Good morning, everybody.
I was sitting at a cafe. The cafe was very large, with a rustic kind of feel to it. The floors were stone tile. The walls may have been yellow-painted plaster or stucco, with crevices of vanilla white exposed here and there. There were a lot of people all around.
I may have been sitting with a friend. But my friend may have gotten up to get something else from the front counter. I now noticed a man sitting at a table to my right. The man was tall, white, and muscular. He was wearing a business suit. At first I thought the man was going to take a snobby view toward me. But instead he noticed that I was reading an interesting book. He asked me what the book was about.
I started telling the man about the book when two black men walked up to the man's table. They were friends with the man. Each of them made a fist and knocked it (side to side, not front to front) against the man's fist. Both the men were tall and a bit chubby, like they had been muscular in the past, or could be muscular, but were now just losing their tone.
The man finished talking to his friends. By this time I'd kind of gone back to my own thoughts. But now the two men walked over to my table. One of the men was attracted to me. But he was shy. His friend said, "If you think he's cute, you should say something to him."
The man who liked me asked me, "What are you doing tonight?"
I wasn't interested in being with the man. So I told him, "I'm not going to do anything. I just need to go home and relax. I have a lot of stuff to do at home."
I imagined the street outside: a thin, cobblestone street with old, stucco-like buildings on either side, and patches of sunlight falling down to the street here and there. I became so focused on that view that I actually ended up out there. The two men were still behind me.
I turned to the two men and said, "Look, I'm really not interested in you. I'm sorry. I wish you'd leave me alone."
The two men turned and started walking away. I heard the man who didn't like me say something about how what I'd just said could be construed as discrimination and that now he was going to convince the man who liked me that he should sue me for harassment.
I stomped up behind the two men. But then I was staring at some old movie poster on a wooden door. I told the man (who may now have looked like Vinod Khosla?) that if he wanted to talk about discrimination, he could talk about it to my face. I was really angry. I then made some comment that implied that if the man really wanted to argue with me, I'd just kill him.
I was at "my family's house," a big house with a lot of rooms, though it was in terrible shape. I had been sitting in one room, having a talk with my mom and my brother. We may have been going over something like a business plan.
The conversation was now over. I may have had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing. I was probably living with my family. But now that I had this uneasy feeling, I may have been trying to figure out a way to stop living with my family.
But first I needed to take a shower. I went into the bathroom. I took off all my clothes and hung them up on a rack. But I realized I needed a towel. So I went down the hallway (naked???) to go grab one. But a few steps down the hallway, I could hear someone else hurrying into the bathroom. I turned around and hurried back to the bathroom. The person had already turned the shower on. There was a crack in the door. I couldn't see much. But I thought I saw someone getting into the shower.
I was really annoyed. I said out loud, "God! It's like you guys see me doing something, you know I need to do it, and so as soon as you get the chance, you stop me from doing it! God! I'm standing out here naked!"
My mom called from inside the bathroom, "You know, you don't have to be so rude about everything! I wasn't coming in here because I wanted to annoy you! I just thought now would be a good time to clean the bathroom!"
I said, "You knew someone was using the bathroom. How could you not see my clothes hanging up?"
My mom said, "I didn't see any clothes. All I saw were old, used towels that are just sparkling with filth!"
I was too annoyed to carry the conversation any further. I walked into another room. I was convinced I was going to leave this place for good. I was in a huge, but kind of cluttered, bedroom, standing right before a bed. I was trying really hard to come up with a plan of some other place in the world I could go to, where I could at least lead a fulfilling life.
But my thoughts were interrupted by two nurses pushing a naked, fat lady into the room. I suddenly wondered whether I was in an inappropriate room. But the nurses were simply pushing the woman through this room and into an adjacent one.
