The dream is a long one and has the continuity of real life. There are pauses in conversation, there is a long in her eyes, I can see minute differences in the hues in her hair, and the people around us provide distracting background eavesdropping opportunity. A full ten seconds before the alarm goes off the dream switches to another dream where someone is tell me to get up and then the alarm goes off, the coffee maker cranks up with the bean grinding and the dogs, whom I sometimes suspect sleep on the ceiling like long tongued bats, land on top of me. It's four in the morning and if in an hour's time I'm not fed, dressed and walking out of the door I'll be late for a class two hundred miles away from where dogs have pinned me to by bed.
I make breakfast every day. I'm not one of those grab it as I go by types. I let the dogs out, check email, don't have time to respond, start breakfast, gulp coffee, let the dogs in, pet the dogs until breakfast is ready, eat breakfast, shave, shower, pet the dogs good-bye and walk out of the house before five.
I like the early morning drive. I own the road, or once upon a time I might have been able to make that claim but South Georgia is filling up. Even at five in the morning there is traffic. I'm in Valdosta before five forty-five, and leave the keys to my personal truck locked in the office but I won't realize this for thirteen plus hours. I hit the Interstate at Exit 16. I'll get off at Exit 165. At five fifty-three in the morning, I hammer down and head north.
I'm a button pusher. I hit the Scan Button on the radio and hope for some song better than the last five versions of Cute Country, R-Rated Rap, Overplayed Pop, or some song I had heard a billion times before I was sixteen. I spend a lot of time with the radio off, just me, the darkness, and more and more people all the time. At seventy miles and hour the miles tick by just faster than the minutes. Seven O'clock finds me north of Tifton and the sun is finally getting up past the party cloud dawn. Thirty minutes later and Exit one hundred and one falls behind me.
As I have said, I'm a Button Pusher of the First Order. As a radio station you've got just about five seconds to really make me happy before you're gone. I'm surfing through all the junk on the airwaves when this woman's voice stops me, "...and we continue to hear from him from the Great Beyond." Middle Georgia is littered with religious programming. Some of it pure trash, some of it impure trash, and some of it so damn weird as to be entertaining. This is a program about getting "Signs" from people who were once alive and loved but who are now dead and still loved. A woman calls in say that she had a dream where her dead mother gave her roses and the next morning she and her entire family could still smell the roses. The announcers cooed over that one for a while then someone else called in and said that their daughter had died and one night, exactly one year after her death, the smoke alarm went off. The woman's husband took the thing off the ceiling and it still went off. He took the battery out and it still went off. He smashed it on the floor and it still went off. That's when they knew it was a "Sign" from their daughter. I reached for the button and just as I was about to push it someone called in and said, "Yeah, it was her but do you realize where she was calling from to make the smoke detector go off like that?"
I damn near wrecked.