Good morning, everybody.
I was in a room with a number of other people. There was something like a formal presentation going on in the room. But the room wasn't very formal. Everybody was sitting all over the place, at all different angles, in all different kinds of chairs, some people even under blankets. The room was mostly dark, with some bright light shining from the back of the room and throwing a little bit of light on everything else. The presenter was a young woman who may have been something like everybody's boss.
At some point during the presentation I felt I'd heard everything I personally needed to hear. I grabbed some other guy and headed out of the room with him. We walked down a narrow, fire escape-like staircase that ran along the side wall of a lower room. The lower room had a couple windows letting in a lot of natural light. But this room was also in disarray: a computer and keyboard sat on some kind of crate, and there seemed to be blankets everywhere.
The guy and I discussed something that had to do with whatever kind of business I was trying to take care of. Once we had come to a conclusion, we decided to split up. I'm not sure where the guy went. He may have stayed in the lower room. I went back up to the upper room.
Not long after I got back to the upper room I got a call on my cell phone. I answered the phone, stood up, and walked out of the room. Now there were a lot of men, like business men in their forties and fifties, casually dressed in t-shirts, shorts, and sunglasses. They were all talking out business ideas with each other.
The call I had taken was some kind of job offer. The guys, who currently worked for the woman, just like I did, saw that I was talking over a job offer. I knew some of the guys were tempted to tell the woman what I was doing. One of the guys may not have wanted to say anything to the woman. But he did ask me why I was talking to someone about taking a job offer.
I was now walking down a few very narrow, steep steps, off of a cabin porch and down to a clearing before a calm forest. I held the phone to my ear and asked the man -- who was neither near me nor on the phone -- whether he could blame me. After all, I said, the woman hadn't given me work in more than five weeks. I needed a better guarantee of steady work than that. And the place giving me the job offer could give me steady work.
I was now walking, or taking some kind of track-bound, cart-like vehicle, down a long stairway or slope that ran underneath a huge, suspended passenger airliner. The top of the airliner, I knew, was completely sawed off. The seating area was completely visible. Both the airliner and the slope I was moving down were apparently hanging high up in the air, maybe even over the clouds.
It was now like the cart-like vehicle I was driving in was a family's vehicle, maybe even an SUV. There had been a building at the top of the slope. The building was a hospital. The family driving this family vehicle had picked up the oldest son of the family (who was, now, maybe in his late thirties or early forties) up from the hospital.
The son was practicing to be a doctor. He was Hispanic, kind of overweight, with a pudgy face and finely done, graying black hair. He wore a black button-up shirt and some nice slacks. He looked healthy, but tired and frustrated from the day. He was so tired that, even though he seemed to have some pent up aggression in him, he was carrying it around with an almost elegant sort of resignation.
The mother of the family, a very old, thin woman wearing a dress almost like a flannel nightgown, patted the man on the shoulder and told him not to worry. The mother knew things were frustrating. But they'd all turn out alright. The son had been thinking about giving everything up. The mother's speech either made the son think it would be alright, after all, to give everything up, or that it would be better to just hold on through the frustration until conditions improved.
I was in some place like a movie theater. The theater was gigantic and completely filled with people. But the seats were all turned, in huge, orderly blocks, at strange angles, so that only a few blocks of seats were pointed directly at the movie screen. I seemed to recognize a lot of the people in the theater. It was like this event was some event for a group of friends or professional colleagues of which I'd been a part.
Sitting just a few rows down from me and across a strangely set aisle were a few young men I'd known from a previous job. They looked very healthy, vibrant, and well-dressed. They were very beautiful. They had been kind to me in the past. But I felt like nowadays they wouldn't have the obligation to be kind to me. They might just treat me rudely, or at least without consideration. I hoped they wouldn't notice me, so I wouldn't have to start up an interaction with them which would ultimately lead to a compromise of my feelings.
