Two Unheard Questions Dream

We were located in an old service station garage. Tall glass garage doors along either side. It’s raining on one side. Just splatter against the window. Through it, I can see another building. I know it’s a coffee house. I can see one person in there, a tall, slender, white, blonde woman with short, curly hair. I want to go over and have coffee. I will when I’m done, I keep telling myself.

I’m conducting two activities in parallel. In one, I’m in charge of a class where people are learning to play music to calm and relax people. Mixed in with the people learning that are people there for advice on retired life. Both are packed classes. One group is filling out paperwork and asking me questions; the other group is selecting music, playing it on radios, and asking me questions. I walk among them, helping, talking, instructing. We’re all tired. We’ve been up a long time. I’d been up over twenty-four hours. I want to go get coffee. Then go to sleep.

We’re done. Classes are finished. The class members all lie down on the floor to rest just for a few minutes. Two ask me questions, one from each class. Settling on the floor with them, I answer, “I didn’t hear your questions. Were they about music or retiring?”

Deer Grove Fields Dream

I’d arrived at a convention. Hugely crowded. I realized two events were being held simultaneously; one was some sort of military retirement celebration. The other was a writing conference. I was there for the latter.

I arrived alone but soon saw other writers who I knew. We milled and spoke together, trying to grasp where we’re supposed to go. I joked to others about the confluence, as I found the situation mildly humorous. We drifted apart, trying to find where to go. I wanted a place to sit down, wait for the crowd to thin out, and then find where I was to go. I was working on the impression that the military event had ended, and then the writing thing would begin.

I encountered a military person whom I knew slightly. I asked what was going on. He told me that the Chief had retired. Making small talk, I asked, “Oh, where was he stationed last?” “Deer Grove Fields,” the other replied, and departed. I’d never heard of that place and wondered if I’d heard right.

I saw another writing friend. She was wearing a blue skirt and a blue top. She mentioned that she’d met the Chief, describing him as a fascinating person. He’d been stationed at Deer Grove Fields. As we nodded and talked, I realized that she was clearing tables. Apparently she was working there.

Tables were all filled but it was a communal system with strangers sharing tables. Finding a place, I sat. Another writing friend, Jill, a small, older woman with short hair, was at the table. I knew that she’d just won an award for a story she’d written. After congratulating her, I asked what she was working on as I set up my laptop. She told me, “Nothing,” and then said, “Deer Grove Fields.” I realized that’s what the others had said but didn’t understand why she said it now. I assumed she was trying to remember something and when it came to her, she’d said it aloud. Then she said, “That’s where the Chief was assigned.”

The dream ended.

The Era Dream

It was another military dream. Multitudes of military members were there. Almost all were Air Force members, as I had been. I knew many of them, but not all.

Some Army personnel and people from the other armed forces were in the group. They were very few. We were all attired in service-dress uniforms. My wife was with me, and my friends had their wives and children present. I realized it was a mass celebration.

It was in a huge, haphazard building with multiple levels. Some levels were connected by ladders. Others used stairs or elevators. Some of it was outside, or had rooms that were open to the outside.

Some people shunned me or were antagonistic, but others acknowledged and defended me. The first group disappointed me, and was the larger group, but the second group pleased me.

I didn’t stay with either group, though. With my wife holding my hand, I went up and down the ladders and stairs, passing between levels on my own. I said hello to friends, and some returned the greeting. As I did this movement and talked to others, I began understanding, this was a gigantic retirement gathering. With that, I saw a setting sun and realized, an era was ending.

Then I awoke and thought of the dream with sadness. A part of me reflected, the past is gone.

We’re going forward.

Heard On the Radio, Read on the Net

A radio announcer said she’d read a survey of millennials between twenty-one and thirty-seven years old. The results said that fifty-three percent of them expected to be millionaires and the average millennial expected to retire by age fifty-six.

I read today that millennials are the worse tippers. Ten percent of them don’t tip at all when they eat out. Their average gratuity is fifteen percent.

Guess they’re saving up to be millionaires.

Missing Work

I used to work. I left IBM at the end of 2015. I’d worked for them for about fifteen years. It’s about fifteen years because they included the time that I worked for other companies that IBM acquired. It’s like Matryoshka dolls. Inside my IBM career are my careers at ISS and Network ICE.

None were really careers. That’s the polite, modern terms for my employment episodes. I sort of miss the employment. If not missing it is zero and missing it is one hundred, I miss it about 27.6. I can assign percentages to that 27.6 rating.

60% of that number is missing the paycheck.

18% is missing the health benefits.

12% is missing the routines.

5% is missing the work.

5% is about missing the people and/or teamwork.

It’s sorry¬†that it breaks down like this but my job had morphed into something bureaucratic, with few challenges, over five¬†years ago. While a member of several teams, what that meant in practical terms was that I sat in on calls and listened 96% of the time, speaking 4% of the time on those calls. Calls accounted for about 30% of my work week, so I listened a lot, spoke little, and spent most of my time alone, reading and answering emails, analyzing problems, planning solutions, writing summaries, and entering information in various systems.

While working there, I no longer received pay raises, or miniscule raises, because I maxed out the amount for my band and geographic area years ago. I did receive a small bonus every year, and the reminder that I was fortunate to have a job in these tough economic times in America. Resource actions, where people’s employment was terminated, were regular, and it wasn’t surprising to find someone I worked with was no longer with the corporation. My morale wasn’t very high. 0-100, I’d put it at 11 when 2015 began. That’s where it stayed for my final year.

But I miss that routine, sometimes, of getting up early and calling into somewhere. I felt most connected then. I worked remotely, that is, from my house, almost three hundred miles from my campus. I visited ‘the old campus’, in Beaverton, Oregon, once. My team was based in Atlanta, Georgia, in the Eastern US time zone, while I’m in the Pacific time zone, a three hour difference. When they started the day at 8:30 AM, I had to call in at 5:30 AM, a dark and cold time in Oregon’s winter. I hadn’t seen any team members for a few years.

I enjoyed the routine of rising and plodding through the dark house, dressing, going into the office and turning on my equipment. Getting on the calls, I’d announce myself, check emails for critical matters, review my lists of things to do and my deadlines, and then listen to the call as I fed the cats, did things around the house, and made and ate breakfast.

It’s lighter now, on summer’s cusp, in the mornings. Because I’m an early riser, I find myself up at 5:30 on many days. It’s a hard habit to break, but I can accuse the cats for some of that early rising. And sometimes, I need to pause and remind myself, there is no work computer to turn on, no emails to check, no meetings to call into. There’s only me and the cats, and the day awakening outside.

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