The dream engine sends me back to school

by , under dream engine, life

For the third time in as many months, and I was again late. Though not as late as the teacher. I was the first in the classroom for a religion class in the first period on Wednesday, knowing I was late; then a woman appeared who I thought must be the teacher, but the actual teacher who turned up even later was a small, slight priest (don’t know which denomination, might even have been Orthodox) in a black cassock. I thought I could go for a quick call-of-nature break before the rest arrived, but I got delayed by locks not working because the whole toilet block was being renovated. Then I ended up in an empty classroom where there was a shelf of childhood-favourite books in English translation (among others Turfje of de eerlijke dief, which I’ve got in Dutch and never saw in the original German; apparently the English translation was from the Dutch version because all the names were as I know them from my copy, and the word for boys was ‘jongens’) and sequels to other favourite books written by people I know IRL (hi Emmet!) who aren’t, as far as I know, children’s writers.

When I got back to the classroom at last, the teacher was leaving and telling the class (5 students by now, all adults: two middle-aged women including me, and three young people of indeterminate gender) that one of the other students would be taking over. This was a person in their twenties, wearing clothes in shrieking shades of red and magenta, who I’d seen around the school before and didn’t like much for some reason.

The school had 3 literal levels: all first-year classes on the first floor, all second-year classes on the second, all third-year classes including the one I should have been in on the third. Classrooms were smaller on higher levels; the one I should have been in had room for 10 students at most. [Spouse, when I told him that: “I wonder what happened to the rest of the students, did they go on to other schools or did they get eaten?”]

I also read the new book by Shira Glassman, called Pink Constantinople. Note that this is purely a creation of the dream engine, because I don’t think there’s a Constantinople in the Mangoverse and this was definitely a Perach book, with Queen Shulamit and her friends having adventures in caves.

And there were cats! Two black toms and a white queen, who were going to star in a new film that was “[famous film I don’t remember the title of], but with cats”. When I was petting the adult cats I heard high-pitched mewing and noticed a whole crowd of black kittens in the climb-everything age, 4 weeks or so, behind a sofa. One battled my hand when I put it out, and I knew this was the right kitten for the role of [kid in film].

Cycling home, or at least away from the school, I found myself on unfamiliar roads in twilight and mist (probably early morning rather than evening) and knew, when I got to a seashore, that I was on one of the Wadden Islands. There were no street lights, and I didn’t want to go any further before I could orient myself, so I asked someone walking their dog “excuse me, where am I?” I was too embarrassed to ask which island it was but from the answer I could infer that it was Vlieland. (Complicated by the fact that they said “in clear weather you can see Hannover from here, that’s a very big city”. I know that Hannover is a very big city, but I’m pretty sure you can’t see it even from the German Wadden Islands!)

 

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