Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Alternate Realities and Overdue for a Vacation

Eh, I seldom write about dreams, but I crashed hard last night and had one that pretty much lasted the whole night even between waking up for ten to fifteen minutes here and there.  

I'm a bit worried that the long night - almost eleven hours - might be burnout.  The only real vacation we've been on since London was a few days of Gameholecon and my wife's knee surgery, and for five out of those six days off I worked [much] longer days than usual, but without the meetings.  And the last six months went from reorg and picking up new team members who had all the usual issues with having their team members laid off and having to shut down projects they cared about, to dealing with transitioning the projects they were previously on, to holiday coverage for the team so they could all go on vacation/holiday [not unusual for me, but it was in the middle of a long, uninterrupted stint of work], to the aforementioned knee surgeries [worse on my wife than on me, obviously, but they do mean if I'm going somewhere, it'll have to be alone, and not while she's immobile], to annual reviews, to annual planning, to a hard pivot in annual planning, to being acquired as a private entity [and worrying what it means for my taxes/assets/etc as well as for my team/co-workers], to more planning, to finally getting past the planning waits and and on to the actual work.  I've got Con of the North coming up and  a four day weekend with the holiday, but it's not the same as getting away.  In retrospect I should have gassed up a car and run away to a hotel where it was warm enough to bike near a trail for a week. There's not a lot of point to "unlimited vacation" if your vacations are in the living room.

So...burnout?  Almost eleven hours of sleep is crazy for me.  Really crazy.  Garmin tracks all my stats and a cursory glance says that over the last six months I've trended from 6.5 hours up to about 7.25 hours.  That doesn't seem like much, but it's an extra five hours a week total.  Certainly not negligible.  I wonder if the lower sleep duration was tied at all to a bit of pharmaceutical help at the time? Hard to say - lot of variables and Garmin doesn't track everything.  It is interesting to think of what it doesn't track that eventually it could/might in order to really understand how to optimize your sleep pattern.

Anyway, on to the dream.  You've been warned that we're about to start.  No one wants to hear anyone else's dream/s. I don't want to hear yours.  I don't want to hear the dreams of anyone famous.  Unless they include me and even then only as relates to a few people I've never met [AOC, Anushka Sharma, SRK, let me know if I make an appearance].  This is solely for my amusement and record.

I find myself at a bunch of docks full of mostly small passenger ships, like you'd find in an area with water commuter routes.  It reminded me of a cross between Sydney and the old Universal Studio set for Jaws.  But there are larger ships as well and a larger variety than it seems at first despite some similarities such as all are obviously passenger ships.  At least one ship is enormous and hosts two of the smaller passenger ships in 'wings'. It almost looks like something more suited for space travel than water travel.  But I am urgently looking for the correct ship to get me where I want to go and a couple of friends I don't recognize are with me, as well as one or two people we bump into on the docks including a blonde woman.  We think we know each other, but we can't say from where.  After a bit of running around, finding schedules, and avoiding some police-looking [dock security people who are looking for me and her and my friends, I climb aboard a small ship with four friends and the woman and we head off.

Cut to being about 16, which I really hadn't been at the docks [I'd been close to my current age].  I'm helping build  and maintain a house as a job for an older guy.  The place reminds me a bit of Hugh's house in Monti with a lot of things collected over a lifetime. His granddaughter, my age, is visiting and we chat about things he needs fixed. We hit it off and become friends and that's pretty much that...I just work for her grandfather and take care of the yard and maintenance.  But I know I'm almost forty years younger than I had been on the docks and that this isn't where I came from. And she seems familiar, like we've always been friends, but we know we've never met before.

Someone else knows I'm not where I belong as well and a bunch of "black suits" show up to arrest me and the four other friends who had been at the docks. But not the blonde woman.  They take us to an underground facility / holding room and it becomes obvious they mean for us to live in these underground rooms permanently.  One of them mentions to another where we can hear that we're screwing things up and things are falling apart, but maybe they've caught it in time.  We're there for a long time, and finally I help my four friends escape while I stay behind to distract and misdirect the government types.  My friends are gone for a long time and I'm slowly running out of food after the room starts running down and the suits completely disappear leaving me alone.  Finally one day, I walk out of the run down rooms to find my friends coming to get me.

They take me to a large apartment building that's run down in a different way than my underground rooms.  Instead of falling apart, this building seems to be thriving and getting better, despite not having a working elevator.  There are at least seven floors because I walk up that many, although it seems like two to three times that many floors or more.  Thousands of units and a commune vibe and everyone patching things up and making space to cohabitate.  After talking to a lot of the residents, it's obvious the government has simply disappeared and even started to fade from memory, and after some initial backsliding for a few years they're all rebuilding something better.  It's like the government types knew my friends and I were from somewhere else and were disrupting their reality, but couldn't stop it in the end.

After a stint doing maintenance at the apartment building, I go to a corporate party at a bar down the street.  Not my corporation.  But an exec is trying to run some reports and I help him figure them out. He invites me to stay and have a drink, hands me a hundred dollars in cash for supplies and residents after he hears I work maintenance at the commune, and introduces me to his daughter....the girl I met when I was 16, but she's in her mid-early 20s now, so I've been underground and working at the commune apartment a long time.  He offers me a job and it turns out she works at the same company, although mostly I'm remote from the building while handling analytics between commune rebuilding.  We hit it off at the bar and run into each other at work now and then.

Not long afterwards, she's laid off and I'm worried I won't see her again.  And I don't in the short term.  I spend the next four years doing analytics reports and working at the apartment making it a better place with a working elevator so no on has to walk up [at least] seven flights of stairs, bridges, communal rooms, free day care, free health care.  It's a wonderful place. Truly a happy commune.

Then one night I'm out for drinks with some co-workers and my friends from the docks and the underground holding facility and she's there.  Her father invited her to visit old friends.  She's spent the last four years going back to school to learn about nuclear energy waste reclamation and is currently in an internship/starting gig as a green energy consultant not far from the commune [which, to be accurate, is a bunch of communes now].  We talk for a long time.  I show her around the apartment commune.  She shows me her single apartment and talks about how much more of a family my apartment building is and that she'd like to move there and be part of it. It becomes clear that we've finally met up and maybe that was the point of this reality/timeline all along.

So....there was way more to in terms of detail and imagery, but that's the basic rom com in a nutshell.  I didn't even know I was in a nexus for alternate realities at the outset, that the 'cops' were alternate reality police, that the other 'cops' were a somewhat dystopian government that was going to vanish because my impact and my friends' impact on their timeline would erase them in favor of something else. And each time I met the woman, there was no "this is the woman I'll stay with" until the end or that we'd known each other since the docks.  

Is my mortality showing?  Am I getting old and wondering what things might have been like if I'd made other decisions? Or maybe I'm just tired and my brain is trying to take the vacation my body won't take?  Or maybe I really was walking alternate realities. Nice ones for the most part thankfully, despite my tendency to favor dystopic stories.  I wish I was a better artist.  It'd be fun to try and draw images of the grandfather's cluttered home with a super neat yard, the commune as it evolved from slapdash to something amazing, the busy docks with all the ships and Chesapeake Bay/Amity Island vibe, the underground room, the friends, and the woman.

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