Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Virtual Reality Holographic Phone Call Dream

I just woke up from the weirdest dream ever. I dreamt that I was spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my West Coast friends (people I have actually spent Thanksgiving with, so it wasn't totally surreal). Something really tragic had happened but none of us were talking about it.

Another guest who showed up for dinner was a guy named Dan that we all knew in college, who was the best man at my friends' wedding but with whom I had never been at all close. I remember at one point that he introduced himself to me and shook my hand as though we had never met before, all while I'm thinking, "What a dick. He's got to be kidding me."

Then it came time to call the family and say Happy Thanksgiving to them. I stepped into a type of telephone that enabled me to appear as a hologram before the people I was calling, and to interact with them in a real-time, virtual-reality experience of where they were at. I have no idea how this would work outside of Star Trek.

First I called my Dad and Stepmom. I think I appeared in the backseat of their car while they were driving home from dinner with another couple. This is the part of the dream I remember least clearly, but it was full of warmth and humor, and there was something in it about a gift exchange in which Dad had gotten her an electronic toy that he really wanted rather than the new TV she had been expecting, but the way Dad facetiously made a note of the TV idea suggested to me that he had one more surprise in store for her.

Then I called my Mom. With her were my half-brother Jake, my uncle Mark, and (I kid you not) my Stepdad, notwithstanding the fact that he died in 2004. Perhaps he was a feature of the VR. I noticed that he didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything to him, yet within the context of the dream I didn't consider it strange to see him there.

My Mom was having a fit because the boys weren't cooperating with her idea of a happy family holiday. They had started painting a mural together, which was supposed to show a cart full of the things they were thankful for, but after painting the cart they had started to argue, and so nothing else had been added. I tried to cheer Mom up, first with a holographic hug (in which I could have sworn I felt my fingers touch her back) and then by offering Jake a holographic kick in the ass, which made my Mom laugh for a moment.

But as she went on describing what was going on, my Mom began to cry and I didn't know what to say, so I walked away to follow Jake and see what he was doing in the next room. He was standing in front of the unfinished mural with paints and a brush, undecided about what to do. As I passed him, I said for his ears alone: "Hint: paint people."

Then, just to appear as cool as I felt, I kept walking, right out the side door (taking some satisfaction in how the screen slammed behind me) and down the sidewalk toward the street. It wasn't exactly where my Mom lives now. Maybe she had moved to Miami or something. The neighborhood was all lit up with decorations. But I only had eyes for the palms of my hands, which (in the VR simulation) were covered with labeled buttons controlling different aspects of the call. To my frustration, I couldn't find one that said "Hang up."

Plus, as sirens approached, I grew increasingly concerned that I may have accidentally pushed the "extreme emergency call" button and that my Mom would think I had prank-called 911 on her house. As the embarrassment reached dream-engulfing levels, I woke up and decided to write this. After taking a pee, that is.

And now that I've written it, I'm going to pick a couple of goofy pictures to stick with it, and click "publish post," so you can read it. And now you've read it, which catches us up to the present moment. So what do you think? Was that a weird dream, or what?

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