John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

Please Move Your Emergency to Where Our Computer Thinks It Is

The early parts of the dream are lost to wakefulness. The first part I can remember involves me driving the Forester out of a parking lot surrounded by trees and onto the Reston Parkway, headed towards Fair Lakes. In the passenger seat is a woman that I don't know in reality, but whom dream reality identifies as one of my co-workers from Starbucks. By way of showing her how the bluetooth phone setup works, I call hantamouse and jamesbarrett.

While we're chatting with them, as I'm nearing where Vale Road and the water tower would be in reality, I spot a small blimp, burning furiously, coming in for an emergency landing in a park (that isn't actually there). After the appropriate "Holy crap!" I hang up on Lee and Jamie, pull into a park across the street (roughly where the entrance to Penderwood is in reality), and call 911 via said bluetooth connection.

911 rings. And rings. And rings. I'm just about to give up on it, tell my Starbucks co-worker to tell them what's happening if and when they pick up, and run to the blimp to try to help, when 911 answers.

Them: "What is your location?"

Me: "I'm on Reston Parkway between Fair Oaks and the Navy school. There's an airship on fire!"

Them: "Our computer shows that you are not on Reston Parkway, but actually parked near it." [1]

Me: "Well yeah, I'm not actually on Reston Parkway. But there's an airship on fire here. Send a fire engine!"

Them: "Please state your location as being near Reston Parkway, or move to Reston Parkway."

Me: "..."

On the grounds that people are probably dying while this nonsense is going on I get out of the car and rush to the blimp, only to find that it's not burning any more. It turns out it wasn't really a blimp so much as a blimp-shaped hot air balloon, and the entire thing was roughly the size of a Winnebago. Its passengers were a vacationing family of two parents, a teenage daughter, and a near- or early-teen son, who have carried the gondola into a gazebo [2] and are in the process of moving what's left of the envelope into the same.

All of them look rattled, but aside from the son having black smears around his eyes like makeup in some cheesy old movie, none of them seem injured or worse for wear. I ask if everyone is all right, and the son says, "Well we're not doing that again!" but that's about all the reaction I get.

I cross back over to my car to tell the 911 dispatch that everybody from the "burning airship" is okay, assuming that my Starbucks co-worker is still arguing with them about where the car is. However, co-worker is nowhere to be found and 911 has put me on hold. Just then I receive an incoming call: some person who keeps trying to wheedle me into being an editor for some project I'm totally not interested in is calling me. I tell them that I'm dealing with an emergency, to which they respond that they just called to tell me that there is a new chapter on Dropbox. My only answer is, "Yay?"

That's when the cats meowing for their breakfast woke me up. Sounds like it was only going to go downhill from there anyway.

-The Gneech [3]

[1] It doesn't strike my dream-brain as the slightest bit unusual that they'd have a computer that shows where my car is. My first thought is that when I called 911, my car GPS or phone GPS transmitted the location in case I was unable to communicate, which struck me as a very useful and prudent feature, even if it is part of a hideous police state of intrusive and endless surveillance. Which we do actually live in, in real life. My dream brain does want to know, however, "If you know where I am, why are you wasting my time asking me?"

[2] "Gondola into a gazebo" is fun to write.

[3] Analysis? I don't have much. Crashing and burning airships figure largely into my book manuscript, and of course I have been the guy on the other end of the line telling people there's a new draft up, so I might be projecting my own insecurities there. Starbucks co-worker has a lot of possible meanings, but is probably a reflection on the job itself rather than any person at it. 911 and attendant bureaucracy was probably inspired by real world current events more than anything else.
Tags: dreams, starbucks moments, steampunk, work
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