I was being invited into a large formal dining room, and being coached by someone on how to behave in the circumstance.
coach: "All right, this is really good that we could arrange this. So try and keep it together. You shouldn't worry, they're really looking forward to meeting you."
me: "Um. Ok?"
Seated at the table was an elderly woman. I went to introduce myself by my name, and shook her hand. She didn't let go of my hand so I just kept holding it. Some other people--mostly also older--seemed to kind of pop into other seats.
woman: "It's really amazing... we didn't know this was going on. What it must be like, for you! You must be the envy of the world."
me: "I certainly wouldn't say that!"
woman: "Well be assured, we've got rights organizations all over this right now. A lot of people are taking more interest in your situation."
We were still holding hands, and it was a very odd sensation. I felt like I couldn't quite grip and I couldn't quite let go. The point of contact was moving up and down from the hand to the wrist to the lower arm. I didn't want to be rude, but I also wanted to make sure I said hi to other people.
me: "So... where I'm from, there's this thing we do called hand-shaking. When you meet someone, you put out your hand for a bit... and you hold each other's hand for a second or two and shake, but then you release it fairly quickly."
woman: "You've probably not been told anything about our customs here in Abu Om Gani. But it's really not a general thing that we touch at all."
me: "In that case, I'll let go of your hand then! I was wondering what to do. It's always difficult to navigate a new culture."
I made up "Abu Om Gani" as the location here, because I can't remember what she said. It sounded vaguely Arabic and composed of brief words.
My parents entered the room and started introducing themselves to people. I was pulled away, and there was an interlude at this point where one of the walls in the room morphed from a mural of what looked like a 3D super mario game into a doorway into a room that looked like the incarnation of a brightly lit version of that game. A girl I know and I were given a large star that reminded me of those Ikea star lamps.
me: (laughing) "Ah. So...I see, we're being given the honor of hanging the stars live on the set on the first level of Super Mario World 13. Well, all right then."
We climbed up on some 3D blocks and were trying to suspend the stars in midair, but the blocks slid across each other and we fell. When I fell from a great distance, it did hurt, but in a very minor way.
Shortly after this I was walking through a hallway and pleading with a guy to give me information. I was kind of chasing after him and trying to talk and he was keeping on walking.
me: "...and I need to understand how this all relates to me."
man: (smugly) "Ha ha, well now it comes out again, just like always. 'to me', 'for me', 'my peace of mind'."
me: "Hey! Not fair! I'd be concerned about what's fair or right or if something was happening to you, and you brought it to my attention. Caring about what happens to yourself is not mutually exclusive with caring about others."
The girl from earlier ran in, and grabbed me to stop me from chasing him.
girl: (to man) "You are being mean. There's no reason for it. Have some understanding."
I was upset and kind of whimpering.
girl: (to me) "It's not that you're doing anything wrong, but they're worried about your judgment. It's really all about whose side you're going to take in this particular scrimmage. But you're not alone here, Rebecca called your parents."
Scrimmage is a really weird word that I've heard of from football but don't know what it means. According to Wikipedia it is "a sports contest engaged in for practice purposes." In football it apparently is used in the phrase "line of scrimmage" which is the invisible line down the field that teams cannot cross onto the other side of until play begins.
me: "What on earth wacky universe is this where my parents are the people whose judgment you're supposed to trust? Gah. If they want some more coherent behavior out of me that don't sound like gibberish, they need to give me something that lets me stay here in a stable state for... geez, what about 2 hours?"
As soon as I said 2 hours, I awoke.
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