Saturday, May 16, 2009

dreaming of inclusion

last night i was dreaming - no doubt because i was also listening to - the not at all disagreeable series of rambling lectures -Merriman's France Since 1871- of something i haven't thought much of in a very long time - the feeling of absolute exclusion that most university experience left me with.

Somehow i'd ended up at some very private and expensive - but big and shopping mall styled - private university - somewhere in the eastern United States. I seemed to be hanging around with a bunch of female students. There was a long sequence about boating or about being along a lake and all that i seem to recall there is that we were to be having some sort of fun - but i was not enjoying it at all. We were eyeing some very make shift and nearly abandoned boats that had been docked in a shallow area of the lake.

In looking through some of the semi-permanently attached debris - things that had been stuck to some of the boats by the owners - so that the things would remain there, dry until the next season - i managed to find a book in which an envelope and maybe a pair of glasses had been inserted. A quick jab of a finger revealed that some crisp dollar bills were also in that book, and prying it loose, i was able to pocket exactly 16 dollars.

This small victory was enough to convince my friends to abandon the boating idea, and with no other plan in site, we returned to the exclusive university area to which each of seemed very pleased to be returning. I am somewhat sure that i was essentially indifferent to the idea.

There was this sort of quick local idea generated that the place to go was clearly to the sort of common area - which required a valid ID and god-knows what else - a thorough going-over by guards married to the idea that this was a very special place for the students and it shouldn't be sullied by the likes of me.

Needless to say, they got right in. And as I don't normally carry "credentials" any more, the guards rejected the expired New York drivers license I really do keep in a bag that I only reluctantly carry. After some arguing - and i believe a guard had written down at least part of the social security number that I volunteered - i was swiftly and forcibly removed from the premises while - i can only assume - my friends were already cooling their first sips of cafe latte.

At that - and here the logic becomes a little lost on me - i believe i travelled some 3 or 400 miles to somewhere to which i'd originally been heading but to which I was unable to gain entrance. Rather quickly and i believe against my will, i was returned to the area of this university where I explained my plight to a new and relatively established faculty member. He was somewhat more on the down-and-out side of things too and he carried the tools of his trade - a brief case and some books and papers - on a regular workman's dolly, a sort of a rough handtruck. He seemed to scoff at the idea of the guards escorting me out so abruptly and convinced me that there was a much easier way past some of the guards and by which i could be re-united with my companions.

This involved a normal faculty entrance, some brief explanations to someone else and a detour through some of the more service related areas of the university/shopping complex, all the while dragging the handtruck. There was a period where I was waiting in a sort of a men's room/locker/changing area, though sure enough in not much time I was in fact reunited and more of the girls' plans could be discussed and realized. I believe it was night time by now.

The plans included leaving the university mega-complex for some more remote location. Our new instructor would be accompanying us. In the elevator (?) somehow the idea of the safe-work place came up and the girls each reached into a purse or pocket to reveal a "safe work-place" sticker, some sort of university solidarity campaign they'd been working on. One girl's passport also bore a "Working Families" decal on the outside cover. I guess i rather snidely suggested that the place for the "safe work-place" sticker was on the outside of my totally fucked up right hand, something i also don't often dream about.

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