Just Shelley

The Nightmare

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I had this nightmare. In it, I was back in Boston working at again. I can see myself, sleeping in the bed in the expensive loft apartment the company sub-leased for me that was right across the alley from the offices. It’s 4:30 in the morning and the alarm has gone off as I get up to prepare to go to work.

I make my way through the dark and damp Boston streets in the neighborhood formerly known as the Leather District, but now the habitat of the rich and the digital. Up the stairs I go to be the first to enter the office: a big, empty room with wooden floors and brick walls; with desks lined up in rows, like trained horses waiting their riders.

I turn on the lights and make the coffee–first of many pots to be made before the Starbucks opens. I then log into my machine and hope that it’s running, because I don’t want to have to call the SysAdmin and get him out of bed if something has gone wrong.

It is now 5:30. In a couple of hours, it’s light outside. My closest friend shows up with the light–she was always the second to arrive, and we’d have a small chat before both getting into work. We share the only office the place has: a former glassed in bedroom in this former clothing warehouse. We have the office because I’m lead architect. No, we have the office because I don’t work well with distraction and I have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep this company alive. We have to deliver four major applications and the basic infrastructure of an entire plane parts and supply and auction site before November or risk loosing out on the next round of funding.

Funding is big in our office. We talk funding more than code, or design, or even the weather. It hangs over us and slips between us like a fog on a winter London night.

About mid-morning, most of the other folks have arrived: men and women both, primarily young. In my dream they are all young and wordly and beautiful. I know for a fact they weren’t all beautiful, but this is a dream. The CTO, who I report to, hasn’t arrived; he’s gone most of the time. I didn’t notice it then; I remember it now.

Anyway, my friend and I take our morning break to walk to Starbucks, to treat ourselves to a sweet and a coffee. Then back to work–working through lunch, though afternoon, usually into the evening.

I would sometimes go out to dinner with the CTO and one or the other of the folks. They were all younger, and very sophisticated. I remember a lot of black clothing and brushed aluminum, and a feeling of being very hip, very with it. We’d visit some of the very chi-chi places to eat and I felt I had bought into this new age of the Internet. And buy into it I did, indeed, as I worked 15, sometimes 20 hour days, with little or no time off. Hey, this wasn’t a job: it was an adventure. And oh, my, didn’t my long hours eventually turn me into the wicked witch of the east–no ruby slippers, though. Black and brushed aluminum, white brick, and pale oak.

I remember this from my sleep. I remember walking into the echoing, empty warehouse/loft with its white painted brick walls and darkened windows, after too little sleep the night before. I remember thinking that I was a part of something, an important part of something. This is the dream part, you see. The good moment before the bad. This is the part where in the movie, the monster jumps out at you from the darkened room and eats your head. In my dream, though, no monster ate my head. I just woke up, and therein lies the nightmare.

I don’t know why I had this dream this week. Oh, yes, maybe I do.

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