Dreaming a Dream

by John Delach

My sincerest apologies, dear reader, but I need a week off to recalibrate my mind. It’s not that I am out of ideas, I have three ready to develop, but I seem to be suffering through writer’s migraine instead of a writer’s block.

So, I ask that you accept this vignette for this week’s edition of On the Outside Looking In.

I rarely have vivid dreams, but several nights ago, I had one that seem to last most of the night. Its opening found me entering a conference room with a number of other men and women. After taking my seat around a large glass table, we were advised that the purpose of this meeting was to give us the opportunity to review the company’s proposed annual review and evaluation of our performance.

Part of me immediately objected to openly participating in a personal examination in such a public forum. But I caught my objection by considering that I had not had an evaluation in quite some time and, perhaps, the confidential aspect of this procedure may have changed.

A sub-thought immediately challenged that supposition: “Any evaluation by its very nature must be private.”

Before I could object, some individual dropped a file on the table in front of me. Of course, it was my evaluation. Without instruction or permission, I began to read it. It recommended that my annual bonus should be cut from $10,000 to $5,000.

Damn, I thought, but I ventured on to read the findings. They weren’t encouraging:

“Seems distracted.”

“Doesn’t concentrate.”

“Is he pre-occupied?”

“Is there a problem in his life affecting his ability to work.”

When I finished reading the comments, I had a curious reaction, one I didn’t consider until that very moment:

“Of course, of course, all of those comments make sense. Hell, I’m 78 years old! What do they expect from me?”

Then it occurred to me: “They don’t know that I’m 78!”

Quickly, another thought intruded: “If I’m 78, why in hell am I still working?”

“Ah ha,” I said to myself. “This is a brilliant trap. They’re suspicious of me.”

I decided to keep my cards close to my chest and keep this news to myself until I could return home and ask Mary Ann if there was any reason why I should still be working.

I carried that thought through the night until I actually awakened. Immediately, my conscience thought was drawn to its obvious conclusion that I verbalized to my dream: “It is not necessary for me to speak to Mary Ann about this. In reality, as of April First, I will have been retired for 22 wonderful years.

When I related my dream to Mary Ann later that morning, her reaction was: “Was I retired?”

“Mary Ann, in my dream you were so retired that I couldn’t understand why I was still working.”