor.

The Fosters house was tall and thin, like Mr. Foster, two stories plus the attic with gables. Margaret and Louise share one side of the attic, and brothers Derek and Mark share the other. Between the rooms a walk through closet, stuffed with clothing, books, and toys serves as a divider.  The boy’s room resembles a laboratory more than a bedroom.  An elaborate set up of glassware on metal rigging dominated the room.  Margaret and Louise could not go in, as Derek posted a “Do not Enter” sign on the second closet door, a sign honored by all the Fosters, including Mother and dad.  As far as I could tell, dad never came up to these rooms at all, and Mother only delivered clean laundry to the closet by simply dropping it on the floor.   Neither room had ever been picked up or cleaned, and like the other rooms in the house, are filled with books.  But in addition to the books, Margaret and Louise have dolls and little animals.  Lots and lots of little animals.  An older daughter, (I never learned her name) lived like a recluse in a small bedroom on the second floor.  I never go into her room because she puts off a veritable force field of mental energy that repels all souls from her vicinity.  I believe the books she reads consist mostly of black magic, spells, conjuring, and Satanic rituals.  Her dark influence stays in that room, mostly, for the rest of the Fosters are decidedly benevolent.  Louise, the baby girl, called me Blythe, after Blythe Spirit, which Margaret had read to her at one time.  Louise was reading chapter books by age two and a half, and this relieved Margaret of reading aloud.  The three of us often hang out in that attic room, sun streaming in the large south facing gable window where the seat in front of it was covered with plastic horses, cows, lions, tigers, and a few army men.  While Margaret can’t see or hear me, she knows I’m there because Louise always relates  everything of note I say or do.

Margaret lay on her rumpled bed one morning reading Bleak House while Louise arranged her menagerie in the window seat.  Margaret frequently eyed the clock and each hour reminds Louise to go to the bathroom.  In the Foster family, that was potty training.  I look over Margaret’s shoulder while Louise sits on her potty chair at the top of the stairs and see she was reading the part where Rick fails at Law after failing at Medicine and decides to buy a commission in the army with an advance on his inheritance from Jarndyce.  I start telling Louise some of the storyline to pass the time as she grunts a little, getting ahead of where Margaret was presently reading.   As Louise quickly jabbers what I was saying, I interrupt sharply.

“No!  Don’t be a spoiler!”
“Why not?’  The giant dreadlock at the nape of her neck jiggled as she tossed her head.  “Margaret.  Done.”
“That’s one of those things that you don’t want others to do to you, so you don’t do them to others.”  I explained.  Margaret put down the novel and helped the toddler wipe, etc.  Then she takes the commode down to the second floor bathroom and disposes of the contents.  What a kid.
“Golden Rule stuff?”  Louise asks as she hikes up her training pants.
“Yes.  Golden Rule stuff.”
“And when it’s Golden Rule stuff it’s IMPORTANT, I get it, I get it.  Margaret, Blythe says I shouldn’t tell you any more about Rick.  You must read for yourself.  It’s IMPORTANT.”  The wild little girl still wore her nightgown, faded, flannel, and about knee length.  This happened most mornings until lunchtime, when Mother noticed and insisted she put on clothing and shoes.  Mother spent most mornings reading or gardening in the back yard.
“It’s even more important when people do stuff to you that you’d NEVER do to them.  That’s how you tell who is good and bad in this world.”
“How do you know?”  Louise cocked her head and scowled at me, “And what makes you so smart?”  She crosses in front of me to sit cross legged in front of her elevated menagerie as I am forced to justify myself.
“I’m not so smart, just experienced.   It is you who are getting smarter, or rather gaining knowledge.  I’m here as an adviser.  As long as you can see and hear me, I’ll keep on advising.”
“Why?”  Louise whirled on her little butt to fully face me, her wild mane backlit by golden sunshine, creating a halo effect.

Opportunity knocks!

“Because somebody like you has to fight for what’s right in a few decades.”  I begin, wondering how to explain this.
“So, why me?”  She held an army man, kneeling with a bazooka, in her little fingers.
“Because you are smart, and you aren’t watching TV and ruining your mind.”
“You sound like Mother.  She says TV is rightly called a ‘vast wasteland’ that undermines one’s imagination.  We don’t need a TV.  We have books.”  I feel a rush of love Mrs. Foster, even though she has the personality of a hatchet.  “Let’s go to the lake.  I want to go outside.  C’mon Margaret.”  Margaret slips her bookmark into Bleak House and claps the novel shut.  She finds a pair of green shorts and a little tee shirt to put on Louise.  Neither girl wore shoes as they walk the half block to the lake, Lake Washington, I think.  Lovely grass carpets the lake front, under tall Cedars and Douglas Firs.  I note we are in someone’s back yard, not the Fosters.  Margaret sits in a wooden lawn chair, and returns to her book.  Louise lays in the grass, pulling a blade and examining it, then pulling another.

