Monday, February 21 2000
There was a phase in the late early history of the online journal movement during which a wave of female online journal keepers reported that they were being visited by me in their dreams. I know this because many of them recorded these dreams in their online journals. Most of the dreams were extremely vivid and were characterized by sexual energy of the pre-adolescent variety. Nobody could explain why the dreams were happening, though plenty of people had theories, and even online journal keepers who didn't actually have the dreams would occasionally write their theories in their journals. The phenomenon lasted until sometime in 1998, its demise coinciding with my loss of interest in the online journal "movement" such as it was.
I remember getting a sense from the dream entries that there was a feeling among the writers that they had actually been violated in the dreams, as though I had overstepped some sort of understood boundary between strangers. Naturally, I found this notion odd and somewhat presumptuous. The dreams had happened in their heads and reflected their subconsciouses, not mine. Somehow they'd allowed themselves to be "infected" by visits to my site, but surely I was blameless.
But dreams are incredibly powerful. Since the events that happen within them have the plausibility of reality, dreams can even be reality-altering. For example, once you've had a sexual dream about someone, it's difficult to have the same feelings about that person as you had before the dream. You feel like you've shared an intimate experience, even though you obviously haven't.
This morning I awoke in a state of disturbed disorientation from a dream that had placed me squarely back in my former workplace. But unlike the days when I actually worked there, in the dream I found myself fielding post-firing humiliations of the sort ungratefully dished out by the Schoolmarmish VP at my de-hiring. I was in a crowded cafeteria, sitting across the table from the Director of Engineering, a mild-mannered Persian dude. He was grueling me about my programming practices and it was obvious that he had either never looked at my code or he had looked at only an unrepresentative sample of it. I was explaining that there was nothing wrong with the work I do, that I'd made the best of the technology available to me at every phase of the evolution of the company's website. He argued with me for awhile and finally agreed that I was right. The conversation went just like the "quality of work" debate I'd had with the Schoolmarmish VP of IT on the day I was fired, only I was stronger and more assertive, and the scene ended on a happier note.
When I awoke, I had a sudden realization about an "ASP training meeting" I'd attended on the Monday before my de-hiring. It's important to note that the story I'm about to tell happened not in a dream but in reality.
At "the ASP training meeting," a group of genuine Microsoft consultants presented their "findings" of what was wrong with our website. The consultants had looked only at the main menu, which was, as all the developers knew, maintained exclusively by me. In the consultants' report, which was printed out and handed around the table to the fairly substantial throng of developers, they made a series of knee-jerk analyses that demonstrated a shallow understanding of what exactly we were doing with the tools at our disposal. One of the things the consultants said was that it was a very bad idea to use the file system object. But in my design for the main menu, the file system object was used sparing only during rebuilds of the page. The parts of the code with which they had issue only ran during menu rebuilds, which happened only a few times each day on each server. Humbly, I pointed this out with regard to another object used by the erstwhile VP of System Architecture for caching, the application object, but that was about all I was good for. During the entire meeting I'd felt like I was drowning. And in the aftermath of this morning's dream, I realize there was a good reason for my drowning feeling. I know this sounds paranoid, but that meeting had been orchestrated specifically to discredit me amongst my colleagues. The managers knew there would be trouble if they got rid of me without cutting me down first. The Microsoft guys, I feel sure, had been hired mainly for this purpose. I'm surprised it took me so long to figure this out, but this morning when I put it all together, I was furious. Kim looked at me staring darkly into space and wanted to know what I was thinking, but I talked about something else. I didn't want her to know I was still stuck on the ungratefulness and treacheries of my lucky de-hiring.
Have you ever been pestered by the Gus in a dream? Have you ever done it with Jen Wade in a dream? Tell your story here.
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