Posted by: normanlgreen | June 3, 2012

Dream, June 3, 2012 survey of faces & skipped opportunities


Dream, home, 8:10 am

I arrive late at an office, where I have recently been re-hired. As I pass through the front of the building, people look at me with skepticism. In a back corner office, my table waits. It is perfectly empty. The walls are bare as is the floor. I cannot tell what is supposed to go on here.

A banker I know looks at me with waning patience. She hands me a printed email, asks me to scan it, transform it into a clear memo and distribute this policy change throughout the organization.

The scanner is built into a large photocopier with a screen the size typically found on a laptop. Once the image of the original email comes onto the screen I begin the frustrating process of converting it into text.  I am then tasked with re-editing it into clear English. Within a single sentence, there may be four different font sizes. I find myself cutting a lower case “n” from one portion of the text and inserting it into another. This is not good use of my time, and though I arrived late, I leave early.

Outside, Sherwin waits with the car in the parking lot. We drive through this coastal city, a market section of town in a long narrow alley with street stalls. We pull into an empty warehouse and park. Three young men, wearing second-hand suits, follow us on foot. On of these men carries a clip board. He engages us with questions while his partners move to the back of the car. They spray a pink compound on the rear windshield. There actions and the survey are two steps of the same process. The spray material quickly sets-up, having reacted with something on the glass – this is as they hoped.

The survey continues: “Do you become nervous when you are followed by the fuzz?”

I answer: “Honestly, no.  And I don’t refer to the as ‘fuzz’, but as ‘police’ or ‘officers’ or ‘detectives’.”

Survey man looks at me with the same skepticism I saw before in the office.

“And,” I continue, “I have been pulled over – but only when it was appropriate.”

The spray team, having harvested the foam block that had formed on our window, has coated the cover of a book. They lay it on the ground as the foam swells and hardens into a crinkled surface.  It looks like a batch of chocolate brownies. They are to write their conclusions into this material.

“One more question: will you express a feeling using a numerical value?” I am unsure what they are asking of me. The surveyor suggests that I have made such a comparison earlier in our conversation. I cannot recall, but make an attempt to answer him:

“Your presence makes my body feel 93 percent uneasy.” I check my chest and confirm that this about right.  “– Not that I am asking you to leave, but that is how I feel.”

My answer satisfies them and the three prepare to leave. I try to shake their hands in a send-off, but each of them holds an object (clip board or spray can or brownie book) in his right hand, so there is some awkwardness. Each of them is able to place an arm around Sherwin’s shoulder to give her a hug.

We walk through the alley that is crowded with strolling shoppers and vendors at folding tables. We duck into an apartment on the ground floor to our right as we walk northwest.

Inside the gray light from the cloudy day comes in through many street-side windows. One or two lamps light the far corners. Many young people share this apartment, though one young man with a dark beard appears to be the leader – perhaps he holds the lease.

At the back of the apartment, in an alcove, this leader has a computer where he creates art using the late paintings of jack Kerouac. He uses the negative space to add short selections of text without compromising the composition. The lines of the painting are broad but steady, the colors used with self-assurance. I know of no paintings that look like these. He and I agree that if Jack had not died yet, he could have re-risen to be strong influence on the contemporary generation of artists. We return to the main room where checks have been prepared and laid-out on a low coffee table near the front window. Our host moves to the far side of the table to face the checks and confirm their values and to sign them. Another young man must counter sign each check as they are of high value: one in the lower left corner is for $15,383.60.  All are written by hand, using a round script and blue ink.

I leave the apartment by the street door and return to the flow of the market. I am conscious that this is my third pass through, and as people are wont to wander back and forth as they shop, I will be seeing many faces for the second and third times. I sit upon an open cart which someone pushes from behind me. The colors grow deeply saturated and grainy – the film is slowed so I can look deeply into the faces of all whom I pass – they do not notice that I pay so much attention during this third opportunity to see them.

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