Messy Dream

What a messy, messy dream.

Setting was a combined use hotel and commercial center with offices and conference rooms. A huge, old building but in good condition, it was almost empty. It was constructed on the coast. I think it was built before World War II.

Something had just finished. There were only a few left, five or six, including me. I knew all the others but rarely saw them. All were people from other times in my life. Cast of dream stars:

  • A short, female creative writing teacher whose name I can’t remember. She was in charge. I took her classes in Germany.
  • Thomas. We were assigned together in the military at Onizuka. He was involved with the operation and situation regarding Blackhawk Down in Somalia.
  • Shawn Spieth, father of Jordan’s Spieth, the pro golfer. Shawn and I worked together at Network ICE and ISS.
  • Patricia, who worked with me at Onizuka.
  • I can’t recall the names of two others but both were male and were with me at either ISS or IBM.

So a large stretch of my careers and activities are covered by these representative people.

The conference – I don’t know what it was about – had ended. A major storm was forecast for the coast. It was well on its way.

The others were planning to leave. I didn’t think there was time. I was in my dark small room, alone, planning. The room was cluttered but comfortable and familiar. I knew that the complex was built in a series of tunnels. They were essentially constructed as a Survival, Recovery and Reconstitution Center.

The dream gets really messed up. One of the co-workers receives news his young son has died. Shawn’s son (but not Jordan) is at the shelter. He’s very sick and dies during the night. Shawn is terribly upset because his cell phone didn’t wake him. He believes he could have saved his son if it had.

It’s night, rushing toward dawn. Weather and evacuation orders have been issued. I tell the other about the tunnels. Discussions circulate about what we’re going to do.

The creative writing instructor calls us all together. We’re free to do and go where we want but meanwhile, food remains from the party. She and Patricia show us a huge stash of cakes, pies, chips, cookies, and pretzels. There is cherry pie calling me. There are other pies. ‘Help yourselves,” she says, “let’s not let it go to waste.”

Shawn signs out. His son is dead and he no longer cares. He’s leaving and taking his son’s body with him. The instructor has me sign some small plastic cards. One, green, is my membership card. On the other one, which is white, she wants me to note the date and time and some small comment about what has happened. Her instructions confuse me. The card is too small for anything meaningful, and its plastic, except for a strip where we can sign our names.

Someone notices there is ink on different surfaces. It’s Michael’s pen, they realize. Mine, I realize they’re saying. The instructor asks me, “Michael, is your pen leaking?”

“Yes,” I answer, considering the pen, my hand and the cards. The pen is a Biro. “It looks like I’m bleeding ink.”

Thomas comes to me. “Tell me everything you known about those tunnels.”

“There’s not time for that.”

“Tell me what you can.”

“This place was built on top of a warren of tunnels to survive a nuclear war. Miles of tunnels are beneath us. They go into the mountain and under the sea.”

“Then that’s where we need to go.” He nods and goes off.

I don’t care; the tunnels are where I’m going.

I look out windows. I have a radio. I can see the black storm coming. I tell the others. I began making my way down to survive. The tunnel entrances are off a huge ballroom with marble floors. I head for an entrance and see Thomas walking on the other side.

“Time to get to the tunnels,” I tell him and anyone I encounter who will listen. “We need to close the doors.” There no longer seems to be anyone else there.

That’s the dream’s abbreviated version, notes about what I remember, the highlights. I was confident throughout the dream, puzzled by the others, sad that I couldn’t help Shawn, shocked that two children had died, and also aware that I was in a dream. While I dreamed, I was trying to understand what it meant. The part about bleeding ink amused me. Yeah, open any vein.

Second, I have dreamed about coming storms and surviving before, multiple times in my life. Per this dream, I’m usually the aware one while others are oblivious.

The other element that struck me was a recurring facet of my life. I almost always worked alone. I would begin with a team but then someone would tell me, “We need someone to take care of this for us,” and would put me into a unique position where I had to work alone to resolve some problems or manage a project or situation. I hadn’t really noticed it was happening when I was in the military; it was my wife who noticed and began joking about it. I rarely knew others in my units, but normally worked with the commanders. They directly oversaw my tasks and responsibilities. Later, with ISS, IBM, and other companies, I often worked with technical directors, marketing VPs, and the CFOs and the CEOs. I was always working alone, in an unusual position, with an unusual title.

Now I work alone as a writer.



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