Due to a serious health battle, Kathi takes medicine to get her rest. Some of this medicine makes her say odd things. Or maybe Kathi has always said odd things, and I’m just catching on.
One night a few months ago, lying in bed, I asked Kathi if she preferred to read or watch television. She said she wanted to watch TV. “Babies read book,” she explained. “Grownups watch TV.”
Later, as she was dozing off, she asked me, “Do you ever park around back in your dreams?” I said yes, as this seemed the more productive path for the discussion. “Then you have to wait to get in your own dream,” she said, laughing. “I mean, who’s in charge?” This was the end of the discussion, I thought, but then I woke to hear Kathi, still asleep, saying, “That’s how it works. You park in the back and wait on line. You meet some nice people.”
Kathi: The people want to know if we need anything else.
Sam: What people?
Kathi: The people in my dream.
Sam: I don’t know how to respond to people in your dream.
Kathi: They turn into real people later.
Sometimes I really have no idea what we are talking about. This was the case when Kathi suddenly started telling me—well, I don’t what she was telling me. “I had this scarf, and it was the white Japanese lantern frame that bends in and out, but it’s really a person. You put it around your neck, and it’s the ‘you can’t go to sleep now’ or the ‘you can’t wake up now’ lady. But here’s the thing about the shoes—they come in a bucket, and they’re sparkling. You end up wanting to give them all away, but you’re not sure, and eventually they end up in the garbage.”
Sometimes Kathi has good ideas (if you’re stoned), like when she suggested we could do a reality show called “Senior Moment” starring her 85-year-old mother Betty. And reflecting back on her stay in the hospital in Miami last November, Kathi complained that we had failed to take advantage of the availability of the bottomless Jell-O. “You could have a VIP room with all the Jell-O you can eat.”
Another time I woke up to hear Kathi saying, “Let’s invent a new game that’ll take the world by storm: “Naps vs. Apps.” You could have smart-phone apps and napkins and the napkins would creep up on the apps and (here Kathi made her hand sneak up on my head and grab it) cover them.” I agreed this sounded like a winner. Kathi rolled over and went back to sleep.
Then there was the idea for taxis in New York, “little black ones that have Slinkies all over them—they could be called slaxis.” When I asked why we needed these, she had an answer: “They’re fun, they’re polka dot, and they bounce off each other.”
Two of Kathi’s most intriguing comments came while we were traveling in China and Indonesia on important national security business. One night she woke up and told me she had received a Message: “Go see Tovar in the Mission.” The Mission is a district of San Francisco, but when I asked who Tovar was, she had no idea.
Then, on the plane flight back to the United States, Kathi said, “What would you prefer—a camel that was an embroidered wall hanging, or one that was made out of tiles on the wall?”
“Well,” I improvised, “tile is pretty much permanent—but then, a gorgeous hanging would be something.”
Kath dozed again, and I thought that was the end of it. But then she said, “What if I told you it was already installed?”
“Well . . .”
“You know these things can be done from anywhere.”
“It’s a pretty magnificent camel.”
But when we got home there was no sign of the camel. Tovar—please get in touch. We need you.