I was supposed to go for a long run with a friend early this morning, but as it’s cold, wet and rainy where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I stayed up late last night, writing, I called my friend five minutes prior, left a meek, apologetic voice mail and surrendered back to bed. From there, I proceeded to have one of the most vivid, odd dreams I’ve had in quite some time.
I dreamed it was 1945 and I was watching the pennant race, as baseball returned from World War II. That was the year where, leading up to the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs, someone asked Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown who he thought would win and he replied, “I don’t think either of them can.” Baseball suffered from 1942-45, while the bulk of its stars went in the military. For some reason in my dream, I knew this; I caught a foul ball that, for reasons my dream didn’t explain, had quotes from sportswriters on it (this never happens in real life, ever.) I looked for Brown’s quip, but it wasn’t there. Someone sitting next to me in the stands instructed me to throw the ball back, so I kissed it and threw it back.
In early childhood I developed an ability to know when I was dreaming. It took awhile to hone the skill (most of first grade, if I remember correctly) but eventually, I could do fun things like ride my bicycle in the middle of an intersection and tell off people that irritated me. Had I been on my game this morning, I would have made myself one of the ballplayers in my dream, but in recent years, my brain has developed a sense of propriety. It rarely lets me dream in things I can’t do in real life.
What I have retained, for the most part, is this sense to know when I’m dreaming, or at least to be aware that something in it is not as it should be. This morning, it took the form of having Don Newcombe as an essential member of the Tiger pitching staff. It made sense at first (and the idea of letting blacks play prior to 1947 should have made sense to owners of that era, dream or no) but I later became aware that my dream was set before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.
I awoke shortly thereafter.