Monday, August 10, 2015

Fairy turtles saving my office building from flooding! (dreams)


Photo by L. Shyamal, animal courtesy Saleem Hameed (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons


DREAM

I'm a worker... underpaid, untrained and a little bitter... who's supposed to prevent a total electrical system collapse in a building used by an organization I'm working for. If I don't figure this out, the consequences will be mine to bear- and mine alone. I'm expected to be able to do this all by myself. I think my bosses and coworkers are expecting miracles from me. Still... I do feel a strong need to prove myself worthy of employment.

I guess.

The real problems is how I don't at all feel invested in this place or these people. They're pleasant, but very superficial. I don't trust them for a second, although I feel bad for admitting my cynicism and bad faith.

Despite my awareness that these are assumptions I'm making and that my feelings could be clouding my judgment, I can't help secretly having a very cool attitude toward this job, and having a self-protective attitude isn't my preference for the things I do or the people I work for.

I know I'm capable of doing the work as well as anyone else at my pay scale. To be honest, I think I'm better qualified than most considering what I'll take for compensation.

While I'm thinking to myself, I'm also going over some of the leads I've been given about how to stop the entire building from flooding and costing the company an untold amount of damage. The company has backed up what information they can in their computer systems and fortunately, that's most of the information they need. But there's still a ton of older paperwork and other older equipment that they want to keep that'll be lost if the water rises more than a foot.

So far, the carpet is just a little soggy in some of the rooms I'm gathering information in. It oozes and squishes under my footsteps.

The more rooms I go into to look for clues, the fewer I find. My options are narrowing.

By chance, I find an office worker in an empty conference room that's starting to flood. I sit in on part of his presentation. Most of it goes over my head. He's willing to give me a little more advice though. He shape shifts into a couple different men with different experiences and perspectives. He has quite a bit of seniority than me and more skills too. I wish he'd take over for me, but he likewise has faith that I'll be able to figure out how to save the 10-20 office floors in time.

These people are absolutely nuts if they think they can depend on me to resolve some sort of freak accident that's never happened before.

But they do! They all do, him included. I thank him and take his lead. One of the scientists who used to work here should have left some sort of explanation for what's going on.

I figure out what office this person used to work in and where that person's stuff was moved to. I manage to dig out some old notes and materials they left behind when they moved on. I have a hunch that a homemade VHS with handwritten labels about "water" and "ocean exploration" and "tidal flooding" is going to have exactly what I need to hear.

I go from room to room looking for a VHS player. I don't think I'm going to find one that works. I try a couple out. One does turn on, and I'm so excited! But I'm even more scared now. If this doesn't give me something that works, I don't have any other ideas and I'm running out of time. This is one of the upper levels. And if this level is beginning to get squishy, I don't know what the lower ones look like by now and I don't have time to check.

I check the brown ribbon under the black plastic covering. The ribbon looks a little crinkled- not a good sign. But I cross my fingers and put the tape into the VCR player, glowing a calm, blank cerulean blue.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear that familiar hiss, blasting out my eardrums at VOL 80! I turn it down as I watch those flecks of black and white and gray shimmer.

When the image clears up and the pixelated "PLAY" vanishes from the screen, I see a grainy home video of  an ocean. The tape cuts in and out. I can't quite make out what's being said, but it's hardly out of the ordinary. It's someone rambling. I need that key information to come up and she's not being up front with it. I can hear a voice that sounds like a woman... a strong, in-control woman... it might be narrated by Captain Janeway from Star Trek.

Then I turn around. I see a lumpy, crude, green plastic statue, which has begun to spout water from dozens of pores.

That wasn't there a minute ago...

But this is the problem. It wasn't in the video at all! I'm too late to repair the system. I don't know how I'm supposed to stop this odd statue. If it keeps going, it's going to completely flood the room and there's electronic equipment all over the floors. I'm especially worried for all the extension outlets that are practically glued to the floor by all the gnarled, plastic-coated wiring- stiff with age and layers of greasy dust.

Then a green turtle with bright blue and light pink highlights flies around the corner and onto the statue!

I have such a good feeling about this!

It begins to lap up the water coming out of the statue.

Then another turtle flies up to the statue to drink the statue's gushing tears. Then two more! Then dozens of these green, blue and spotted pink flying turtles- perhaps hundreds! come flying into the room.

I know I don't have to worry about that strange statue's leakage anymore. I forget about my problem and marvel at these beautiful creatures that have come to our rescue. They belong here and so did the statue that feeds them. Everything was just a little... disorganized.

