I had a dream in the middle of the night. I was suggesting to Mer that she needed an audit report that would display in columns rec #, name, previous data, new data, and who made the change. I think I saw the report. I don’t know if it was for Probate Court or Abogada Press or something else. We were in my office. I crossed the room for some reason and returned. In the NW corner of the room, milk crates were stacked. At the top, was a plant. Water started dripping, as if the plant had been over-watered. Suddenly, more water gushed from the ceiling itself. As we started to panic, water poured down like rain from the entire ceiling – a downpour indoors. (My observer-self wondered if recent construction nearby had damaged the roof, although there hasn’t been any recent construction nearby.) We ran to the hallway and I said, “Call Joe and Sally.” (My observer-self thought it was unfair to bring the 80-year-old neighbors into the mess.) There was a phone hanging on the wall in the hallway, where there is none in reality. I woke up, marveling at the vividness of the report, the rain, and the phantom phone.
In the dream, I was visiting a lab. Someone held up a printout. In the header, there were three sets of numbers (possibly one or more dates), flush left, centered, flush right. Each date appeared in blue and underlined, like an unvisted link. Each number was followed by a space and a lowercase-m. The lab workers speculated about this problem. I said, “bring up the page and let’s look at it.” Somebody brought the page up on a small wall-mounted screen; everyone stared rather blankly at it. I said, “look at the source.” The keyboard operator hesitated. “Press Ctrl+F4.” Simultaneously, the guy next to me said, “Press Shift plus (something) (something).” “Or that,” I said. This guy may have been Lem from Better Off Ted. (A delightful corporate-science comedy. Cancelled.) As the others wandered off, I stepped up to the screen. The keyboard jutted from the wall. It was about the size of a netbook keyboard, although uniquely wide. There were not very many keys. A large area was taken up by some formulas – it looked like a tiny whiteboard on the keyboard. I couldn’t find a PgDn key, so I used the down arrow to move through the code. “Hmmm,” I said, surprised, “It’s a literal.” (An actual ‘m’ appeared in the source code.) Speaking to someone across the room, I said, “I can show you how to fix this.” She seemed unenthusiastic. Another person (Leonard from The Big Bang) offered, “You could use Room _____ upstairs, I guess.” “No, I can show you here, now. It won’t take 5 minutes. Fifteen at the most.” I woke up.
That last matter is the application of the Three Times Rule that developed years ago. Whenever I quoted to a client how long a computer-related project would take, Merri joked, “times 3.” Well, “joked.” It always took longer than quoted / expected.
This is the second keyboard dream I’ve had recently (no real surprise, although the nature of the keyboards has been). Moreover, this is the third recent dream that could be job-stress related. Considering that I haven’t worked in two months and don’t plan to work for another four, it seems odd timing. Perhaps I’m deep into decompression or my subconscious wants to remind me I’m not missing anything. Except a paycheck. There’ll be more, won’t there? (Simpson’s reference.)
In the dream, I entered a large room for a meeting. I approached a podium to check in. A woman said, “Press 3 – 5.” I looked at the top of the podium, which featured a large joystick on the left and three buttons at the bottom:   . The guy in front of me stared dumbly at the controls. I pushed him aside, but also stared without comprehension at the maddeningly dream-like interface. A guy (that guy?) said, “There’s the  button,” pointing to an area above the others, mixed in with buttons of various types, none of which had characters I remember.
At that point, I *felt* the involvement of a part of my mind that wasn’t caught up in the dream. That part speculated this was a test. I imagined – I did not see in the dream, but imagined about the dream – that there was a small screen, one line tall, a few characters wide and that whoever could perform the instructions despite this absurdly adverse setup would be selected. (For what?)
Later, awake, and telling the dream to Merri, I wondered if the guy I pushed out of the way was me. Not just in the sense of “you are everyone you meet in a dream.” Impatient with my own failing, I pushed myself out of the way. But I think the voice that identified the  was not the external narrator who hijacked the dream.
I looked out the front door of our house to see a school bus across the street. The bus driver was Gail Joralemon (a friend). A very long leash trailed out the driver’s window to Luke (our new dog), who was trotting around – and under – the bus. I ran down the street, not behind the bus but on a course to intercept it at the stop sign at the corner. I could see Gail in the review mirror the whole time I ran. She turned her head and saw me as she slowed to a stop.
– – – – –
In telling this dream to Merri, I suddenly realized that my house was on the east side of the street in the dream, but the west side in the real world. Mirror dream (in more than one way).
