The Critical Mass

A dream, in 140 characters

Our seats are in the very back of the aircraft. As they were in reality last week. But this time it’s a dream, one from which I woke up from just moments ago. I rarely remember my dreams. I’m often aware that I had been dreaming, but remember nothing of it. And when I do remember them, they are almost always banalities. The grocery store, that’s a common setting. And I can’t remember an item I’m supposed to pick up….

This dream is different. I suppose it is a product of the stress that people in the office are undergoing now, as we get swept up in a corporate-wide directive to re-apply for our jobs. And the increasing emphasis on social media. We’re supposed to connect with readers through Facebook and Twitter.

As I am doing now.

In my dream, Margaret and I are flying into Rochester. Closing in on our destination, I’m suddenly no longer in my seat, but have a dream perspective, watching as the aircraft closes in on a forest-green blimp with the words PERKINS PAN AMERICAN on the side. I watch as the bottom of the jet brushes the top of the blimp. Thee lighter-than-air ship begins to collapse as the jet continues on.

Now I’m back in my seat, looking out the window. The familiar buildings of downtown Rochester are in view. Except we’re coming in too steep, at an 80-degree angle. I think: Either this is an emergency-landing approach, or we’re crashing.

We level off dramatically. I’m watching again from the outside, the dream perspective, as the plane approaches the airport. The landing gear isn’t down, apparently damaged in the collision with the blimp. The jet hits the landing strip hard and comes to an abrupt stop. I’m outside on the tarmac, looking at the plane, which has neatly broken into three sections. The cockpit, the passenger compartment and the tail, where through the opening I can see our two empty seats. It’s eerily quiet.

“We’d better get out of the way,” Margaret says.

“I’m going to see if anyone needs help,” I say. I walk to the passenger compartment of the plane, but can’t find a door. That’s a common dream thing, isn’t it? A guy walks up to me; he’s wearing the outfit of one of those people you see from the airplane window as you’re leaving the gate, directing the plane with an orange flashlight. “You’d better get back to your seat,” he says. “The captain hasn’t turned off the ‘Fasten Seat Belts’ sign yet.”

“That my seat,” I say, pointing to the chairs in the tail section.

Suddenly, with a loud, electric noise, all of the windows of the passenger compartment begin rolling up. I see many of my co-workers. Smiling, with expressions of relief on their faces. They’ve survived the ordeal. Then I panic. I’ve packed my iPhone in my suitcase. I have to get to baggage claim immediately. My employers will expect me to tweet about this.

That’s it, my true dream. Let the psychoanalysis begin.