At my age (66), I'm always doing a sort of system check for signs of oncoming dementia. For the past few days I've been startled awake from my naps by weird nightmares that are sort of cumulative representations of horrible moments in my life.
Not my pic, by the way. I found it at this guy's blog.
I say "past few days" because I don't sleep for extended periods at night. No, I nap for 2 to 3 hours several times a day. My day has become disordered in retirement. Why the odd sleep pattern? Mostly to accommodate the sleep/nap patterns of my grandkids. Makes babysitting more effective. I nap when they do.
Earlier today, I dreamed about Kentucky Kate, a mandolin player and backup singer I worked with for two short periods. She might have been the greatest rhythm player I've ever worked with. She was also a fantastic backup vocalist in the country style.
We sounded terrific from the moment we started playing together. The vibe was so intense that when we played our first gig we drew a full house. And, the gig wasn't even advertised. That can happen in music. Audiences went wild over us.
Problem. I could barely stand Katie. She was an awful human being... a prick tease in her mid 30s driving the men nuts playing the game of bait and take away. Her current boyfriend was a prominent local DJ who managed our act. Katie was proudly and deliberately driving him insane with jealousy and sexual deprivation. She was a fucking gleeful sadist.
Despite my repeated demand that she desist, she would tell me how she drove him crazy.
"I don't believe in putting artificial chemicals in my body," she would say in her southern twang. "So I make him pull out when he's about to come."
I recognized these revelations about her ugly, clumsy sex life as attempts to make me jealous and to draw me into her prick tease games. I refused to be drawn in because I had a wife and kids, but also because I hated her sexual games and she wasn't my type. Katie had a great bottom and absolutely no top... almost an indentation where the tits should have been.
She had the most adorable little doll face and braided blonde hair that belied her sadistic, vengeful personality.
A general uproar developed around our practices and performances. Her retinue of panting stupid men showed up even for rehearsal, each one trying to figure out how to get into her pants. They all failed and only became more pathetic and determined to try again.
The Band (yes, that band!) began to notice our success. This was back in the day when all the boys were still alive and living in Woodstock. Katie was a groupie with The Band. Her boyfriend, the DJ, parlayed with the boys and we started doing local and regional opening acts.
Things fell apart quickly. Katie was the world's greatest rehearsal player in front of her retinue of slobbering male followers, and she was very good in a small club in front of a local audience. When we started standing up in front of thousands of people as an opening act, she disintegrated into a nervous mess.
The boys in The Band had spent years on the road. Katie's backstage act quickly became intolerable. She would run from one guy to the next in the warmup room, breathlessly blabbering about the size of the crowd and pleading for support to handle the pressure. The rest of us were trying to cool out and focus while she went nuts.
Our relationship began to fall apart when Katie announced that she had found a bass player for our act without consulting me. We played a few rehearsals and a few gigs with Mike, who really was a very good bass player. I slowly realized that he was a drop dead drunk who slammed down a gallon bottle of rotgut whiskey every day. In the worst of his drunken stupors, I found out through the grapevine, he had a tendency to get into serious trouble with the law.
I remember the fateful call. Katie eagerly conveyed the news that the Lone Star, then a very influential club in New York City, wanted to book us. I told her I wouldn't do it with Mike, who had become the expected fuckup and nuisance. He was also yet another slobbering puppy convinced he could get in her pants.
"He's a member of this group, now," she insisted.
I thought about it for a moment.
"Hey, Katie," I answered, "it's been great playing with you. I'll see you around town."
She mumbled something in return and I hung up the phone. We never spoke again, despite seeing one another from time to time in Woodstock.
That moment and the fiery pain in my gut as the opportunity collapsed was the nightmare from which I awakened today. I have relived the collapse of my playing relationship with Katie so many times, always wondering if there was something I could have done to preserve it.
The answer is always the same... No! I couldn't stand the rotten bitch.
Why are these nightmares troubling me now? Am I reviewing my life as I near the end? Or am I beginning the descent into dementia?