Dream of: 12 August 1999 "Frozen Fingers"

I had just arrived in Germany, and was standing in the lobby of a hotel, trying to check in. Two months ago I had also been in Germany, and had stayed at this same place - a respectable establishment - and I felt rather prosperous to be able to travel to Germany and stay in such lodgings. Many people were milling about the lobby. The woman in charge of the place (I remembered her from the last time I had been here) was sitting behind the reception desk. A rather portly woman, she was around 50 years old.

In the swirl of lobby activity, I met an attractive woman (about 30 years old) who had also just arrived. She and I had only talked a few minutes, when she invited me to share her room with her. I was a bit taken aback: strange that she would make such a suggestion after such a short time. But she took charge of the situation, and with me in tow, she walked up to the woman at the desk and told her of the plan for us to share a room. Everything happened so fast, I didn't even know whether I would have to pay anything.

The woman at the desk shuffled through some papers and informed my new-found companion that I had stayed in this hotel two months ago. We were told that had I lodged in the hotel less than two months ago, I would now be allowed to stay with my potential roommate. But since it had been more than a month since I had stayed here, my now sharing a room presented a problem. However, despite this obstacle, the woman at the desk informed us that if we were to fill out a form, I still might be able to share the room with my becoming companion. My companion wasted no time; she quickly filled out the form, allowing the woman at the desk to make the arrangements.

Other people in the room expressed obvious interest that I would be allowed to stay with this increasingly beautiful-appearing woman. I suddenly felt puffed and proud of myself, thinking I had accomplished something, especially since the surrounding crowd seemed so jealous of me. My imagination began to flit away: would the woman and I sleep in the same bed? Would I make love to her? I could just imagine the pleasure of being close to her. But I still didn't know the intentions of the woman.

The woman at the desk asked me a couple of questions? She wanted to know if there had been any problem with alcohol the last time I had stayed here. I responded truthfully, "No." I figured the rooming house must have a rule that anyone who had exhibited problems with alcohol would not be able to stay again. The woman at the desk mentioned that they had special programs for people with problems. But I wasn't interested in that; I simply wanted to head to the room with my beautiful companion.

When the woman at the desk finally finished, my companion and I turned to leave for our room. Before we stepped away, I mentioned to the woman at the desk that I had some tasks to resolve here in Germany, and that I would be in the hotel every day. I still was unsure whether I would be paying for the room; but the woman at the desk didn't seem concerned about that.

I had to pick up several bags which I had with me. One of the bags contained a portable computer, and as I hoisted it up, I asked my companion if she knew how to use a computer. She replied, "No." I was mildly shocked. She seemed like such a forceful woman; I could hardly imagine that she didn't know how to use a computer, and in my mind, I registered a strike against her. I could barely conceive of myself being interested in a woman who couldn't use a computer. I knew I myself would be spending quite a bit of time on my computer, a top-of-the-line model. It was almost inconceivable to be without one.

Nevertheless, I was so taken by the woman, I was willing to make allowances. We walked toward the door, headed for the top floor. But just before we reached the door, I heard a noise on the other side, and realized something very strange was taking place on the other side of the door. So, instead of passing through the door, we walked to a side door, stepped through, and came out on the balcony of an inner courtyard of the hotel. From here we were able to stare down on a most peculiar scene within the courtyard.

Looking down, I immediately perceived that the courtyard was part of a prison. Seven or eight prisoners were in the courtyard, playing music on musical instruments. Many people, as in an auditorium, were sitting around the prisoner-musicians, watching them. But clearly the prisoner-musicians were in terrible pain, standing outside in the freezing cold. Their fingers were obviously frozen – they appeared to have been playing for days. One prisoner, playing a clarinet, was trying to play with one hand, while he held the other hand closed, trying to warm his fingers. The scene was macabre.

I began to piece together part of this puzzle. I now realized when I had passed through the side door, I had entered East Germany, in a time before the Berlin Wall had fallen. I knew the Wall had already fallen; but somehow I had entered a time in the past before the Wall had fallen.

I sat down to watch the scene below me, and soon became conscious that another fellow had walked up and sat down beside me. I recognized him as a person with whom I had originally planned to stay in the hotel. He was about 30 years old, a tall fellow with black curly hair. I liked the fellow, but I was surprised by what he said. From his speech, I clearly discerned that he thought the musicians were being justly punished. He spoke of how "just" it was that these people were being treated as they were. I was disgusted by what he was saying. He was very critical of the prisoners, and even complained about the classical music being played, arguing that a different song should have been chosen. Amazed that he would even be thinking about what song the prisoners were playing, I said, "You've got to be kidding." I was beginning to realize I didn't care at all for this fellow, even though I had originally thought I liked him.

When the fellow continued talking, I realized he was also trying to make a point about the difference between the United States and East Germany, to berate the United States. To myself I thought about how much more powerful the United States was than East Germany, how the United States could just blow East Germany away. I couldn't imagine the United States doing such a thing, but I felt rather proud to know that I was from the United States, and not from East Germany.

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