I had gone to bed early, feeling achy and feverish. After reading several pages of Proust I fell asleep. An hour or two later I woke up drenched in sweat — the fever broke, I figured. I mopped myself off and went back to sleep. I awakened again in the middle of the night, with my last dream still quite vivid in my awareness. Acknowledging that dreams are of interest primarily to the dreamer, here it is anyway.
I’m driving a car in downtown Indianapolis, on my way to a meeting. (In my consulting days our biggest client was headquartered in Indianapolis, so I traveled there often.) I park and walk along a street lined with tall office buildings. I go through the glass doors of the building where my meeting is to be held. As I stride across the pinkish-gray polished granite floor of the expansive lobby, I realize that I’ve forgotten who it is that I’m supposed to be meeting. The information is in my notebook, but I discover that I’ve left my notebook in the car.
Now I’m up a few floors inside this office building, walking along the corridor. I enter the door to an office, large and well-appointed in dark wood and leather. It seems to be the office of Hutch, or someone quite like him. (Hutch was my boss in the first job I had after grad school. He was a living stereotype: a red-faced, corpulent, loud-talking, back-slapping, hard-drinking, hard-driving businessman. Hutch and I got along great, as it turned out.) There’s a meeting going on, with three or four other men I don’t know in addition to Hutch. I take a seat at the conference table and join in. The meeting seems focused primarily on the planning of some vague and shady scheme. The discussion goes on for some time; at some point I move from the table to one of the leather-upholstered armchairs. Finally I get up, leave the meeting, and head back downstairs.
I pass by a receptionist who is evidently surprised to see me. Where have you been, she asks me; Dr. ___ has been waiting for you. Ah, Dr. ___: so that’s who I was supposed to meet. I go down another corridor looking for Dr. ___’s office, only to find myself in a locker room. Two women, partially undressed, pass by without acknowledging me: I realize that I’m in the women’s section of the locker room and that I shouldn’t be there. I find a door and walk out.
I’m back on the street. Now, however, instead of the busy downtown office-scape from which I’d first entered, I find myself entering into a carnival. It’s crowded, lively, noisy, colorful, filling the street. Puzzled, I walk back through the door and into the office building again. I find another door and exit through it: this time the street is deserted, ominous, lined with the boarded-up, ill-maintained buildings of urban decay. Again I pass back through the door and into the building. Now, though, instead of an office building it’s a hospital. I wake up wondering whether the same building has offices on one side and a hospital on the other.
What’s odd is that I’ve remembered three dreams in the past week in which I’m confused or lost and in which the world I occupy suddenly turns into something else altogether.