Dream of: 02 October 1996 "The Blue Fire Engine"

Fall was approaching, or maybe it was already here, and I hadn't made definite plans for what I was going to be doing for the next year. I recalled that I had applied to The Ohio State University to start classes in a master's program, and I had received a letter of acceptance. But I had decided not to go and had tossed the letter aside. I wasn't even sure what I would have studied if I had gone back to college. But it occurred to me that I might study economics, as torpid as that sounded. I had a fantasy in my mind that if I would obtain a master's degree in economics, I could end up with an interesting job. The plan would be to hitch my wagon to some up-and-coming young politician who would ultimately run for president. If I got to know the future president in his formative years, by the time he became president, I would be a trusted advisor, and I could be appointed to some high office. That was where all the power was. Once in charge of my office, I would have free rein to use my imagination and innovative economic ideas.

***

I was in the front passenger seat of a car being driven by a fellow whom I knew. We were in Columbus and were on our way to our first day of classes at Ohio State: I had decided to go. As the fellow drove around, I began to realize that he was unfamiliar with the area, even though he was trying to act as if he knew where he was going. Finally he pulled into a parking place which I knew was blocks, perhaps miles, from the university. I immediately told him to pull back out into the street and I would guide him to a large parking area right next to the school. He pulled out and headed again down the street.

***

The same fellow and I were now walking, very close to the university, when somehow we ended up walking into what turned out to be a homeless shelter. Or else we came across a large group of homeless men who were standing in front of the shelter waiting to get in. At any rate, I suddenly found myself in the middle of many homeless men, milling about, apparently waiting for something. I found the situation quite interesting: there was something about homeless people which had always fascinated me. Although I had never been around homeless people, and had only seen them from afar, it seemed to me that they must have interesting stories to tell of how they had ended up in that situation.

I looked around and noticed a couple large square metal cans nailed onto the side of a pole, and I saw that the names of some of the homeless men were written on the inside top of the cans (which were open) and that different bags and satchels were inside the cans. I quickly deduced that this must be where they stored their belongings.

Suddenly I became aware that one of the homeless men was standing in front of me to my left, scrutinizing me. I also looked at him -- he somehow looked familiar. He began talking to me, quickly making it clear that he did know me, even calling me by my first name, "Steve", and then finally also calling me by my last name. He was a good six inches taller than I, with dark brown hair and a scraggly beard. He was rather thin, and seemed clothed in a long dark trench coat. I tried to place where I knew him from. Finally, (even though he looked as if he weren't more than 30 years old), it came to me that we had gone to either junior high school or high school together. I mentioned that fact and he quickly agreed.

Another even taller and younger homeless fellow then walked up behind the first one, and he also knew me, and apparently had also gone to school with me. But I didn't remember him, although there was also something about him which looked vaguely familiar. He said something about having seen me at a bar. When he mentioned the name of the bar, I wasn't sure that I heard it correctly, but I thought he called it "The Blue Fire Engine." I didn't recall having ever been in such a bar, but I thought it was possible and I had simply forgotten.

Since neither fellow had yet told me his name, I struggled trying to remember. I was sure I knew the first fellow's name, but try as I may, it simply wouldn't come back to me. I wasn't quite sure why he had started talking to me. He seemed friendly enough, and I would have liked to have asked him questions about how he came to be here. I thought he might ask me for some money, although he hadn't yet done so. I knew I had some bills in my pocket, and I thought I would give him a couple dollars, whether he asked or not. I knew I was in a hurry now to move on, but I thought that maybe another time I could return and talk more with him.

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