But somehow I dropped my glasses and they landed all the way over at the men's feet. One of the men, who didn't look like, but reminded me of, my old co-worker CJ, picked up the glasses. He noticed that one of the arms was broken and fixed in a tacky way. I hoped he wouldn't call attention to this.
We were all now sitting at a dinner table, in a gigantic room packed full with crowded dinner tables and beautifully dressed people. Sitting just behind me at another table was an incredibly beautiful and beautifully dressed, young, blonde woman. The man holding my glasses seemed about to give the glasses back to me. I hoped he would give them back soon and not mention anything about the damaged arm in front of the beautiful woman.
But the man began gabbing away about the damaged arm and the tacky way I fixed it up. At first it seemed like he was talking about it just because he thought it was a little bit funny -- quirky, kind of like I have always been known to be. Then he thought it was interesting in a kind of involving way. Then, finally, he seemed to think it was sad, like he didn't know how I could have gotten to a point, mentally, where I thought walking around with eyeglasses like this was okay.
I didn't know how I'd gotten to this point, either. I may finally have taken the glasses back. I probably looked down at the glasses and hoped that something about my condition would at least draw the beautiful woman to me. I'd been attracted to her. Now I was sure she didn't like me. But maybe she would like me, after all, if there was something in all of my messed up character that drew sympathy out of her.
I was out underneath a tarp with a number of other people. I was involved in business with two older women, both of whom had something to do with the fashion industry. I had made some mistake, something having to do with losing my nerve, at some point, so that I didn't speak up about something. This basically made one of the women decide she wasn't going to do any business with me.
I knew this was bad. With the woman's business, I'd be in extremely good financial shape. Without the woman's business, I'd be nearly destitute. But I could physically feel my business opportunity with the woman snap shut, like a click at the base of my spine. I also saw the image of an object like a black, plastic makeup disc, snap shut.
There were some other people under the tarp. Most of the people were young. Maybe some of them had been rude and unkind to me, causing me to lose my nerve. I felt like I now needed to fight back against them. I probably knew it wouldn't make a difference regarding the business between me and the women. But I felt like I could at least prove that I wouldn't always lose my nerve when people were mean to me.
But I didn't really have the opportunity to fight back against the young people. Nobody was really paying attention to me anymore. Or, if they were paying attention to me, it was like people would pay attention to some dopey, harmless, but overall nice, friend of theirs.
This mood made me feel more comfortable around everybody. I had originally been standing all by myself, at the very far edge of the tarp. Now I worked my way a little bit in toward the center of the tarp. I was trying to find the older women, to see if I could patch up my relationship with them.
One of the older women was standing behind an easel that had a huge pad of presentation paper propped up on it. I couldn't see the woman. But I knew she had been talking about some problem she was having. It was either an idea problem or a mechanical problem. But as I thought the problem over, I realized I could probably pretty easily come up with the solution.
I tried to get the woman's attention so I could tell her this. But I didn't want to step behind the easel and face her directly until I'd had the opportunity to speak with her a bit and soften the mood between us. I believe I did manage to speak a few words with her. I seemed to be getting back into the woman's good graces.
But as I was doing this, an SUV pulled up maybe about fifty or so meters from the tarp. It was my family. My mother, brother, and some other family members got out of the car. The young people under the tarp pointed out to me that my family was standing over there. They made me feel obliged to check in on my family rather than continue my conversation with the older woman.
Somehow, maybe because it had been pointed out to me by the young people, I knew that the older woman was having some kind of trouble with a tube of lip balm. I knew my brother also had some lip balm. But I was again convinced, somehow, that what I needed to do was fix my brother's lip balm, not the older woman's.
So I walked over to my family's car. My brother showed me his lip balm, which was in a black, plastic, disc-like container. His lip balm may have been fine. In fact, he may have asked me if I wanted any. I had a feeling it would be rude to refuse the offer. But I really didn't want any of his lip balm. I was hesitating, trying to decide whether to accept or refuse.