Good morning, everybody.
I was probably out driving through some desert, possibly with some other people, such as my mom. It was daytime. The sky hung low with heavy, grey clouds. I was afraid of a thunderstorm coming. We were headed to some particular place in the desert, so we could take care of some task.
But I suddenly remembered that there was another place in the desert -- some place in Texas, I remembered -- where Wal-Mart had built a "green" store. The Wal-Mart was "green" because it sold "green" food. This meant food that was made in a way that didn't hurt the environment. But it also meant healthy food. The "green" Wal-Mart in Texas was a test store. If it was successful, Wal-Mart would build more like it all over the country.
We weren't necessarily near this part of Texas. But I felt like if we were in the desert, we had to go check out the Wal-Mart before we took care of the rest of our task.
I was now in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. The sky was the same. The parking felt enormous, but kind of grey, old, and dirty. The front of the Wal-Mart store also looked old. The store actually had a different name on the front, in green lettering.
I wasn't sure this was the correct Wal-Mart. So I asked a woman who was pushing a line of carts into the store. The woman was short and a tiny bit thick-framed, with copper-colored skin and long, black hair. The woman didn't really answer me. She just let me know, somehow, that she was annoyed by me.
A young man came up to us when he saw the woman was annoyed by me. He was blonde, pale-skinned, and muscly, with his hair in a square, spiky cut. He spoke roughly with me, trying to get me to go away from the woman.
But the woman told the man that I was just trying to figure out whether this was a "green" Wal-Mart. The man thought that by "green" I just meant a place that only sold vegetables. I tried to explain to him what "green" really meant.
But the young man didn't really want to listen to me. As we approached the sliding glass door entrance, the young man walked away from the woman and me, saying that if I wanted to find out if this was a green store, all I had to do was walk inside
I was at a hotel, getting breakfast. But I was in some kind of strange back-room, kind of area. It was almost like some sort of connection to the kitchen. But it was just a long hallway. Hallway had beige walls and beige-tiled floors, and was lit with gentle incandescent light.
A counter ran along the right wall of the hallway. Over the counter, the wall was completely lined with fixtures that looked partly like cupboards and partly like coffee dispensers -- or coffee-bean dispensers. These fixtures held all the food that the hotel kitchen would use in making its breakfasts.
I was working at the hotel (but not for the hotel) at the moment. So I was thought of as a staff member. I, therefore, took all my breakfasts directly from the hotel's stock of supplies, instead of having to wait for the kitchen to make breakfast for me.
But I was having trouble finding what I wanted for breakfast. All I could find so far was some kind of bread, possibly a bagel, and some kind of flavored cream cheese, probably strawberry-flavored.
I walked through the hallway and scanned the fixtures, looking for more food. But nothing seemed appropriate. The hallway went in something like a square loop, which I traversed clockwise.
At some point I had reversed my walk, and was traversing the loop counter-clockwise. But something like a door made me stop walking. It was like a kitchen door. I knew that beyond the door were people who were not hotel staff. I was too shy to be seen by them. Besides, I knew that they had their breakfast, and I had mine. I had to get my own breakfast without going out there to look for it.
Now the fixtures were on the left wall instead of the right wall. I walked counter-clockwise through the first part of a loop. But then the fixtures were on the right wall again, and I was walking clockwishe. I kept thinking to myself, wondering what kind of food would be appropriate for breakfast, other than a piece of a bagel and some strawberry cream cheese. But nothing really came to mind.
At some point I was facing a wall of fixtures. I turned away from it to find myself in a place like a Whole Foods. But it was empty of people, and, it seemed, largely empty of food and furniture. But it seemed a lot more likely that I would find something I wanted for breakfast here.
I walked through an open space, where usually all the service islands for the Whole Foods salad bar would be. I walked past a few empty glass display cases, which probably would once have held meats.
I then came to a small area like a soup shop. There were a few people here. One of the people was JS, the head of my department at one of my old jobs. She and one other woman were customers. There were a couple of workers as well.
There was some sign up on the wall saying what was being served today. All I was really looking for was breakfast. But the main service area was just a set of big, black pots filled with soup and something that looked like meat and sesame noodles.
I didn't want any of this. But I also didn't want to look like somebody who was so tasteless that he wouldn't want any of this food. I figured the other customers would think I was vulgar. So I snuck away from the area, hoping nobody would notice me.
I was back in the huge, empty space. I was walking past the empty glass cases again. Now I saw a lot more breads and cream cheeses. I wondered if it was okay for someone to eat that much bread and cream cheese, or only to have bread and cream cheese for breakfast. But I saw a pineapple-flavored cream cheese. I thought that if cream cheeses were flavored, then it wasn't such a bad thing for someone only to have bread and cream cheese for breakfast.
At this point, I may have started to see other foods behind the glass case. But I don't think I figured out what they were, or what they could end up being.
I was with a few other people in some area like a cafeteria in a hospital building. But there were only three or four tables in this area. The tables were all tall, and they stood in a line, from the left wall to the right wall. The right wall was green. The left wall was partly a green wall and partly a window-wall, with the inside coated with some reflective, silvery material.
I and at least one child had to jump from one table top to the next. This was supposed to be a test of our athletic ability. A man was monitoring our progress. One boy was currently jumping across the tables. I stood on the floor, watching the boy. The man stood on the floor, on the opposite side of the tables from me, walking along with the boy and guiding him.
The boy had been jumping from the left to the right. But when the boy reached the right wall, the man told him he had to jump all the way back to the far left table. The boy jumped. He floated through the air kind of dizzily, almost as if he were flying. It seemed like he made it all the way across the room. But I'm pretty sure he landed right back at the right table.
The boy then tried the jump again. By accident, the boy jumped through the right wall. He reappeared through the left wall and landed on the left table. He jumped on all the tables and ended up back at the right table. This was the end of his test.
The man said, "Now you see the secret of this. It's jumping through the wall. You come back around. Like in the Pac-Man game. It wastes much less energy than jumping all the way across the room. But you did it by accident this time. And you can do it on purpose."
I was now standing on the far left table. Apparently I was supposed to show the boy that it was completely possible to jump through the walls on purpose. But I was unsure of myself. I was certain I couldn't even have done the across-the-room "jump" the boy had first done. I couldn't jump very far at all. And the tables were -- now, anyway -- pretty far away from the walls to begin with. Would I even hit the wall?
But it was my task at least to try to jump to and through the wall. So I turned toward the left wall. As I did I saw, in a corner of the room off to my left, JS. She seemed to be monitoring my progress as well.
I knew I couldn't disappoint JS. So I jumped off the table. The wall was at least five meters away. I was surprised that I seemed to be reaching the wall with no problem. But I wondered if I would get through it.
The wall was the silvery-coated window wall. (And, now that I think of it, I didn't see my reflection in the dim, shimmery material.) I cringed as I approached the wall. But I got through it.
But I didn't end up on the other side of the room. Instead, I ended up outside, at night. I was in some weird kind of concrete space, a set of balconies, like the twisting portions of a parking garage. I fell down a couple of stories and finally landed in a narrow rectangle.
I wondered what my failure was. I heard the man's voice in my head. The man told me that I'd jumped through an area -- something like a transition area -- instead of jumping through a regular piece of wall. The man seemed to think this was normal, as I'd been dealing with some kind of transition space before I'd come to the jumping training.
I knew the man was right, and I could actually remember having come from the transition space before the training. But I also knew that the window-wall was a door to the transition space. If I'd only gone through the regular portion of the wall, I would have jumped through to the other side of the room just fine.