Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I am walking through a mall; I see a store that sell CDs, maybe books and other stuff, too. I want to look through the CDs, to try to find the albums of an absolutely remarkable rock band. I can't even remember the name of the band; but I will walk around the CDs, hoping that as I look at different band names, the name of this absolutely exceptional ensemble will jump out at me. This motif has appeared several times in my dreams; it has always been accompanied by a feeling of extreme urgency, as if I were searching for the "lost chord".

I enter the squat building that houses the CD store, but instead of being in any sort of store, I find myself in a room in which people are sitting at computers. It seems less like a computer cafe than a dingy room in a college campus building. After I sit down at one of the computers toward the front, I experience frustration accessing the pages that I want. One thing that bothers me in particular is that at a moment when I expect certain information to appear in print on my screen, I instead hear a voice intone the information chirpily. Somehow that is unsettling.

I use the computer to access a help desk. I end up having a dialogue with a take-charge confident woman helper. (I'm not sure if the dialogue is all through email, or if there is some sort of phone-like communication with the woman). There is eventually disagreement in our communication, and the problem is not solved. After the conversation is over, a tall man, a supervisor, at the front of the room tells me I had behaved in an improper way in the exchange, but I maintain that I had been respectful and reasonable.

The woman I had been communicating with via computer enters the room to speak with me in person. We proceed to have this face-to-face dialogue, but it isn't clear what is said, whether anything is now solved, or what emotional texture this conversation has. The woman walks out of the room. I turn to a short bearded man at the back of the room who had been standing near to where the woman and I had been speaking, and I triumphantly ask whether there is anything for which I could be criticized in that exchange.

He surprises me by telling me that in fact there is in fact much for which my conversational approach could be criticized.

This man goes on to tell me about weddings in which a man has settled for a woman who is very much unlike his highest ideal. He recommends such a wedding for me, and talks about the ceremony of one such marriage, as if there were a special ritual for "settling". I think to myself that this is like the marriage at the end of the Israeli movie "Late Marriage" wherein the male lead finally settles for one of the "acceptable" women his Soviet Georgian descended family and their matchmakers are always pressing upon him. I am told by the short bearded man that one moment of the wedding ritual involves the flight of wild geese.

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