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A large room, very large, fifty foot ceilings. Dingy, reddish, brownish, well-lighted, dirty tile floor. There are square floor-to-ceiling columns every so often. The windows have metal screens over them. It isn't light outside the windows; it's not outdoors outside the windows. Halfmoon lights hang on high cables and they too have metal screens covering them. This room could be a gymnasium but there's no equipment, no gym-type things. No furniture, for that matter. Just people.

There are hundreds of people. At least. Too many people to count, I don't know how many people. I recognize these people. Do I? Yes, it's quite possible that everyone I've ever known or met is in this room. No, that's not true. They are all my age; everybody here is my age. It's quite possible that everybody of my generation that I've ever known, met, been acquainted with, they are all here all of them in this room. I talk with people I have not seen for ten years or more and they have aged along with myself, it's funny how they look very much the same as they always did. Some of them I have not even so much as thought about in years and years. The humbuzz of conversation permeates the air.

Time passes and some people are filtering in and out of the room. I don't know where they exit or from where they come back inside. Something is wrong. Something about them, when they reenter the room, is very not right. They are changed, they've been physically altered, and I simply cannot believe what I'm seeing, because they have all become Borg. They have been assimilated. We are Borg. I am Locutus of Borg. No, that's not true, because they still smile and converse and carry on like nothing happened, but somehow they are all changed because the smile is always the same, always a meaningless toothy grin with no emotion and only lips and teeth and their eyes do not smile. Why they don't notice the moving implants projecting from their heads and faces, I haven't the slightest clue.

Some people are still normal. I am still normal (so to speak). Epiphany. Transcendent knowledge. There is a pattern here. It is the will of whomever is responsible for this strange event that the intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable among us should not be subjected to this because we must have all our faculties at our disposal in order that we continue to function at the level expected of us. They are the worker bees, the drones, and we the artists, philosophers, scientists. They are slaves while we are free.

Someone pulled the fire alarm.

This dream made me feel like a communist and also very silly when I woke.

Year's end dreams, reality and anxiety and fantasy interweave as I sleep. It's that time of year...

I dream that Rob and I ride our bikes out to Stinson Beach. Of course, Stinson doesn't look quite as it does in real life. It's a cloudy, foggy day out there, but we're looking forward to spending the afternoon at my school's secretary's house, for the end-of-the-year BBQ and party. We arrive early, and find that her house is a huge rambling spread, incorporating old ranch buildings with gardens and courtyards, all planted with vegetables and flowers. A row of Italian pines screens the driveway from the adjacent open fields. There are many animals on the place, from pet cats to baby squirrels which need to be carried around and fed to keep them alive, and from the cats. Room after room is filled with comfortable furnishings, computers, musical instruments, and telephones, among the clutter. Several of my colleagues are there already, sending their children down to the beach to play. I've not brought my child. We all await the arrival of Dan, the resource teacher who plays a mean piano. I help ready things for cooking, and take a tour of the house.

Rob and I grow comfortable, enjoying the animals and gardens and the party. I worry a bit, as Flamingweasel and his compadre are supposed to be arriving by bike from Portland this day, and I'm not home. I've left them a key, but not a note as to where to find it. I keep calling home, trying to get some information. The phone is an elaborate antique, with wire arms for a cradle, and a heavy handset, which I keep leaving off the hook. I have no replies to my calls.

The attendance secretary is having problems with her computer at home she says. I feel backed into a corner, needing to tell her I'll come look at it, but really not wanting to do that at all... knowing her partner is a vindictive type, and that if I can't fix it, I'll be blamed for its inopperation. I figure I'll go in a day or so, when the houseguests have rolled on, and I have some time. She leaves with this assurance, and I begin a conversation with the homeowner about how she could replace the Italian pines with some native trees, and keep her windbreak too. "No, no", she says, "They're kind of historial anyhow. The dairy farmer who built this place planted them in the 1800s." I agree that this is significant, and that the trees look lovely against the fog and the hills. The phone begins ringing, it's the attendance secretary demanding that I come now to fix her machine, her partner is pitching fits about my promise to look at it, and wants it done now, today. I look at the time and know that if I ride all the way back to look at the thing that I'll miss the rest of the party, and the guests are begining to arrive in droves. After two such phone calls, I leave the phone off the hook and go downstairs to join the throng around the piano, feeling a bit guilty about blowing the repair off, but knowing I'll be happier in the long run if I do.

Back downstairs, Dan has begun to play the piano. Drinks and food are being served, and people are getting mellow. The sixth grade math teacher arrives with her lawyer husband, who has a big bag of dope protruding from his oxford shirt pocket. "Hey, you want some of this?" he asks me. "Roll it up!" he says, "We're not at school, we're all just people here now." I figure he's the lawyer, and take over the job. Kids drift in and out, students, teacher's kids, kids from the beach. Former teachers are there, the ex-librarian who just lost her husband, faces that have no names for me. I watch carefully over the baby squirrels to make sure they're not stepped on, enjoy the boogie-woogie duet being played by Dan and the lawyer, watch the fog filter through the pines, settle my mind on ideas of time, friendship, choices, determination...

... and I wake up.

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