Early this morning I awoke from a peaceful dream about the Senate majority leader. Usually real-life people don't match their dream selves when I dream about them. But Harry Reid looked just like himself, and I sat beside him with the knowledge that here at last I was seeing the real man I had read about in news stories and blog posts. He'd shown up, that's all, and I could take a look at him. I found that I liked him.
Most of the dream had us chatting beside the fireplace in a removed locale, a limbo space that was a bit like the air above my parents' neighbors' home as evening turned to night. Sorry to be that poetic, specific and obscure, but it's what I come up with. I see us by our fireplace in what appears to be a long, gray corridor, and then I think of our neighbors' white porch on a night that's turning dark.
A point about the gray corridor: it's comfortable. It's not an institutional sort of corridor, more a futuristic one. It seems dim, but it also seems gray and sleek and like it has been upholstered somehow. Where Reid and I sit, the corridor bulges out to make a space, so we're not crowded. Our fireplace glows at our feet; possibly it's a tube placed horizontally in the wall and giving out a soft futuristic glow.
Reid and I are recapping the day's events. He's a wiry fellow, humorous, much amused but pugnacious. I'm happy to be at his side and under his wing. I'm going to be discreet: what he tells me about Washington will go to nobody else's ears, and there is no set-up, no test of discretion that will cause me to fail. I know how gossip works, and I will make sure I'm clean of any part of passing it on. These are the thoughts I have just before waking up.
You'll notice that my relationship with Reid has advanced rapidly. The dream started with him as somebody I met, and it ended with him as my mentor and, okay, father figure. The sense I get is that I'm not in his employ but I’m at his elbow, the man he tells important stuff to. Maybe he respects my intellect and wants to see what I make of things. Maybe I'm a rising young man of letters and he respects my outsider's viewpoint on his doings in power.
Around when I'm formulating my discretion policy, there's a moment when I remind myself that I'm not young, that I'm middle-aged. This does not bother me too much—I guess I'm reconciled to being an aging juvenile—but I take note of it. I have to because otherwise I forget. Being a protégé feels so natural. I've never managed it in real life, but my dream is finally giving me a chance.
You may also notice that I have a difficult turn of mind. Set-ups! Tests! And that's in a dream where I feel comfortable. Imagine an anxiety dream—my God. At Harry Reid's elbow, the one thing I can think of doing is not-doing. I gear up for my new future and what I imagine is keeping my mouth shut. All right, I'll be keeping my mouth shut around important people, which means I'll be interacting with them. But my job will be simply to float about in their presence, hearing what I can, attracting no undue notice and giving nothing away. What I hope to find out, what we'll do with the knowledge—nothing on that score. My overriding goal is not to be caught out by Reid as a man of sloppy habits, a blabbermouth. I assume he'll engineer traps to make sure. I take this for granted as a fact of life at the top.
Then the night air and my neighbor's porch. I look down from 10 or 15 feet above. I'm flying up the tree-covered hillside where they live, and the air is cold at my feet. The motion feels good and so does the height, the looking down. I barely notice that I myself am there; it's like a view from a camera. And then I'm awake.
That's my dream about Harry Reid. It isn't much and I can't explain it, but I bet it explains me. Whatever I've got, it fits right in there.