I was riding in the backseat of my Mom’s convertible. Robert Coontz was driving – and fast! Smithka was in the other front seat – or was it Merck? He (whichever) asked me how things are going. I replied, “I’ve been having a lot of dreams lately.” I added, “often transcendental,” wondering if I’d chosen the right word.[*] Robert zipped through generic narrow East Coast streets. I realized he was going the wrong way down a one way street. As the road curved right, Robert yelled, “almost missed it!” and pulled hard left, leaving the road. I thought I was going to die as we crashed through bushes to a stop.
Standing outside the car, I was trying to gather a mess of colorful strings and rags (parachute? hammock?). Michal Patten walked up and said something. I woke up.
[*] Surreal seems more apropos of a dream in which I discuss my dreams – possibly with a dead man.
I was in a movie theater. Some seats were vacant, but there were people in every row. No one was with me, but a woman sat a couple of seats over, on the aisle, with me against the upholstered wall. The crowd was a little rowdy. Someone in front of me passed back a sandwich wrapped in plain paper. I didn’t take it, so the woman grabbed it, giving me a “are you kidding?” look. The previews started and seemed to go on forever. One preview didn’t seem to be a preview – it seemed like a movie had started, but not the one I expected. Abruptly, the preview/movie stopped, the curtains closed and the lights went up. The hubbub around me didn’t change to indicate any outrage that we hadn’t seen our movie. I decided to leave, gathering up my jacket and camera bag.
On the way out, I stopped at the office, which was large and surrounded by plexiglass. A crude slot was cut into the plastic near one of the half dozen office denizens. I leaned toward the slot and the worker did as well (unconsciously bowing to each other). I said, “I feel sick. Can I get a refund?” (Why not just tell the truth, I wondered.) “Sure,” he said, “it’ll just take some time.” I looked at him and he looked back very meaningfully: “Seriously, it’ll take a while.” He produced a half-sheet form which required the signature of a supervisor. He mentioned an odd amount that was less than I had paid, but better than nothing.
As I waited, I noticed other people standing nearby. I reached into my pocket and pulled out two lens caps, one much smaller than the other. I dropped the smaller lens cap and started looking for it on the floor, which had several lens caps of various sizes. Somebody held up a much-too-large cap and cracked a cryptic joke. Not my lens cap.
A group of athletic men in suits appeared, raving about Windows 7. (I guessed they had just seen the movie I wanted to see.)
I decided to give up on my refund. When I went back to the window slot, there was now an area several feet across between my side of the glass and the office. This area was like a terrarium. A small tree leaned up and over the glass, into the office. Near the edge where the tree hung over the glass, a half dozen or more turtles were climbing the tree, trying to get into the office. A small turtle slipped and fell back into the terrarium.
As I made my way towards the street, I thought Merri might be worried, so I used my cell phone to call her. She was fine. We talked for a moment before I woke up.
I was walking in a dreamlike version of our neighborhood. We looked over a low wall into a classic southwestern yard – gravel, brush, weeds – and saw two roadrunners. Then, I noticed two smaller, younger roadrunners, though too big to call chicks. I asked Mer, “Did you see the babies?” I looked again and, now, the two smaller birds were on the back of yet another, medium sized juvenal roadrunner (fifth bird not previously seen). The two smaller birds were stacked 1-2-3 on the back of the third bird (er, fifth bird). All five birds were moving constantly around the yard. As our group moved on down the street, Dr Dave Mehlman, ornithologist, asked me, “Did you get a picture?” From down the block, Mer responded, “I have a camera!” “You have my camera,” I said. She handed it over and I moved quickly back to the roardunner yard. I turned the camera on without first removing the lens cap, which caused the cap to pop off on its own. I looked down at the unnaturally large camera to see a setting I’ve never seen before, like 2 battery terminals lit up. The camera made strange noises and the moment it clicked, I tossed it, sure it was going to blow up in my hands. Instead, the camera bounced slightly as it hit the ground. When I picked the camera up, the arms connecting the absurdly large LCD screen to the camera (on top, instead of at the back) were bent. I straightened the connection out as best I could and returned to the yard.
As I framed a shot of the five roadrunners, they were about to dash around a corner and out of sight. Suddenly, Mer rushed forward with several people. “I brought more people to see,” she said.
At the this point, the roadrunners were gone, replaced by five small mountain lions. One of the three young was aggressively pouncing on the other, smaller cats. I said, “We’ve got to get away. If those lions come over the wall, we’re in trouble.” I was running up some stairs, looking for the best place to hide when I woke up.