INTERPRETATION

I've been having a lot of problems recently with trying to contain rumors some people are spreading about me at school. I believe that the person spreading the rumors is the same man as the one represented by the statue (a very bold, nasty passive-aggressive with a good online reputation... he's been around a long time too. His being a statue represents these aspects of him well- along with the impression that there are "tears" spurting out from him). But there are several possibilities that I hope to follow up with and sort out in the next few months.

A messy situation was triggered in my first semester at my new school. Someone (probably more than one someone, at least one of which works for my school in the summertime) spread a rumor about me about 2 weeks ago to the scientist I was volunteering for.

It's undeniable from his sudden change in demeanor toward me and by reading between the lines of our communications that it is the exact same rumor that originated in the school's drama department.

Of course the theater students are causing drama. They're certainly not going to be spending their time doing anything productive for society- I've learned that, for sure.

But I think the fairy turtles are sort of like white blood cells... surrounding an impurity and incorporating it into the ordinary processes of the system.

I'm tempted to openly accept my own very harsh, emotionally-driven criticisms of these people... I've even had dreams in which I simply stand there and verbally berate them individually. But that isn't really the truth of who they are or their function in society and the educational system, is it? I'm only going to be able to see where actors and people of their sort fit in to the overall picture of humanity when I'm less angry. Much less angry.

The bitter bite to the first part of my dream's tone comes from my feeling about colleges in general. I dislike the largeness of the college system. I dislike how easy it is to manipulate it around and sneak through formal processes to get one's own way. I don't like being aware of that huge gap and I don't like seeing others use it when I don't always think I should. The feeling of a free-floating mistrust about the organization in the dream echos this.

I dislike how a large college breeds cliques stereotypes. I resent that trapped feeling I get when I have to go from A to B rigidly in a sea of thousands of other people. The dream echos this in the feeling of mistrust I have about the people who work for this place too, and not just the organization itself.

But I do feel that I'm being compensated enough to work with them. The dream is quite accurate in creating circumstances that simulate how I feel about these things in waking life.

The repairs I'm expected to do on the office building seem to represent the diplomacy and charm and patience I need to exude if I'm going to continue working with the college institution- sketchy as it is to me. It isn't horrible. Concessions always have to be made, and I'm about 70% satisfied with this temporary position. 70% isn't bad at all.

Here's what the flooding building with the squishy, floors represents: tension.

The dynamics surrounding the rumor-spreading are complicated. They include many players. But there is a map of human interaction burned into my mind that is as clear as glass. I don't understand how it would be possible for me to misread their emotion and changes of thought and emotion- they wear it so plainly on their sleeves.

I have generally ignored these sorts of people who are into gossip and group think- their obvious misunderstanding, their ignorance and their questionable ethics... probably because I've gotten used to being treated rudely by people here. After a hard day in my new college, I returned to the part of town I used to work in. I was treated with kindness and respect. And I was surprised at how alien the feeling was. One often hears that all one has to do to be treated well is to treat other people well. That is naive. (Although I think it does bear true under ordinary, day-to-day circumstances about 80% of the time.)

I've stepped back so far from physical reality and into my books that I've even found it comical that people I've either never had a conversation with or have known for less than a few months believe that despite their lack of information, they have still grasped enough patterns of the universe to be qualified to tell me who I am. Some weird part of me enjoys watching this.

I have generally just gone about my business, concentrating on my schoolwork since it hasn't been particularly harmful for them to believe whatever they want. But now, it's undeniable that their rumor spreading has begun to damage my ability to function in my new major.

Whoever spread this old rumor to has impaired my ability to try and get one of the three letters of recommendation I need for grad school in a STEM field. So in this case, I would like to try and hold whomever is responsible accountable for the damages they've caused. Now, after working for free for a month, I may have to consider that a burned bridge.

This rumor isn't true, but can't be considered defamation. Why? Because the sweet irony is, that after I left my old college theater department because of people's narcissism (and other personality traits that just annoy me a little, but aren't inherently destructive), and after living with a roommate who plastered pictures of herself from ceiling to floor, and after tolerating absolute insanity and pointless manipulation from the only acting teacher in my hometown... someone has decided that I am a narcissist.

Now I know why I was warned not to move here by  my old customers, my boss and even my dad. I'm developing the same impression of Californians that they had alluded to... impulsive... irrational... shallow... a lack of clearly outlined ethics... rule-breaking... two-faced and over-willing to indulge their own feelings at the expense of others'.

