I was at a combined high school-college reunion, interesting because I was the only person common to both. I could not get anyone to notice or talk to me; it was as though I were invisible or did not exist. After making countless efforts to participate, I gave up, deeply unhappy and disturbed.
It was then I realized I was in my aunt’s house, which I had always found to be mysterious. I remember, as though it were an actual memory, seeing alpine meadows around it, although it was at the bottom of a hill in town.
In past dreams, just as I was leaving I would remember that I needed to check out the upper floors of the house that I hadn’t seen in years and the mysterious views of the land around it. By then, though, it would be too late, and I would have to leave. The places and views were always out of reach. This time, although I felt the urgency of time, I started to explore the house.
The parts I saw were strange, but not in the way I remembered or imagined. When I looked out any window, I saw the same view — a black rock canyon dotted by many cave openings at which stood middle-class people dressed in middle-class clothes. They did nothing but stand there, apparently peering out — just as I was doing.
I came to a floor that consisted of a wide, muddy, oval track — strange, but not the type of strangeness that I expected. I knew I had to wake up when I couldn’t find the views I thought I remembered or the visions I had hoped for.
As I woke up, I began to think of my aunt’s house as a variation on the TARDIS.
Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish imaginings from memories. I’m glad of this. It pleases me that I don’t know whether a strongly felt recollection is only a blip of the brain that never happened.
In a variation of a recurring dream, I’d traveled so far up Route 20 that I’d found where it ended in one or more trails leading into the woods. Down one trail lay the home of family friends. It was so remote that we had rarely visited them. Whenever we left, knowing that we would not return for a long time, the place had seemed to disappear into the woods and out of sight, like a sylvan Brigadoon. To go there with my parents had been a rare treat; to return there as an adult would be a thrill.
As I stood at the head of the path, I could recall how marvelous this place had made me feel, with its unreal quiet and timeless, mythical serenity. I wondered why we had not come here more often, although I knew that you can visit such a place only on its terms.
I couldn’t remember any details, but I could sense them just beyond my comprehension and reach. I was happy that I was about to arrive, but I knew that I never would.
When I woke up, I realized there was no such place and never had been. But my memories of it are powerful, and I long to experience those feelings again.
I am a patent lawyer with a background in biochemistry. Most of the business people at my clients don’t understand what I do, what the technology is that I am working on and generally look at us as being lawyers with “propeller” beanies on our heads and pocket protectors in our shirts. They can’t judge me on what I actually do for them, generally, in the legal sense. No one can really judge the proficiency of my work product at the time it is delivered – it has to “bake” for many years before any actual decisions are reached at the US Patent Office. They can – however – judge how “good” something looks. Do I use correct grammar and punctuation? Do I use words that they can understand? Do I format my letters and applications in a clear manner that screams “organized and authoritative”?
They judge me not on what I obtain for them through my legal skills – they judge me as a copyrighter or a graphic designer. It is the hardest thing for me to teach my younger associates that they should spend as much time on their grammar and punctuation as they do on their legal research and brilliant legal positions. In the end – we get judged by our attention to detail more than our legal acumen.
Shouldn’t a patent attorney who takes pride in correct grammar and spelling and emphasizes their importance know the difference between “copyright” and “copywriter” (and “copywriter”)? It’s a common mistake, but I don’t know why. The difference between “right” and “write” is clear.
While I was with a friend or relative, she asked me to help her carry her two babies, as they were becoming a heavy burden.
I took the carrier, which turned out to be an open-ended denim sling with a handle, designed similarly to a fire log carrier. I was surprised to see that the babies were stacked one on top of the other, and both were precariously hanging out the carrier’s ends. Somehow this was my fault, and if something tragic happened it would be my responsibility.
I took one of the babies out. It was an odd infant, with a large, bald head and a tiny body. I began to feel uncomfortable. I took out the one underneath, afraid of what I would find. It was alive and had an enormous head full of thick black hair, but almost no body. Neither looked like any baby or human I had ever seen, and I was filled with a silent horror. These weren’t anyone’s children. They looked at me precociously as I asked myself what they were.
I tried to go up steps in a house, but they kept changing. They didn’t connect from level to level. I would reach the top of one set and be stuck, unable to reach the next set, which would be suspended near the first at an impossible angle. I was trapped. Again.