Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thank You, Run Again!

I HAD A WEIRD-ASS dream last night. Like the last couple of dreams I had (or at least those I recall in the morning), it took place at work. Similarities end there.

To set the scene: My office occupies one quarter of a floor of a block-sized Depression-era office building. It is possible to circumnavigate the office via a hall formed by the outer walls of the space and the borders of the cube honeycomb that fills the inside. The overhead look is that of a racetrack. In my dream, this was literal.

Many of the employees in our information-technology department are from India. They comprise a very small, if hardworking and talented, percentage of the total headcount. In my dream, however, fully a third of the company was Indian.

And they were running.

I came into the dream, as I usually do, in the middle of the plot. Every Indian employee in the company was running around the racetrack-like outer pathway of our office. Workers of both sexes and all ages were there, in Western business dress as well as Subcontinental garb, pacing just short of a sprint in a tight formation. I actually had to get out of their way as they barreled down the hall, and I stood on a desk at the edge of the cube farm as they passed, laughing and panting, their ID tags bouncing and flying at the ends of their lanyards.

I was evidently late to the show, because they made one more half-revolution around the office and then slowed down to a jog, and then to an exhausted, smiling halt. They spoke excitedly among themselves, and some of them were talking on cellphones to our other offices, confirming that the Indian employees there, too, had done the same thing. This made me try to remember whether this might have been an Indian or Hindu holiday, but I didn't have a copy of the Indian holiday list (which in real life we do have; we have outsourcing contracts and there's almost no correspondence between our holiday schedule and theirs). They eventually dispersed to their desks in small groups, still happy and chatting about the run.

So what the hell is up with that? Am I concerned that our Indian employees will run rings around us? Those folks in our office are in no danger of taking my job; we're in different departments. I did find a stapled PowerPoint printout in one of our conference rooms that detailed the capabilities of a Bangalore-based typesetting firm. My immediate boss said this didn't pose a threat to the newsletter crew, though, or at least as far as she had heard. Compared to some of the slackers in the other parts of my department, and especially in the department in which I started in this company, the Indian IT guys and women bust their asses. I never see them lingering except over their lunch, which they tend to bring from home (mmmm, curry).

Who knows. Perhaps I was using the original source of the juggernaut in a very literal sense. In a more Quagmire-esque vein, perhaps it's just a desire on my part to see one particular female Indian employee, who is proportioned with a generosity I have only ever seen in Nature one other time (Ratatosk, Fyrefly: think RV in Colorado), running with pulchritudinous gusto. But she didn't appear in the dream. And depressingly, my dreams tend not to be so explicitly lowbrow.

So that's my puzzle for the next few days. The broader question of why I am dreaming of friggin' work so often surely could be solved with a couple of 4-day autumn weekends. I have to say, that prescription's looking mighty tasty.

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