Saturday, January 12, 2013

international engineering schools; cat shit; old BS; emotional sales call

Good morning, everybody.

Dream #1

I can't quite remember where I was at first. I had been having a conversation with a group of people, probably including my mother. Those people then went away. We had all been together at one location. But now we were split apart.

I may have been trying to figure out how to get back to some of the people, at least my mother. But the people were all so far away. It was like I was in the mountains and they were somewhere else, maybe in a completely different mountain range, and that my only means of getting to that other place would imply a lot of trudging and tediousness.

I was probably still in the mountains -- a sunny slope of copper pine-needle-strewn, dusty soil, with thin-trunked trees here and there around me. Before me were two women who I may have thought of as being from India. They were mother and daughter, both skinny, wearing shirts like modern t-shirts and skirts like colorful, traditional Indian skirts.

The women had explained to me either how the daughter or the daughter's lover, a beautiful, strong, young man, was going away to school in Mexico. Either the mother or both women were now trying to figure out where to live in order to be closer to the school, so that a visit to the school could be made on a somewhat frequent basis, like once a month or once a week.

I explained to the women that if they lived in India, they could take a sailing passage down straight through to Mexico. This didn't quite make sense to me (even in my dream, where usually anything makes sense!).

I was now floating over either a map of the world or the world itself. I was only getting very tight views, which were never quite in alignment with exactly what I wanted to see. But I did get the idea from everything that there was a channel of water that connected, through India, around Eastern Europe, then down under Southern Europe, then alongside the northeastern edge of South America, which was apparently where Mexico was located. Some parts of the map blinked colors like a bruisy red, indicating key locations along the journey. One of these points was the location of the university in Mexico.

One land mass struck me as very interesting. It was a large island. I thought it should have been a country itself, it was so large. But I couldn't think of what country it could be. Somehow I made my view flash the names of all the countries I was seeing. This large island still had no name over it.

But something, some words flashing over it, made me realize that the island was either the property of a number of nations or a neutral zone that was the property of no nation. But either one or a number of nations were using this island as a place for military tests, or else it struck me personally that this island would be a good place for military tests.

As I tried to figure out more about this island, to figure out exactly where it was, the mother began speaking again. She told me that the daughter's father (?) had gone abroad for university as well. I imagined the father in a black and white photo, with kind of pale skin, a broad, square jaw, wavy hair combed back a bit, and thin, pudgy eyes. The mother spoke about the father not as if he'd ever been her husband, but as if he'd been a fairy tale male figure in the life of some other, fairy-tale-like woman the mother had known, possibly a woman very much like the mother saw the daughter as being.

The mother told me that the father had gone to the XXXXX School for Electrical Engineering. She said it almost apologetically, like there was some stigma of a lower level of education or lower cultural class from a school devoted only to electrical engineering. The school had, actually, struck me at first as not being a great school. But I wanted to defend the mother's emotions and let her think that the school was good.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the school was probably a very good school. It was the school, I now reflected, of electrical engineering for the entire nation of XXXXX. In the United States, I knew, we had schools for electrical engineering for entire states, such as, I told myself, the XXXXX School for Electrical Engineering.

My view was now of the mountain slope and the two women again. I tried to tell the mother about the XXXXX School for Electrical Engineering in the United States. But I didn't express very well what a prestigious school it was. The mother said there was another school like it. I thought of MIT, though I couldn't remember what the acronym stood for. I told the mother that MIT was a good school, and that the people from there were known for being highly cultured as well as very proficient at electrical engineering.

The mother now told me a story about the father -- now, possibly, as if the father actually had been the mother's husband. But the mother now looked a lot different. She was square-framed, possibly overweight, with baggy, turtle-like skin, saggy, pale eyes, and pale red-brown hair. She wore a pink-tan or orange-tan t-shirt that somehow didn't fit her very well, like it was skewed or crooked on her body.

The mother told a story about postcards, and possibly letters, the father would send back home. The letters were apparently diligent and romantic. But they may also have had some comic, eccentric element to them. The father's method of sending the postcards may also have been eccentric somehow.

The mother kept using the word "she" when she spoke about the father. It was like she wasn't very good at English. She would say "she" when using the pronoun in the nominative sense. But when using a possessive pronoun referring to the father, she'd said "his." Occasionally she may have mixed things up even further by switching up and saying "he" and "her."

The mother may have been slightly aware of her mistake. She may even have tried to apologize for it at some point. But it became clear that she was moving through her story as quickly as she could, and struggling hard to state everything else as clearly as she could in English, and still only achieving a halting relation of her story. So she simply couldn't take the time to get every pronoun's gender correct. I did my best to listen to the mother without showing any sign that I was even aware of her mistakes.

Dream #2

I was laying on a couch in a big living room. The couch was all done up as a bed, with sheets, blankets, etc. My head lay on one of the arms of the couch. The couch was probably near a window, through which moonlight probably shone.

A cat was now on the couch with me. And instead of laying with my head on the arm of the couch, I was curled up in some strange position, so that my head was near the center of the couch, but my arms and legs were both pointed toward the same arm of the couch. I was probably also leaning against the back of the couch.

The cat had been sitting on my legs and arms. It now stood up and defecated on my hands. It just kept crapping and crapping. Before long, a few long, warm pieces of crap were piled on my hands. The cat then jumped off the couch and walked away.

