Not Enough Sleep 

I am walking through the park towards the end of summer. While the park feels remote as it is in the hills and surrounding by trees, brush, and lush grasses, it is not too far away from the town where I went to college to get my undergraduate degree. I am looking at the creek down in a small gully as I pass over an asphalt bridge marked for bicycles, when a car drives slowly by.

A man in the car asks me for directions. I tell him what he needs to know, but then he asks for a big favor. He seems pretty desperate in a polite sort of way, so I tell him that I would be glad to help him out. I get in his car, and he takes a short drive to his house. He is a heavy set man, with cropped dusty blond hair and a bushy beard. He seems to carry around a plodding sadness with him, but I take that as evidence of his persistence and earnestness. He seems like he is a hard worker from who life occasionally demands too much. He says his name is Osbritch.

He explains that he and his wife have just moved out to the west coast from the mid-west. They are obviously mid-westerners as his house is decorated in that mid-west country style and his politeness seems genuinely habitual. He has two babies and he needs help feeding them. He struggles to get each into their high chairs, and it is obvious that he hasn't done this too much as he nearly drops one of squirmy babies out on to the floor. With a reaching strength, he manages to juggle the baby back into a stable hold, and we set about feeding the children.

Once fed, I look around at his house from my seat at the kitchen table. This home is attached to his farm business. The babies happily eat their snacks at the table as I watch him get up and start doing a little inventory at a few of the displays. He's over worked, but doesn't say anything about it.

At this point his wife comes home. Her personality is the opposite of his. While they're both friendly, she seems full of energy, talkative, and bright. He lives his life under the gloomy grey cloud of responsibility; she lives her live in the full, almost carefee, sunlight. Her name is Saija. Again, both of them are mid-westerners, and their Scandinavian ancestry is suddenly and obviously apparent. If he comes from the grainy farm lands of Kansas, she must come from the cold snowy north of Minnesota.

I immediately take a liking to Saija. She introduces herself as Osbritch goes about his business. She explains that she and her husband have moved out here to go to college. I ask which one, and she explains that it is the same one that I went to nearby those few years earlier. "No kidding," I say. I ask her what her major is, and she says "English," the same major I had in college. I explain all of this to her, and we share the common bond of the same interest. I offer my experiences as a source of wisdom about her future path. I tell her who I thought the best instructors were and how I think it best to navigate through the administrative bureaucracy. I offer my general wishes of good luck to her as way of support. I talk all about my experience in the graduate program at grad school, eventually explaining that I am currently studying design. She says she plans to become an English teacher. I really like Saija.

Osbritch comes back into the kitchen and sits down at the end of the breakfast bar. I ask him his name again, and how to pronounce it, as I want to make sure I got it right. I have made two new friends that I don't want to forget. "Osbritch and Saija," he says. I repeat them, but I can't get the handle on the exact Scandinavian pronunciation. He smiles and says it doesn't matter, even after I repeat their names a third time trying to get it right.

And then I wake up.

20 October 2009
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