I had met a former boss of mine, out walking around on some kind of marble stairways in a relatively scenic environment. He was happy to see me but seemed depressed. I talked to him about how he was doing, and asked him about his wife and kids.
boss: (sadly) "Well, you know...it just gets to a point in relationships. Where you know you've tried to make it work, but they're only with you because of the children. And they don't want you anymore."
He was having difficulty moving, and so I seemingly easily carried him on my back to where some restaurants were. I put him down and arrived in a large library-type area. An earnest math-focused person approached me at a table. He looked like a mathematically-minded friend of mine I'd once visited in San Diego. He had piles of thick manila folders he wanted me to look at.
math friend: "So you see here, some new findings on the Higgs boson. What you know about it is that it's sort of like the particle that comes around and then poof it doesn't exist any more. It's like a kind of bootstrap process; it holds the others in line but they can never really see it."
me: "The Higgs boson has now been observed. They built an accelerator to show one."
math friend: "No, no...they didn't observe it, you can't! You can only deduce it must have been there. But that's what makes this other finding so interesting, look..."
He showed me several sheets of white typing paper with diagrams on them that were over my head. It seemed each folder he had was some phenomenon they wanted to tell me about.
People around seemed to be referring to him as "R".
I pulled through items in the folders and found one which was a stack of papers that had been connected together...like by those metal pins that you poke through something and then bend apart the two things on the stalk of the pin.
Realizing I don't know what you call those, I looked it up. They are called "prong paper fasteners"
The held-together packet had cutouts and layers. In each cutout area on the front, some diagrams were printed neatly. Then corresponding hand-drawn solutions were written on the back.
math friend: "I made this workbook to explain. This one is filled in--maybe that would be most useful to you. But if you want you can cover up the solutions and try them yourself. They're topological exercises to teach the value of doing certain transformations by giving some motivating examples...working your way up from just a circle to things you can represent as crossing lines."
Non-lucidly I thought "well that's interesting, but I really am kind of busy with other things". But I wanted to be appreciative of his sharing.
me: "Well, let me gather up the folders. I can't promise you I'll understand what's in them, this looks like more math than I know."
There were folders all around, so I grabbed them. It was a large stack. Seeing some on his side of the table, I walked around to look...and he had some that weren't manila but fancier looking.
me: "Are these for me too?"
math friend: "No...not those, just this one and this one. Really, there's some very big stuff over here and the network is already going crazy about it. In fact, uh oh."
One of the folders on the table that had a lot of papers in it seemed to be losing pages, but then gaining pages and flying open. I went over to try and hold it closed. A man with short red hair came by.
red haired guy: "It's a botnet attack. Guess they got the word."
me: "What word?"
red haired guy: "It's because R asked Ash out on a date."
me: "Errr...what's wrong with that? Who's Ash?"
The red haired guy addressed me as Neo.
red haired guy: "So Neo, something to know about R was that while incarnated he was working for a particularly cruel Duke and Duchess. He got AIDS in the 60s, and so that is a holdover issue which causes problems."
me: "Problems how? Is there a concrete relevance of a disease to this, or is it more an issue about an attack on homosexuality?"
math friend: (smiling) "Happysexuality?"
I couldn't tell if he didn't hear me right, or was just twisting what I said to be funny.
me: (becoming more lucid) "My question is just about where are we now? What is 'here'? How is it relevant in any way to Earthly diseases? Do you have an Earth incarnation?"
red haired guy: "No, I'm still on the bench for that. There were only two slots available this time around, and those were already taken by Ash and R."
I decided to mention that I'd seen in dreams places besides Earth, but that had stability, and I wanted to convey that fact. I didn't do a great job:
me: "You know, there are other worlds that run on simplified but stable models of Earth. Virtual ones. And people are living there."
red haired guy: (puzzled) "How could that work? You couldn't possibly do the genomics with anything simpler."
me: "Well for appearances it's more 'character selection'; the genome itself is simpler, and artificial intelligences which don't need DNA."
I noticed at this point that his very blue and kind of sparkly eyes were rotating such that the iris was rolling off to the side to where his eyes were just white. Given that being pretty much the sort of thing I'm used to, I didn't remark upon it.
me: "But moreover, this library seems pretty well stocked. Why would you want to be on Earth anyway? Couldn't you just hang out here? What kind of building is this?"
red haired guy: "It's nothing to be here. At any moment the wind god could just decide he wanted to come in here and send everything flying. There are upper levels here as well but they are hard to get to."
Our conversation ended somehow and I wandered toward some kind of Indian woman who was a sandwich vendor by a stairway. Not knowing what to do I sat down at her counter and she started making a sandwich for me. We had a short conversation I don't remember, then she brought up the issue of paying for the sandwich.
sandwich woman: "We still have our policy that we don't charge children. However now you have to sign a reason card explaining why you do not have money."
She handed me a card which seemed to have space to write in and a place for a signature. She didn't give me anything to write with, but I noticed a nearby yellow pencil and picked it up. I started with writing in the signature slot a stylized ae and then AE in various ways, though the pencil was not cooperative. Then I wrote a.k.a. and scripted my name in signature.
In the place to give my "reason" I wrote in print my best rendition of "honestly I don't know where I am or what any of this is..." before I woke up.
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