Dream of: 13 May 1996 "Maggie And Tilia"

I was sitting in the back of a classroom of students, on the left side from my viewpoint. The teacher – a dour bulk of a woman (about 40 years old) – was standing in front of the classroom, lecturing to us. As she spoke, the teacher referred to the prime mister of Great Britain (a woman) as "Maggie." I sensed a stir of disapproval in some sections of the classroom. Since I knew some people objected to referring to the prime minister as "Maggie", I wasn't surprised when a female student at the back of the class, over on the right side, raised her hand and began complaining. The student was so adamant and ferocious in her attack on the teacher that it sounded as if the student planned to report the teacher to higher school authorities for improper conduct.

I sat quietly and listened, not wanting to get involved. However, I knew that I possessed pertinent information on this subject, information which could help the teacher. I recalled that I had been in another class when this same subject had arisen. In that class a newspaper article had been produced which had stated that it was acceptable to use the word "Maggie" when referring to the prime minister, and that the proper way of writing the name was to enclose it in quotes between the first and last names.

I knew that if I spoke up now, what I had to say would help the teacher, and perhaps save her from unnecessary trouble. However I hated to get involved. I didn't want the student to become angry at me. And it looked as if other students were also upset by the use of the name, and I didn't want to also have them upset with me for defending the name. But the virulence of the student's attack on the teacher finally became so unnerving that I ended up raising my hand. However the teacher called on someone else instead of me, so I had a chance to lower my hand and again rethink what I was about to do. Again I thought of just forgetting the whole matter, but again instead of forgetting it, I raised my hand.

This time the teacher called on me. I began speaking. My voice seemed scratchy and hoarse, as if it were unaccustomed to speaking. Nevertheless I forged ahead, getting straight to the point, explaining how this matter had already been settled, and bringing up the newspaper article. However as I talked, I began to detect a bit of impatience, even from the teacher herself, as if what I had to say weren't that important. And indeed when I finished, the teacher simply called on someone else to give comments on the subject. I had thought my statement would have completely resolved the matter; but apparently it hadn't.

***

I was standing in the crowded hallway of the school, where the students were hustling to their next classes. In the hall I met my girlfriend, an attractive blonde (16-17 years old) dressed casually in blue jeans. I had planned to walk to the next class with her, and thus was surprised when she said she wasn't going to go to the next class. When I asked her why, she began a diatribe about how worthless the classes were. She maintained that she was an artist, and that there was nothing for her to learn here in the public school system. Indeed, she proclaimed that only a person who was a failure in life could be a public school teacher, and that if we listened to them, we would become failures too.

I found myself agreeing with her. I even admitted that although I was only 18 years old, I already thought of myself as a failure because I was going to classes in this school. But as soon as I had said that, a startling thought occurred to me: although I felt as if I were only 18, I was actually 43 years old. That was amazing. What had happened to all the years of my life? And if I could be a failure at the young age of 18, what did that make me now at the age of 43?

As disturbing as this thought was, I nevertheless still wanted to go to class. I explained to my girlfriend that this was the first day of class, and that it was always important to be in class the first day. I convincingly explained that we could start skipping classes later, and that I agreed with everything she said. Finally she relented and we began walking together through the crowded halls.

***

I was standing in line in the crowded corridor of an airport, waiting to board a plane to Europe. I had already been waiting a while (in fact I had even been in the airport on the previous day) and I had become somewhat acquainted with a group of four or five people who were ahead of me in the line. A black-haired woman (about 30 years old) standing right next to me suddenly called out to a blonde-haired woman walking past us. The blonde stopped, looked at the group in front of me, and began talking with them.

I was surprised that the blonde had stopped, because I immediately recognized her as the actress Sharon Stone. She was dressed casually in a green army jacket and blue jeans. To my surprise she was extremely friendly, and began carrying on a conversation with the group ahead of me. In fact, she even pulled up a folding chair, sat down, and began answering questions about herself as if we were having a question and answer session.

I found this quite surprising. I recalled that I had seen Sharon on the previous day when I had been in the airport, but I hadn't wanted to approach her, thinking she would be aggravated if I invaded her privacy. But now she seemed completely relaxed to be sitting here and fielding everyone's questions.

I still didn't say anything, but just sat and watched. I was struck by how friendly and unpretentious she seemed. But what I most wondered was how fame had affected her. Sitting before us, she seemed like an ordinary person. But I knew she must be deeply affected by being known by so many people.

Finally the black-haired woman next to me turned to me and suggested that I also ask Sharon a question. I protested that I wouldn't know what to ask. But the woman persuasively insisted until I finally relented. By now Sharon was nine or ten feet away from me, and I had to make some effort to get her attention. When she finally turned to me, I began asking a lengthy question, a question about how she had been affected by becoming famous. From my question it was clear that I knew far more about her than I had pretended. In fact, it was clear from my question that I was quite knowledgeable about Sharon Stone.

Sharon also could obviously tell that I knew quite a bit about her. She moved closer to me and the two of us began having a conversation. I commented to her about how much different she looked now than when I had seen her in movies or pictures in the past. For example I recalled that in the previous month she had been on the cover of the magazine "Entertainment", and referring to the way she had looked in the cover photo, I said, "You were so wry and thin."

I was self-conscious of my use of the word "wry." It was a word that I had seldom, if ever, used, and I was somewhat unsure I was pronouncing it correctly. I knew the word didn't sound the way it was written, the "w" being silent, and I was uncertain that Sharon would even understand the word. But it seemed the exact word that I wanted to describe the way she had looked in the cover photo.

Sharon seemed to understand exactly what I was saying, and I continued talking. I focused on the way she now looked as compared with the way she had looked in her movies. I told her I was thinking of the first movie in which I had seen her, one in which she had had a small role. But I couldn't remember the name of the movie (Total Recall), which bothered me because I knew the movie was one of my favorites. The movie title Predator came to mind, but I knew that wasn't correct. Finally I said, "The one with Arnold Schwarzenegger."

I then added that the movie was "the one where you went to the future and came back."

Sharon smiled in recognition of the movie to which I was referring. Then she said, "Tilia?"

I repeated the word. I thought she was saying the title of the movie and I knew "Tilia" wasn't the right title. But then I realized she was saying the name of the character which she had played in the movie. I hadn't been aware that the character's name had been Tilia. But I thought that was entirely possible, and I accepted it as true.

As we continued talking, I tried to think of the titles of other movies in which Sharon had appeared, but none came to mind. Instead, a series of scenes flashed across my mind, scenes out of the movies in which she had appeared. For example I vaguely envisioned a scene in a movie where while being questioned by a police detective, she had crossed her legs, revealing that she wasn't wearing any panties. But the name of the movie didn't come to me.

Suddenly the queue in which we were all waiting began moving. Sharon walked on ahead to get a place in line. I thought that would be the end of our conversation, and I watched her walk away. I still wondered what it must be like to be that famous. I thought it was an experience I would never have. I thought I might write a book some day and achieve some degree of fame. But it would never be anything like having my face on the cover of a magazine and being recognized in public.

I watched Sharon take her place in line. Then to my surprise, I saw that she was signaling to me to come and join her. She held a small black camera in her hand, and apparently she wanted to take my picture. And it looked as if she wanted to talk more with me. I could hardly believe it as I hastened toward her.

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