30 July, 2017

Why it's a bad idea to eat late in the evening. A prescient message for @ulalaunch @torybruno @SpaceX and @blueorigin ? A story of angst and foreign object damage? I had a vivid dream last night. A dream so strange it positively screams out to be documented. It has quite possibly changed my entire outlook on life and the nature of reality: 

My boss (whoever that was,
I never saw him – only heard his voice)) showed up at the house, urgently waking me to tell me I needed to get to a very important meeting. It was at the factory of a rocket engine manufacturer that had some sort of technical problem causing their engines to fail and blow up. I quickly threw on a blue seersucker suit (just like the one younger my brother wore to our nephew's wedding in Nashville last October). The boss approved of the choice and left to go on his own to the meeting.

I had a little lamp at bedside but was unable to turn it off. It had about six switches, but none of them seemed to do anything, individually or in combination, other than make it brighter. Finally, I just unplugged it. It was at this point that I noticed a small hole in the left leg of my suit pants
a few inches above the knee. It didn't seem to be a tear, but rather a circular hole due to wear, I’d guessed. I decided to keep the suit on since time was growing short and I needed to get going for the big meeting.

I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Floating in the toilet was a capsule-shaped pill that was red and brightly striped
in a spiral. The colors were like a rainbow. It was gigantic for a pill one would be expected to swallow, at least 3 inches in length and maybe three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Next to it was a gray feather. Seeing that pill floating in the toilet invoked a feeling of deep existential dread in me for an unknown reason. I felt sick. I knew it was my wife's, but what was it for and why had she thrown it away? Did she leave it there intentionally for me to see? Just then, the wife (whom I had never seen before, though this didn't strike me as at all remarkable) entered the bathroom. She had what seemed to be reddish shoe polish on her face where a man might have a mustache and beard. It looked a bit like Kirk Douglas’s beard in ‘Lust For Life.’ "This marks the facial hair I'm going to remove; don't worry, this will all just come right off," she told me.

Next I know, I'm in a vehicle driven by
a good friend and former co-worker, Glenn. I say ‘vehicle’ because I'm not sure if it was a car, a van, or a truck. I'm not sitting but rather stretched out horizontally on my back with my feet at the back. We're on our way to the meeting at the rocket company. "Hey, I forgot my shoes," I tell Glenn. I'm hoping he'll turn back at the one opportunity to make a quick turn back. Instead, he passes it and presses on. We both know that there's no time to go back to get my shoes, especially now that we're on a road with no options for turning around. I'm thinking that my boss (and possibly my wife) are already en-route and maybe ten minutes ahead of us.

Glenn pulls into a MacDonald's drive-through and asks if there's a shoe store nearby. The kid in the window (who has the same croaky, breaking voice as the teenager in 'The Simpsons') tells us there is, just around the corner behind the MacDonald's, but
that he doesn't know how to get there. "You have to go through the junkyard," he says. Glenn and I both realize that neither the junkyard nor the shoe store will be open at this early hour. We also feel the pressure of time.

We pull out onto the street where we pass a couple of bums
(And I say ‘bums’ because they look like hobos from the 1930’s, carrying belongings in bindles on the end of sticks hoisted over their shoulders. They both wear fingerless gloves, the utility of which I’ve never quite figured out.). I ask if they have any shoes they'd sell me. On of them offers up several pairs, but they're all obviously too small. This prompts me to tell them that the size I need is ten and a half (which is untrue since I’m a size eleven and a half). The other bum removes his own beat up pair in that size, but I tell Glenn, "It's no good. They're brown. They won't go with this suit. So we drive on until we stop outside a Subway store. Glenn runs in and quickly returns with two foot-long sandwiches; tuna, I think. Clearly, his intent is for me to somehow clamp them to my feet. I try, but there's no way to make it work.

Now we're in the lobby of the rocket engine plant. I'm barefoot and stressing out over this. On the wall is a chart with the specifications of all their products
arranged from smallest to largest. The thrust of each is listed in Newtons, and I'm trying to convert them to pounds. I have no feel for what a Newton is. Our hosts arrive. Looking down at my bare feet, the chief engineer says, "I get it! I get what you're trying to tell us! The problem we're having is contamination and we can solve it by having all of our employees remove their shoes before entering the production floor. Thank you!"