Friday, May 22, 2009

The Elevators

Tension consumed me. I must not make a mistake or even waver. If I did, everyone would notice. Everyone knew were to go and I must know as well. Up to room seven hundred something or maybe it was eight or nine? The number was fleeting in my mind and I struggled to grasp on to it more clearly. Into one of the millions of elevators I went, still unsure, still hoping I had chosen wisely. The numbers seemed right, the flow was acceptable, and so I had hope I had chosen correctly. One other was in the elevator beside me and she did not appear alarmed so things seemed to be going well. Like all of us, she was very tall and thin and wore loose clothing with vertical panels of various shades of brown and tan. As was expected, she completely ignored me and did not speak.

Finally, the elevator opened at the same time as dozens of other elevator doors on this floor and people simultaneously poured out into the hall and dodged around each other to reach their locations. I felt I was near, very near, and then one of the rooms felt right and I scurried in. I had found the right room with the right number. No one else was in the room, just a table and a few chairs, all carpeted like the floors and walls in subtle shades of brown with hints of mauve. My tension ebbed substantially. The hardest part was over. Now I could start my work day which involved some kind of relaxed concentration.

At the end of the day, after exactly half the time of our planet's day/night cycle, my shift came to an end and the choreographed dash would repeat itself in reverse, but this time with slightly less tension on my part. Now I would take the route back to my room and I was more familiar with that route. I was less likely to make a mistake. Surely, I could find my own room! I concentrated. What was the number? 168 I think it is. And eventually, I was back. Inside were three of the long rectangular carpeted tables that in this room served as beds. Mine was nearest the window. I did not speak to the others of my room. It would not have been polite. Instead, I gazed out our window at the monstrous sparkling rectangular skyscrapers around us, all that was visible against the grey blue sky.

In the morning, the cycle would repeat, except I had been sitting on my bed day dreaming when the other two of my room left. I hadn't noticed as they passed the others in the hall. Now the lead person of the others was in my room and staring at me in shock. I had not passed them in the hall as I should. I was still here in the room. I had committed a monstrous faux paus. Now standing in front of me, he said, "I will chase you out of here," as which point my attention snapped back and fear coursed through me. I jumped up and ran out of the room.

But it was too late, the damage had already been done. I realized when he said he would chase me out, he meant permanently. And now I was out of sync with my tasks. I struggled to remember my destination but the number would not become clear to me. I passed through halls and into an elevator but then sensed the disturbance of those around me. The flow was not right. I was making the numbers unbalanced. I felt hopeless and scared but did my best to look calm and under control at all times just as society dictated.

Briefly, I considered offering to do a favor for the one who was angry at me, but then I looked at my records. How had I let it get so bad? I realized on my record labeled 168, I had countless transgressions stacked up on the top denoted by rectangles and squares of various sizes and bright garish colors, blue, green, orange, yellow. Another favor would mean yet another transgression and I simply could not afford that. And now I was hopelessly out of sync and could not find my room. The halls around me were empty. Everyone had found their place except me.

My life was over.

Suddenly, I got the idea that I would go to the top, to the special floors on the top. No one had ever been there that I knew of and I had no idea what I would find there. But it seemed the only thing to do. I got onto the elevator and signaled to go to the top section. An overseer behind a small desk in the hall was surprised by my choice and looked up inquiringly. I held myself proudly and told her with a confidence that I did not feel that, "I am going to the top." It was the ultimate act of arrogance that I had now embarked. No one ever went to the top!

To my surprise, the overseer spoke to me again, even though etiquette did not allow for such unnecessary chatter. She muttered low, probably so others would not hear her inappropriate talk, and she mumbled words of encouragement and consolation! What things to say! I was not sure how to respond to such strange statements so I ignored her. What did she mean by that anyway? Not only were they unnecessary statements but such strange ones at that! I turned my mind to what I might find above me.

And then the dream ended.


  1. I love how in the past, we dreamt about tigers and monsters, dangerous things, so we can learn to defend ourselves and glide through the world as best we can. We still dream about these things, especially as a child, but it's not as much of a threat.
    But now, social norms and hall passing ettiquete are actually benificial enough for us to benefit from dreaming about them

  2. LOL so true. HOwever the other day I DID dream also about a giant killer wasp trying to beat down the door and get me. ;-)

  3. Have you changed something in your life lately and its not quite sitting right, hence the dream ?

    Love the heading picture. I hope its new, cause I only just noticed it, and I'd feel pretty silly if its been there a while & I'm just a blind idiot.

  4. Ned, I'd say just the reverse. Life has been taking some turns for the better lately. And yeah, I just put that new header up on saturday so you aren't going crazy! ;-)


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