15 September 2007

Gross National Product and The Great Train Robbery

The other night, I had a uniquely vivid dream. I was at a train station with a co-worker of mine, Trent. We were walking beside a black coal train that was stopped on the track. We were musing about how the government calculates the Gross National Product and what it actually means.

At a certain point, it occurred to me, as it happens in a dream, that we could find out the answer to our question because attached to the train were two solid gold cylinders. We located the cylinders. Each was about the size of a thick pen, and each had an engraving along the side; one with the initials GNP and the other, GDP. We understood that upon investigation of these tubes (whose initials referred to Gross National Product and Gross Domestic Product), we would better understand the principle of the Gross National Product.

We looked at one another wondering whether or not the train needed them. We understood somehow that the solid gold cylinders were not essential to the running of the train, so we took them for examination with every intention of returning them before anyone noticed that they were missing.

A feeling of foreboding overcame us that, even though they weren't essential to the operation of the train, some official would be looking for us soon and we would be in trouble. So, we headed away from the train station as quickly and calmly as we could until we reached a forest area. No sooner had we reached the seclusion of the trees than we heard an alarm sound. We were certain they were looking for us.

We understood that our explanations that the train didn't really need the tubes and that we were just going to examine them weren't going to placate them. They were simply weren't interested in raising their nose beyond the rule book, so to speak.

We heard the bustling and yelling of a man getting closer, and we found a cave to hide in. We each found a natural bench inside the cave, lied down, and pretended that we were asleep. The man entered and was obviously irate. He pointed right at us and started loudly and accusingly calling to us. When we didn't respond. We simply kept pretending that we were asleep. Because this was a dream, the plan worked.

His attention was diverted to the 30-40 people that were now standing in a circle around him. They had come due to all the fuss and ruckus. He pointed at each of them, screaming loudly about the fact that someone had taken the two tubes and that they were going to be in very big trouble. I remember that my impression of his anger was that of a school principal towards some seriously belligerent students.

I realized that something bad was going to happen to these innocent people if Trent and I didn't pipe up, so I slowly sat up. I felt if I sat up slowly enough, I wouldn't attract attention and suspicion to myself. I raised my hand amidst his tirade, and he whirled about, turning his blazing eyes right at me. He said, "You took them!" His tirade reached another level, and I remember scarcely being able to keep my composure. I didn't incriminate myself, but I simply said, "I can explain." He told me how much trouble I was in, etc., etc., but I simply kept my hand raised as it had been before.

Finally, he stopped and resignedly asked, "What do you have to say, then?" I explained as quickly as I could that I was unaware of how important the cylinders were and that we had only extracted them for study and would have returned them immediately upon completion.
He told us to follow him and took us away from the crowd of people. My angst subsided a little bit (perhaps because I knew that the other people were safe), but I was unsure of what was going to happen next. He walked us toward the train and asked for the cylinders. However, we simply passed by the train. As we were passing it, the man bent the cylinders and tossed them to the ground.

I remember most vividly feeling profound sorrow and loss at his action. I asked him, "Why would you do something like that?" In a somewhat sorrowful, yet resolved tone, he said, "They're just symbols." An impish grin stole across my face for a half-second as I looked at Trent and realized that the man was on our side after all.

We walked passed the train, and I remember the dream progressing, but not what happened for the next little while.

Eventually, the fuzziness because vividness again, and here is what made this dream unique. Now, I was in a completely different scene. I was talking with Trent at work and we were walking out to our cars. I became excited, and I began to explain the dream that I had just had to him. (Remember this is still in the same dream.) I explained it to him in roughly the same detail that I just explained to you.

We kept getting stopped by this or that, like the fact that he didn't take his car and would be taking the bus. I offered him a ride in my car, etc.. Everything that I did, though, was an attempt to keep Trent around longer so I could explain more of this dream. I never got to the "symbols" part of the dream with him--that's were we ran out of time.


Now, I've had dreams within dreams before, but this was a dream where I had the dream and then I had a dream where I explained the previous dream to the dream "waking" version of the person that was in the dream with me. Just explaining it is tough...

Whenever I have a vivid dream like this, I wonder whether or not it means something. Perhaps it is just emotional garbage, my brain resting, or whatever. Then, again, maybe not.