This stream of cluttered, angry thoughts I'm having is represented in the dream by my quest for others' presentations and advice, including seeking out a narration about an old memory- one acquired on a rocky, open ocean.

I'm going from room to room and level to level looking for that one bit of information that's going to solve my problems. In the dream, that bit of information never comes. I think that's how it's going to be in reality too.

Those fairy turtles and that statue- that was reality in the dream, despite how I was looking for something in the technology- something ordinary, easy to understand, and easy to find and trace and plug in and plug out and move. The answer is probably not going to be as simple and direct as I've been hoping for.

The woman who started the rumor fits my new narcissist-catcher bully profile to a tee. This grad student... a white woman of about 30 in a career track and lifestyle emphasizing soft skills who I had to work with... kept making passive aggressive jabs about my being narcissistic within the first two days of having met me. She also mentioned that she was in the process of getting a divorce. (That also fits the narcissist-catcher profile perfectly!)

I have to assume that she has had a lot difficult relationships both in and outside of the drama department. I also assume that she sought quick and easy answers for in trendy self-help books- an especially useful little trick for someone who has spent years in drama dealing with people who spend their entire lives on their own feelings.

I was that person! How embarrassing...

I am sitting in a cafe right now. A foo-foo one. And in this cafe, I saw four white women... pregnant... middle management sorts... all backstabbing all their friends and neighbors and coworkers. All four people who have taken it upon themselves to bring new people into the world in their own image, without consent- even knowing that their children will suffer and die... all four of these white women took turns backstabbing their friends and acquaintances in the manner outlined in my post prior to this one.

They're a thing now. They're an easily stereotyped type of person here, like "bros" or "valley girls." I never knew what a "bro" or a "hipster" or a "bro-hoe" was until I moved here. But I guess some people really like to do and think the same things over and over and over again! There's nothing at all wrong with that... I guess it's expected. But it's something I haven't quite gotten used to yet, even after three years of trying to adapt to Southern California.

So this aspect of my life is like a waking nightmare in which you get everything you want and it isn't at all what you expected. I really, sincerely hoped that the experiences I had with all those crazy people in my former college theater department wouldn't happen to anyone else. I hoped that if I told other people about this narcissism idea that I had never heard anyone in my hometown discussing, that we would start recognizing a need to automate customer service jobs to eliminate people having to act as sitting targets for narcissistic rages and devaluation, that we would avoid manipulative and abusive relationships, and that spreading the narcissism meme would help everyone to arrange their lives in a manner that would reduce their suffering. In my old vision from three years ago, even narcissists would know to self-correct and reevaluate their delusions and grandiosity if the meme spread far enough.

Now, in this fun house mirror I'm living in, I see clear drawbacks! Our social system just doesn't work that way. We can't trust that everyone or even most people are going to accurately digest the models for reality that others discover and hand to them. They won't. They can't. They have other focuses. And that, in and of itself, is perfectly fine.

But God, how disappointing it is.

When idiots get a hold of a good idea... it's like multiplying by zero. Everything involved in the equation just turns into idiocy. I don't like to think of people like that. I'm just pissed that this promising idea I had has become terrible and that my faith in human nature is apparently so misplaced.

It isn't as though I don't understand the temptation to label people you don't understand with witch hunting terminology. Of course the idea of narcissism is a real thing. But sometimes... people will go crazy in different ways and in different degrees. I consider this 30 year old, non-religious, emotionally-oriented white woman who has relationship problems' narcissist-catcher bully accusations and misunderstanding to be a very low level type of crazy that I don't fault her for as someone who is going through relationship problems. I've been that person too. It's like I'm paying out my dues for bad karma. (I don't believe in karma, but I'm exercising my poetic license.)

My apparent enemies' heightened attention to their own emotions still doesn't make it right to try and damage my education and day to day functioning.

In waking life, I've been running around trying to get leads on how to solve this problem. I've been planning on taking action.

Janeway's narration about the open ocean represents an older woman who tried to mediate the problem but didn't quite solve it.

But my dream suggests that I can also sit back and trust that goodness will prevail. This is a cycle in a large system that's simply gone a little out of balance. There are factors I'm not aware of (the flying turtles) that will balance out things that have been in this organization's structure long before I was (the statue and the old equipment). And they're a lot more invested.

All I'm interested in, in both the dream and in real life, is to solve the problem, to do my job, and to prepare for the better offers that will eventually arise (grad school).