So I said, “I’ll take my clothes off, if you do.” And I did without waiting for the other to respond.
It was a nebulous, quicksilver dream. My dream doesn’t have markers but that part happened deep into it. To begin, I was visiting a think tank. Don’t think of Rand Corp or anything, think small, barely funded radicals with computers and ideas. They were an interesting group of mostly young men and women who were interested in ideas and data. I have just met them. I’m a visitor. It’s a little awkward. I’m not socially graceful, and neither are they.
I don’t remember much of the conversations. Flashes come back to me, like, “She has the network firewalled to limit exposure to outside events so that our thinking won’t become polluted or maligned.” I said back, “I can connect you to the outside world through my laptop.” This was declined, but we went back and forth about whether I would be able to do what I claimed, the philosophy behind the firewall, and the perceived advantages and disadvantages.
But many conversations were going on with people coming and going. As that conversation rolled, another was taken up about Derrick’s study. Becoming interested in what was being said, I wanted to see Derrick’s study. Then it was mentioned that Derrick — a morose looking white fellow with a mop of dark hair in jeans and a pullover — always did his data collecting in the nude. That’s when I made my offer as part of an effort to cajole the data out of Derrick. Derrick does not take his clothes off. He seems like a downer to be around. The whole group is like that.
Later, I’m nude.
I feel a little self-aware and conspicuous, but nobody is paying my nudity much mind. Someone else is going to share Derrick’s data. We all go down to another room where a slide show is presented. I’m fascinated, but others drift away. New projects are offered and discussed. I’m engaging with others about their projects. Some projects are about diet habits. One in particular, led by a woman, interests me more. I’m enlisted into working on it. About to go out to collect data after volunteering to do that, I joke, “But first I’ll dress.” Standing up, I pull on my pants. Nobody laughs.
Strange group, I think. Fade out.