I either stood up or figured I would have to stand up soon. I knew I'd need to clean the crap off my hands and the couch. But I also had to do something to the cat itself. I may have needed to clean the cat, so as, somehow retroactively, to clean the feces that had come out of the cat. I may also have thought I'd need to teach the cat to use a litter box. This also would have some kind of retroactive effect on the feces already on the couch. I may also have thought I'd need (or want?) to punish the cat by hitting it hard.

Dream #3

I was in a room that was like a living room or a bedroom in a suburban house. The room was probably unfurnished. The walls were white. The floor was white carpet. There were some windows high up on the wall letting in stark, white sunlight -- though the light may somehow have been blocked by gauzy curtains or by some kind of fabric around my own head. I sat all wrapped up in blankets on the floor. I was leaning against something like the bottom of an overturned  armchair, pressing myself against a black, mesh-like fabric.

I was listening to a conversation in a conference room. BS, my old boss from a few years ago, was speaking with some other person. The other person was telling BS how some young man had done a really good job on some project. The young man had put a lot of effort into the project, and the project had, apparently, made a lot of money for the company. So the other person felt it was only right to give the young man a raise.

But BS -- who may not even have worked for the same company as the young man and the other man! -- didn't feel that was right. BS was obviously feeling greedy for money and glory, and didn't want to portion any of it out to any other person -- especially a young man. This was all obvious in some initial, non-verbal, grunts and moans BS gave in reaction to what the other man had said. Then BS started trying to give an intelligent-sounding reasoning for why the young man deserved neither a raise, a promotion, nor recognition.

This all sounded horribly characteristic of BS to me. I felt like I needed to call BS on his creepy demeanor this time around -- if not to defend myself against what I felt he had done to me, then at least to defend another person from being victim to the same thing that had been done to me. But I may have realized, at some point, that BS and the other man had been speaking about me.

I now saw that behind the black, mesh-like fabric against which I was pressing myself (which was now at the bottom of something more like a kitchen chair than an armchair) was a Polycom conference call phone unit. I had been hearing the conversation via this unit. I also realized that my line wasn't muted. So I could speak into the room and be heard.

So, right in the middle of BS' speech on why the young man shouldn't be granted anything, I simply called out, "Ah... Old BS!" I pronounced his whole name, slowly, like an old radio announcer.

BS immediately recognized my voice. He was angry that an eavesdropper had caught him in a conversation. But he was infuriated that I personally was the eavesdropper. He shouted in rage, his shout increasing sharply in intensity.

Dream #4

I was in a room like a basement living room. There were some other people, probably young men and women, in the room. But the room was mostly dark, and I really couldn't see the other people. The other people sat close to each other. But I was kind of separated from them. We may all have been sitting on the floor, under blankets, though I may have been standing at first. The only light coming into the room was from the top of a stairwell. It was natural light, but only a few slivers of light came down into the room.

This room may have been "my office." But it may also have been some place where I and the rest of the group -- probably my co-workers -- were having some get-together or party, maybe even a slumber party. But I was still working, even though we were at this party. It may have been that we were all just waking up after the night of the slumber party, and that I was now trying to catch up on a little bit of work.

I was on an iPhone, speaking to a person in some company. I was trying to locate the head of the company, so I could make a sales pitch to that person. I was speaking with a woman who was, at first, something like the receptionist for the company.

But as I continued speaking with the woman she became something more like the daughter of the head person in the company, or possibly even one of the head people in the company herself, though she was probably still devoted to the head person as if the head person were her father. The woman, I knew was a young, black, pretty, but very stable, solid-bodied, and professional woman.

The woman at first began by acting as if she didn't have time for me and didn't want to pass me along to anybody else within the company. But as I continued my pitch and continued asking for a higher-level person within the organization, the woman got more upset. It was like I was somehow playing with her emotions in a bad way.

Somehow the family relations within this company were in disarray. It became apparent that the woman couldn't discuss the higher-level person because it made her unbearably sad. She was now so dazed by her sadness that she couldn't even carry on a coherent conversation. She told me that she had to get off the phone and that, if she felt the need to do so, she'd get back to me.

I hung up the phone. The iPhone's face was full of icons and had a lava-red background. I now stood closer to the rest of the people in the basement. I felt a little ashamed. They'd obviously just heard my whole conversation. I was a little ashamed, first of all, that I'd been caught working at a time like this, when everybody else was either sleeping or having fun. But I also felt a little ashamed that I'd been caught putting the woman on the phone into such a bad emotional state.

Now the woman called back. She was still audibly rattled by whatever emotions my sales pitch had drawn up in her. But she had put a mask of order and professional retaliation over her distress. She was speaking to me about something -- perhaps about how nobody in her company would be interested in speaking to me. But something about what she was saying also made it sound like the woman had actually gotten in contact with her lawyers, in order to press charges against me for the emotional turmoil I'd put her through.

I may have tried to justify my actions to myself, to prove to myself that there was no way the woman could bring any charges against me. But I may not have been able to do so. I may have thought that, in my carelessness, I had done something, some little thing that was now slipping my mind, that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was guilty of wrongly injuring this woman emotionally.