Dream: Neutral Affect


I am attending (or perhaps crashing) a fancy event at an incredibly luxurious hotel.
Maybe it is an Apple event, as I see John G and other co-workers there.
But it feels like it might be in Asia; something out of the Korean dramas we binge.

It is supposedly breakfast, but when I look for food I don’t find any.
Perhaps I’m too late.


There’s some sort of contest taking place in a video game.
Perhaps a virtual world like Second Life.
Beautiful models are scattered throughout the hotel, typing on keyboards.

The hostess explains that we should ask the models for an entry card.
But it will be difficult since they speak an obscure dialect of Chinese; Red Mountain Spring or something like that.

I find one of the girls, in a lobby where a few others are, each a few yards apart, by a wall or railing.
I try to talk to her.
She lets out a short wordless moan and hands me a piece of paper from a stack.

The scrap looks like it was torn or cut roughly from Asian packaging paper.
It contains red lettering in several different languages and font sizes.
One language near the middle is English, perhaps all caps or small caps.
I recognize the words, but I can’t read it.
[maybe I could in the Dream]

Idle Wandering

The game doesn’t sound very alluring so I wander the event.
I think I pick up some tchotchkes and such to put in my briefcase;
The old brown one with a combo lock,
like I had in college.

I go back up to the fancy non-breakfast room.
It seems to have been turned into a sleeping room for infants and elderly couples.
The room is tightly packed with mattresses, and I trip over one by trying to sneak across.
I accidentally pull off the comforter.

The Indian couple glares at me like I exposed something indecent, but they are both fully clothed.
Also, they were sleeping on two different parts of the mattress, the wife on top and husband at the bottom.
The mutter curses at me in a foreign language while re-covering themselves.

Sound Decisions

I decide to sneak away somewhere else, presumably to find a place to stash my briefcase.
I discover a false wall near the entrance, like a hologram.
When I go through, it looks like a sound booth the size of a small closet.
But it opens into a decent-sized lounge, like the green room of a show.

There’s even a couple open, half-empty bottles of fancy liquor inside glass cabinets mounted on the upper walls.
The cabinets might be locked.
I wonder if I could force them open.
Then I notice another passageway.

It leads to an enormous, crescent-shaped DJ booth mounted on metal arm.
We are above a club or dance floor, but it is mostly empty now.
I must’ve tripped a switch or activated a program, because it starts moving!

It starts swooping and diving through the air.
Like a roller coaster.
Or the world’s most amazing VR ride.
I think, “This is awesome!” as I tumble down the middle.
I can’t believe the realism.

Suddenly, resolve crystallizes within me.
Even though it is a late start,
I will win the game – and a girl.
I don’t know why.
Maybe the near-death experience made me reevaluate my life choices.
Or perhaps I glimpsed one of them from above.


I join the game at the end.
I see the rows of girls.
And players lined up to perform before them.
I don’t know if the final stage is real life,
Or just amazing virtual reality.

Most players aRe wearing [American] football jerseys.
One at a time, they pick a girl to perform for.
They seem to be performing some kind of hand motions
Or perhaps dancing.

These girls are all “affect neutral.”
Which I assume is a type of autism.
Judging from my earlier encounter,
They aren’t capable of normal speech.

Maybe this whole game
Is about challenging people to learn to communicate with them.

Not many seem to have succeeded.
So perhaps I still have a chance.
But the line must be insanely long.

Yet it is not.
Behind the dozens I saw lined up is a changing area.
Two lines, one for men and one for women;
No women waiting, and just a couple men finishing up.
Either a. I joined very late, b. not many people applied, or c. very few made it all the way to the final stage where I jumped in.

The tables have miscellaneous football apparel, mostly jerseys.
All for the Green Bay Packers.
I don’t know if that is all they bought, or this is the only team left.
I sigh — feeling like I’m betraying my dad, a diehard Chicago Bears fan.

I change into a Packers jersey.
Then I strip off my pants, and after some consideration, my underwear.
If I’m gonna do this, I should do this all the way.
I look around for any kidney pads I can use,
since it seems we get points for following the theme.

One of the helpers comes over.
An Indian guy.
I see “Prabhakar” written in marker on his equipment.
Above another number, perhaps a date,
Or an inventory number.

I tell him I’m also a Prabhakar, from Tamil-Nadu, Tirunelveli district.
He confirms he is a Prabhakar, but also born in the US.
His family is from some state up north, but I (and perhaps he) aren’t sure where.
He is generally supportive, thought maybe he’s that way with all the contestants.

I suddenly realize how I can win.
All the other contestants are dancing FOR the women.
I can dance WITH them.

I can dance with all of them.
Or maybe…
Just with The One.

Then I wake up.

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