I’d arrived, again, at a new military assignment. How many times has this happened in my dreams?
Wearing a uniform, I checked in, found billeting, changed clothes, and wandered around, orienting myself. All this happened within a large, modern building. I was pleased to be there. Anticipation filled me.
Many young people occupied the place. Everyone seemed happy and engaged with their activities. They’d been working on projects, striking me as students. I had to wait several times as people showed off their projects to their fronts, blocking the way.
But I stayed patient, indulgent, as they were younger, and I thought them less mature, and less responsible, so they deserved some latitude.
Eventually, I was assigned my permanent quarters. Going there, I was surprised that a young male and female were in my quarters. They explained that the previous occupant had just left, and they were leaving, too.
Fine with me. I began searching for my uniform and was surprised that I couldn’t find one. How the hell was that possible? I’d worn a uniform while traveling. Yet, that was gone. I’d sent clothing on ahead, but the battle dress uniforms I’d sent on were also gone. Becoming upset and annoyed, I sought some way to purchase a uniform to carry me through until my uniforms turned up.
A sharp jolt interrupted the proceedings. I was on some steps with others when it happened. Earthquake, I immediately assumed, awaiting aftershocks, ready to run. Everyone, including me, started nervously laughing with relief when no aftershocks came, and then resumed our activities.
I heard, then, that new uniforms were on the way, not just for me, but for everyone. A massive change in how we would look was being initiated. At that point, I thought, oh, I’ve been out of the military for a while. Yes, uniforms have changed since my time. Of course they’re changing. I commented on that to a young group that I encountered.
They told me, no, everyone was being given brand new uniforms as part of a makeover. In fact, they said, new guidelines about how people were supposed to act, work, and behave were also expected. They were all excited but also anxious.
Surprised by their news, I then went searching for guidance about how I was supposed to be acting while also searching for uniforms to wear. I then concluded in an epiphany, my uniform didn’t matter. I would just do what I need to do and worry about a uniform later, if necessary.
Relieved by that, I entered a room. Busy with people doing many things, usually groups, I walked around and determined that it was a rec center with a snack bar. Smelling burgers, I decided to eat, but as I walked over to order, I saw a table of blue binders. That’s the new guidance, I deduced after some studying. I took one of those and start reading. Within a few minutes, I thought, why, this is how I’ve always acted.
I looked around to tell someone else my insight, but all were excitedly talking with one another about the new guidelines. After a few moments, I went in, and ordered a cheeseburger. There was ice cream available, too, and though it tempted me, I could smell that cheeseburger. I paid and took it to my room to eat.
I took a bite of cheeseburger and enjoyed it. It was just as promised, juicy and grilled, with onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. A stillness overtook me. Time had changed. So had the world. The things that were normal were no longer true. My little sisters had aged, my parents had aged, I had aged, my wife had aged, the world had aged.
Guidelines pushed aside, I began eating. The dream ended.