The woman had apparently suffered from some really bad stroke or something. She couldn't speak, and she could only barely comprehend the things spoken to her. She was being pushed to the room to have her lunch. This was being explained to her. But the woman didn't want her lunch to have a certain ingredient in it. The nurses were doing their best to convince the woman her lunch didn't have that ingredient. The woman wanted something else, too, maybe business papers. The nurses were also trying to explain to the woman that she would have what she wanted.
I was at "my office," standing just outside the square of cubicles that held my cubicle. I had taken the day off from work, but I'd had to come in to get something anyway. In the cubicle area there were two new people who'd started work just today. I knew one of them, a young man who looked like one of my old co-workers, JR. The other person was a very young and pretty woman with chestnut-brown hair and olive skin. She wore a hot pink t-shirt and black sweats.
The man and woman were both writing reports. I made a half-joking comment to the man about writing reports, maybe something to do with the web-based system for writing the reports. The man chuckled. He took the serious part of my statement and ran with it, explaining something he liked about writing reports. I agreed with him.
I saw that the man was making some kind of design on his computer screen. The design looked like a pink background with spray-paint-like squiggles all over it. This inspired me to tell the man that I really liked the artistic side of the report writing process. The man agreed with me.
The woman had gotten my attention somehow. Her desk was just outside the square of cubicles, so she was right by me. She may have had her knees against my torso, like she was sitting curled up in her chair. I was aroused by this. But I was also a little ashamed for being aroused. The girl looked extremely young now, maybe not even in her teens yet. But she was really turning me on.
The young man seemed to notice my attraction to the girl. So he wanted to compete with me for the girl's attention. The girl spoke to us about some photo project she had been involved with. Somehow the project may have involved my aunt and her youngest daughter. Somehow the pictures had improved in quality as time had gone on.
The girl opened up a book of photos. Most of them were "family photos," although they appear to me now to have been photos of young men and women at a high school or college party. There were lots of young faces, illuminated in the dark by flash bulbs.
But the photos changed to photos of people in Africa. And suddenly I was "inside" the photos, though not interacting with them at all. I was standing outside among a group of people. Some people stood. Some people sat in folding chairs. The group was loose and relaxed, sitting out on a concrete curb and even in the middle of a wide dirt road.
Everybody seemed to be dressed in Carnival clothing. The clothing was all yellow, green, and black. The women and men wore smallish, spandex or lycra, underwear-like garments. The women had skirt-like garments over the underwear. The men may have worn more cloth-like garments over their chests, something like a mix between a flag and a toga.
Suddenly there was an earthquake. The tremors were very quick. But they were strong enough to make one or two people fall over. The people who didn't fall laughed at the people who fell. The people who'd fallen stood up, shook themselves off, and laughed as well.
I got the feeling that I was watching a film. I couldn't hear anything, but I could see motion. But I could also feel the atmosphere. I didn't know how this could be. I suddenly got the idea that I was reviewing some new "photo experiment" technology that my cousin had created and tested, and that this series of "photos" had been the subject of my cousin's first test.
But then there was another tremor. Suddenly everybody became very serious. They knew the earthquake was probably mild. But they knew that they'd better get to an earthquake shelter, just to be safe. Almost all of them stood up and calmly, but quickly, walked toward an earthquake shelter.
I was left with only a couple of people, probably the older people of the town. One of them stood up to interact with me -- or, actually, with my cousin. It was like I was not only seeing through my cousin's eyes, but also speaking the words my cousin had spoken while she was down in Africa, testing out this new technology.
The man coming up to interact with the woman had a huge head. His forehead was about three times the size of the rest of his head. His eyes looked wise and gentle. But his mouth was thin and featureless, almost like a cartoon drawing of a shy child's mouth. Nevertheless, this man was considered one of the leaders of the town, and one of the toughest and most violent of the town's men.
I had a feeling he was acting kindly toward my cousin only because he eventually hoped that she would slip up and offend him in some way, so that he could kill her. This made me reflect on how brave my cousin had actually been to get this kind of footage. Not only was she braving earthquakes, she was befriending some extremely violent people.