The sky is big and blue, cloudless, and we are traveling under it and on the open ocean in an Airstream trailer. And we are not in the only one. There are others of us sailing as far from land as we can. A some pre-determined point, our trailer, which propel themselves forward without towing, dive into the water and settle on the floor of the ocean, all of the trailers daisychained together so that we can move between one trailer and another. The trailers are wide and spacious, consisting primarily of one great room that includes an open kitchen and living room. These rooms sit between two walls that are nothing but windows that look over the seafloor, which is very much like a rolling valley floor and bright with filtered sunlight. The one complaint in this little world is that the heat is not on in my trailer, so I decide we should leave the compound.
We return to dry land, where I soon find myself in a meeting in a basement room at work. Suzanne is talking about the loneliness of getting a PhD. For some reason, this is an issue at work, and I explain that I understand and am trying to figure out a solution to it.
From this point, we start to discuss the streets of Chicago, which is apparently the city we are in at the moment. Someone notes that there is one major street in Chicago that is more than two miles from any other major street. As that person speaks, I can see that street before and below me, but soon I am driving a car down that very street. I am driving with my friend Dess, who lives near Chicago and used to work there. We are sitting at light and I don't know which way to go. If I go straight, I will enter a highway; if I veer to the right, I will go under an overpass. I keep asking Dees which way to go, but he doesn't answer until the light changes to green. At that point, I go straight, but suddenly going straight also sends me under that overpass and I start searching for a parking space there, though I don't know the reason I am parking. The parking lot is crowded with cars, but I finally find a spot, right next to a gap in the parking spaces, a gap at the bottom of a giant wooden staircase. As I park, some people in a car coming towards the space from the opposite direction tell me they wanted that space. I lock the car, and Dees and I walk away.
Back at my house, my real house, I am preparing a check to mail off overseas, probably to pay for a publication of some kind, but I am not at all sure.
Out the window of my kitchen, I can see a woman who is living at the unsteady top of a tall tree. We could speak to her from the window, but we know we are supposed to climb up the tree to speak to her. A heavy man appears on a branch near her--a branch that could never hold his weight--and he walks gingerly across that branch to her. He seems to have stepped off another nearby tree onto that branch. He is trying to discover her secret. When it is clear she will not tell him, he leaps off the branch, towards a pine tree, wraps his arms around the pine tree, and begins to slide down the tree. I mention to Nancy that I would never do anything like that because he is now traveling too fast. Just before the man disappears from our view, three men dressed like Secret Service agents (wearing sunglasses and with earpieces in their ears) pursue him.
The mail arrives for the day, and there is already a response from that foreign country I had sent a note and check to only today. In the envelope is my note, my totally blank (even unsigned) check, a slip of advertising, and a thin self-addressed but unstamped airmail envelope I am supposed to use to return the completed check. I wonder how the mail can move so quickly over the surface of the earth.
One piece of mail is a large heavy package, which I open slowly, first turning up one corner of the box to see what is stored in that location. We can see the package is from someone we don't know but that it was somehow transferred through a real estate agent in Tennessee that we know my sister Kathy knows. I begin to remove the little items that are stored within the square holes the interior of the box is divided into (much like a liquor box): little white cups like sake cups, then a set of silverware with handles made out of two separate rods of metal bent into a U patter. We already have plenty of utensils and we don't need a partial set of them, so Nancy says we should donate the silverware to get it out of the house. I find within the box a poem that begins, "O, Ariadne." A Cretan in a crate?
A soldier dressed in fatigues appears in the kitchen and we know he is the sender of this package. He talks to us and then takes us out to his car which is a special tank designed for one person to live in. It includes a window to the outside, so it is not designed for combat. It is crowded with controls. As he talks to us about his home, a disembodied voice, maybe a recording, begins to explain the policies that govern what notes a soldier may retain after leaving service. We hear that they can keep most of their notes and journals, but not the journal they are required to keep, which is called My President, My Sweetie. This journal is supposed to include notes about facts about combat that could be important in developing responses to changes in a war or or about other military facts that could support improvements in national security. As I look at this notebook it seemes to be designed to hold long cigarettes in small tubular channels (designed like some pencil cases), so I wonder, just as the alarm rings, if he has to roll his notes into paper tubes and slip them into these channels.