Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dream: The Elevator Un-Ride

I'm walking in a modest city. It's a bright sunny day, a bit cool. I'm looking for some respite from the bustle, and I find myself in front of the office building that my wife's pain management doctor practices from. I go inside.

I'm in the lobby. There are chairs and sofas and natural lighting -- a nice place to sit for a while. But I see "Carol," the social worker who assists the pain management doctor. She appears to be looking for the next patient to usher into the practice. I don't want her to see me, so I decide to slink on through when her back is turned.

I walk on to the back where the elevators are located. I imagine to myself a fantasy scenario -- that Carol doesn't have another patient for an hour or more and that we'd go somewhere and have an affair. But I'm a little unsettled from that idea, and I'm glad I avoided her. It's not that she's unattractive. But she's unstable, one of those folks who studied psychology in an attempt to fix herself, unsuccessfully. I try to walk even more sneakily than before.

I pause at the elevator with my back to it, trying to think of where to go next. It might be cool to walk around, to explore. But first I do an inventory of coupons and advertisements I have tucked into my wallet. As I hold them up to eye level, the elevator door opens, and a hand reaches out over my shoulder and plucks out one of the coupons. "This is a ticket for a free elevator ride!" the hand announces with some drama.

I enter the elevator, dismayed that there's a human operator in it. I don't really know what floor I want to visit. I was thinking of choosing at random or getting off at a floor that others are getting off at. The attendant asks me what floor I want, so I say "four," "whatever" being an odd thing to say in response to that. It's the floor of the pain management practice, my home away from home.

The elevator is very cluttered and more resembles the counter of a small junk store. "Four?" asks the attendant. (Actually, there are two attendants.) "Yes, 'Four.' You know, it's got this horizontal bar like this," I begin, painting the number in the air with my hand, "and then there's this vertical bit coming down here off to the side a bit." I feel as though I'm in a Monty Python skit, and I try hard to resist adopting mannerisms like John Cleese. Or Arthur Dent as he attempts to describe tea to an alien. "Then there's this other angled bit that goes like this, although sometimes you see it vertical like this, almost like the uprights of a football goal post. Are you familiar at all with football?" I look for some printed material in this cluttered space. I see a calendar nearby. It's one of those complimentary calendars that businesses give out, and I find the number four in an address and point it out to him. But the font is very ornate, so instead of horizontal and vertical bars, there are stretched out lions forming the parts. I wonder if I should tell him not to look for a hidden camera.

There is a long pause followed by two more riders getting in. My attention drifts. From my vantage point, I have an image of a car windshield. I'm vaguely aware that the attendants are not operating the elevator, and that nothing is happening. But I don't care. Perhaps the two other people will complain about the lack of service. But they seem just a detached from reality as the rest of us.

After about five minutes of this, I announce that I have to go and then leave.

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