Friday, April 24, 2009
"I had a funny dream," Mater said, prickling my attention.
She has been on leave from work for twelve months due to a shoulder injury. That period of uncertainty culminated in a recent diagnosis which might have quite settled the matter as regards her eventual return. A peculiar hand of cards has, however, been dealt to my mother at this time: her employers have calculated recent losses and analysed the recession in Ireland, and have decided to provide a redundancy package to those who volunteer to leave their position.
The prospects certainly seem gloomy for those souls who intended to hold onto their jobs but for Mater, with one vacillating foot already out the door, it comes as an aptly-timed offer.
Still, she wavered. Her friends at work, a stable routine, an altogether human need for a sense of purpose: for weeks she weighed these against the improbability of ever again being able for a normal working life.
She tossed and turned in slumber, wondering what to do. Then one night, in the wee hours, she had a dream in which Tom Waits paid a visit to discuss the redundancy money and ultimate decision.
Tom Waits, fine character that he is, has growled many a money tune- such as ''Til The Money Runs Out' and 'On The Nickel' and he is legendary for his habit of purchasing clothing in thrift stores, so I was hungry for details about his attire and general appearance.
"He was in a nice suit, with a black shirt," Mater recalled. "He looked very well. He had a spiral notepad and he was making little notes all through the conversation. He did a lot of writing."
And Mr. Waits' urgent monetary suggestion?
"Accept the offer," were his words, "but don't spend money you don't have. Invest it. Be careful with it."
"But I bought a ticket to see you at your concert last year," my mother artfully responded.
Tom Waits just smiled; then he vanished. Presumably he had sailed off to another dream to dispense his inestimable advice.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:30 PM