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Interpreter of Dreams

February 6th, 2010

As in I need one.

It is 5:56 a.m.  on a Saturday. I woke up in a cold sweat genuinely panicked that I was about to miss a crucial flight.

I was at my current employer’s private air terminal waiting with 36 other people to get on the plane. Like I often do, I was sitting in one of the desks working; trying to get a few more things done before climbing on the plane.

Now our corporate jets are not full of leather couches and rich wood paneling. But what we lack in quality in private jet accoutrements, we make up for in quantity. We have at least four jets that are flying non-stop, five days a week, between sites in the Northwest  and the Southwest, with the primary destination being right in the middle: California. HQ. Silicon Valley.

My current employer seems almost uncomfortable with the idea of having its own private airline.  Appearing lavish or flashy is decidedly counter to our culture–a culture where even the CEO sits in a cubicle. So great pains are taken to make the experience of flying on the fleet of private jets as common and egalitarian as it can be.

Unfortunately the planners took their template for running an airline from Southwest’s playbook. You are issued a boarding pass when you arrive at the “Jet Center” terminal. Chairs are lined down a long wall and passengers who arrive earliest occupy the chairs nearest the boarding area.

Once the plane arrives and the super-nerds (this is a term of endearment and I use it with the utmost respect; these are the people who are making the most complex devices mankind has ever made, after all) disembark, the call to board goes out. Like sheep being forced through a chute, nervous and cranky travelers holding a boarding pass crowd their way through the small doorway that opens to the tarmac.

No assigned seating means that there is an incredible amount of jockeying for position on the tarmac. Those who have to drop off an overnight bag or perhaps a box holding an experimental compute device are in serious jeopardy of being passed by an aggressive engineer hoping to secure one of the handful of single seats next to a window.

But I digress.

Back to the dream. I was sitting at one of the mini-cubicles trying to dash off a final email response or something, when the call to board went out. But somehow I was not checked in online yet, so I had no boarding pass.

The 36 other passengers were clamoring for their place in line and I was struggling to get online confirmation that I had a seat.

Now this is where it gets weird.

I feverishly went from doing email to the online tool to claim my seat. But they had changed the interface of the online tool! (It’s a sign you may be spending too much time online when you start to dream about interfaces changing).

The line was thinning as more people exited the terminal and made their way across the tarmac to the plane.

“Where the hell is that confirmation button!” I was thinking. But I could not find it.

Somehow just standing up and walking over to the actual, physical Jet Center people to work things out seemed less important than getting that confirmation in the virtual world first.

Sweating. Desperate to get on that plane and move on to the next thing, I clicked wildly in hopes of securing an online confirmation.

A pilot with mirrored sunglasses and a moustache from the late seventies stood at the doorway leading to the tarmac. His eyebrows raised above the rim of his dark glasses as if to say “You joining us, or what?”

But I still could not find that damn confirmation button!

That’s when I woke up.

What does it mean?

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