Dream of: 13 October 2001 (2) "Epistemology"

My father – who was a professional truck driver – and I had been riding for a long time (without talking) in a semi-truck which he was driving. As we rode along, I was mostly thinking about one of my recent experiences. I had been working for the U.S. Census Bureau, employed in bureaucratic activities. I hadn't needed to expend much effort at the Census Bureau: initially, I had been in charge of stocking census forms; then I had advanced to being in charge of recruiting other workers; finally I had moved up to an even higher position within the Census Bureau. However, at long last, my boss had summoned me and informed me that my job was finished and that I would be transferred to the White House.

I had proceeded to the White House, where I had met with an imposing man who was a professional negotiator for the White House. I had only talked with him briefly, and after I had departed from the White House, I had never been called back. Now – sitting in the truck with my father, and pondering – I realized what had happened: my boss at the Census Bureau had simply been trying to find another job for me because he hadn't wanted to tell me that I was no longer employed; but I had never actually been given a job at the White House; I had simply had an interview.

Now I had no job. I could still return to the White House and talk with the negotiator again. But if I did that, I would definitely need a new wardrobe – at least three suits and some sports jackets. I would probably need to spend around $2,000 for new clothes. But I was unsure I wanted to return to the White House; I would probably be subjected to background tests, and I was uncertain I would pass. I should probably simply look for work elsewhere.

Meanwhile, my father and I – still in the truck – had arrived in Columbus, Ohio. He mentioned that he later intended to drive to the Gallia County Farm and stay there for a couple days, and he wanted to know if I would like to go with him. He said he liked to go to the Farm to drink alcohol. I was uncertain I wanted to go. I certainly didn't want to go to the Farm simply to drink.

We drove through the streets of Columbus. Some shoe shine boys were standing on the sidewalk; one was only wearing sandals. Finally we pulled into a parking lot where my father parked his truck at night. A boy ran up to the door of the truck to get the key from my father.

***

I was sitting in a university classroom. The room was in the shape of an auditorium, with tiers of seats. I was sitting in the bottom front row, while my father was standing at the top, at the rear of the room. Perhaps 50 other preppy-looking students were also sitting in the room. One of my old high school classmates, MacDonald, was sitting among the students. He was the only person I recognized.

One student stood up, walked to the front of the room and began addressing the rest of the class. He talked about the subject of the class: epistemology. I knew epistemology was the study of knowledge, but I knew little else about it. As the fellow talked in front of us, I understood nothing he was saying. In his hands he was holding a black book – an odd-looking book – about a meter square and about a two centimeters thick. Rather dramatically, he held the book over his head, and then stuck his head right through the book! – obviously the book had a hole in the middle. He simply stood there looking at us, with his head through the book. He was trying to make some kind of point, trying to teach us something about epistemology – but for the life of me, I had no idea what he was trying to say.

He called on one of the other students to speak. The student stood up and began talking. I hoped he didn't call on me because not only did I not know what I would say, but I also had a rather embarrassing erection.

When another student, a woman in the back of the room, stood to speak, I looked back at her, and I noticed my father was leaving. I hesitated, then I also stood to leave. I couldn't let my father leave without me. As I headed toward the door, I realized I had a sheet wrapped around me. My foot became tangled in the sheet. Finally I disentangled myself and proceeded toward the door.

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