“Why would someone want to watch TV all the time when one could look at the real world?”  Louise asked.

“I watched TV at Andrea’s house last week.”  Margaret answers, probably forgetting I’m around.  “It was silly.  A talking horse that only one guy heard talking, sort of like you and Mr. Blythe  Mustache.  Then it was a game that grownups played where they were supposed to win money but were too stupid to solve the riddles.”  She shook her head and returned to Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.  Margaret would be a fifth grader in the fall.

I lectured little Louise for about an hour about how the education system would be ‘dumbed down’ in just two decades, AFTER she went through public school and on to a good university.  I told her how many children would go through twelve years of public school without learning to read, write, or learn math, science, or history.  She scoffed and peppered me with questions.  When I got to the part about computers, the internet, and all the technology that she and her peers would create I had her hooked.    I told her about politics, left, center, and right, and how politics wants an ignorant electorate.  I told her about Global Warming, and the anti science of politics. I told her about the Military Industrial Complex, (where I believe her dad made his comfortable salary working for Boeing), about corporate fascism and it’s tightening grip on the USA which culminated in the culture of endless wars that ended in a big bang of the two week War That Ended War because it more or less ended everything.  Then she stopped me cold.
“Spoiler!”  She screamed and plugged her ears.  “You are ruining my story by spoiling!”
“Damn.”  I said under my breath.  She wished me away, and I sadly withdrew.

That was as close as I ever got to influencing a better ending to 2013.  I went to 2014 and the world was still bombed back to the stone age.  It wasn’t enough to tell Louise, brilliant as she was.  I returned to what I hoped was the early 60s.

This looks like about 1961.  Mostly 50s  cars lumbering around with their drivers shifting three on the trees, whining through three gears after stopping for a red light.   It’s hot, and the town looks Midwestern, with a red brick courthouse, a two lane main street with diagonal parking, and many of the side streets unpaved, the edge of town only a few blocks from the main drag.   Most of the cars are going to the A & P at the end of the block, the only business with its own parking lot.  Next to the A & P, the Post Office sits closed, so it must be Sunday afternoon or a holiday.  The little town is divided by a small river running roughly east/west, paralleled by railroad tracks.  A big grain elevator dominates one edge of town, and a hill the other.   I drift off the main street and look at the houses lining  a dusty street filled with boys playing wiffleball, using parked cars for bases and manhole cover for home plate.   From an open window of a large two story house, entirely fenced with wrought iron I heard the distinct sound of an outraged toddler resisting an oncoming nap.  White lace curtains waved in the open window, and the child lay in a twin sized bed, hollering and fussing.  A little towheaded boy, his thick hair buzzed into a flattop wore only tidy whities, and held a Yogi Bear tightly as he began to grow too tired to fuss.  I sat on the foot of his bed.  He looked at me and began to suck the thumb with his free hand.  I just sat with him, watching the curtains rise and fall with the breeze.  A fly buzzed at the screened window, shooed by the curtains.

“Are you Walt Disney?”  The towheaded boy asked, finally.
“I wish.”  I answered.  “Do you like Walt Disney?”  I continued.
“Yeah.  He has a magic brush.”  The little boy pushed Yogi Bear towards me.  “You can hold Yogi if ya want.”
I took the slightly damp stuffed bear into my lap.  One eye was loose, and his felt fedora was torn on one side and stained.  The seam that held his head on was splitting, and very soon, Yogi would be decapitated by love if someone didn’t mend him.
“Thank you.”  I said, and held the bear.  The boy had very clear speech for his age, I thought.  “What do you like about Walt Disney’s magic brush?”  I asked.
“Oh, I dunno.  The colors and Tinkerbell’s wand.  If you’re not Walt Disney, who are you?”
“I’m nobody, anymore.  I used to be a lady.”  I changed into the hot brunette with the red dress and pumps.  “But I didn’t look like this.  I was flat chested, short-waisted, and had bad feet.”
“Oh.”  Said the little boy.  “Make the man with mustache come back.”  I did so.
“What’s your name?”  I asked.
“Tommy, what if I told you I was from somewhere a long ways off.”
“So.”  Tommy the towhead yawned, and his eyelids sagged towards sleepiness.
“Tommy you can change the world if you try.”
“Nkay.” Tommy drifted to sleep.