Yesterday was my first day back to work after a 4-day vacay with family visiting. I largely avoided the news, which is rare, and was greeted on my first day back with major breaking stuff.
I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I needed to replay every second of the day, apparently.
I stared at Facebook for about an hour, from 5:48 to 7 a.m. before I finally fell asleep for real.
Around 9:10 a.m. I woke up from a fucking nightmare of a nightmare.
The last thing that happened before my eyes popped open was far from the worst part of the dream.
The GM of the radio station I worked for years ago in Knoxville was trying to kiss a woman I currently work with in front of a bunch of people, as a way of greeting her.
You know how, in dreams, you know people and facts, even though those people and facts aren’t known to you in real life? This blog post is/my dream was filled with that. For example, in real life, the GM of the radio station was Terry Gillingham when I worked there. That’s not who was in my dream. It was just a guy who, during the dream, I knew was the GM. So unless I call someone by name, assume it’s not who you think it would be.
I was sitting at the desk in the FOX 13 newsroom in Tampa, scrolling through my Facebook feed on my cell phone. The desk area is elevated about a foot above the rest of the newsroom and is like a control center.
This is the first “scene” I remember.
Kristin Farley had posted a video of her daughter’s leg wrapped by a 2’x2′ octopus. It was a friendly octopus, but her daughter was flailing and screaming in some shallow water, as one does, while the octopus clung for dear life.
Next instant – I’m on the floor in front of the desk being swirled in a rip current with that damn octopus wrapped around my leg. Someone is there coaching me on how to get out of this situation and it’s totally normal that 1) there’s water in the newsroom 2) there’s an octopus wrapped around my leg 3) this person is able to stand there while I’m apparently immobile.
The octopus finally gives up and the water is gone, but my cell phone is gone.
It’s now apparent that I’m filling in on the desk and Lisa is leaving for dinner as news starts breaking all over the place.
I can’t understand the scanners, I’ve lost my phone (read: will to live), and Chris (my real-life boss) comes out to tell me he’s been trying to call me, yells at me for not answering, and then tells me he’s transferring a call to the desk and I need to handle it.
In real life, when I fuck up, Chris does not yell at me. Dream me is now fucking wrecked.
I answer the transferred call and it’s someone from “Channel 13” telling me the main story on our website about the serial killer cuts off about halfway through. The woman, who is on speaker with another man, is talking about it like our sites are connected, so this is happening on their site too. This is true of our site in real life, but there’s not another channel 13 so I’m really confused about who these people are.
I take notes on Lisa’s notepad because it’s there next to the phone, but I have a feeling of dread because I know I’m going to be fired for doing that.
I try to log into iCloud so I can Find My iPhone, as I’m picturing it out to sea with the octopus. I keep saying I’m going to call the phone to hear it ring, but never actually do it.
That’s when people in the newsroom decide they’re going to play a weird game. It’s a holiday and bosses are out of the office. Except mine, apparently?
The game, as I understand it, is to write your ‘redneck name’ on a piece of paper, put it into a hat, and then draw out a different piece of paper left by someone else. I’m the last person to get my entry in and I’m super annoyed I’m being forced to do this but also have major fear of being left out.
Not sure what was supposed to happen after that, but everyone was running around the newsroom screaming and laughing. We’re supposed to be writing things down on the paper before we switch again and some people have stickers and pens with pretty ink. I am looking at everyone’s else, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Finally, I throw my paper and loudly say “I need to find my phone and don’t have time for this.”
Also, I have major anxiety because I know there’s breaking news and no one is at the desk – and I’m supposed to be.
I get back to my post and the computer monitors and keyboards are on these swivels. I can lay down in my chair and have the monitor up over me with the keyboard in my lap. There are also weird mouse pads with funny animals and shapes, but they’re the really thin, floppy ones and they keep getting tangled up and twisted around.
I’m definitely about to cry.
The computers’ themes have been customized like I would have done in 2000. The sounds are really funny, weird audio recordings and the desktop backgrounds make the windows hard to read. Nothing works the way I think it should.
There are a few people, including Drew Robison, playing video games at a TV by the desk. Someone else comes up to try and do some work and unplugs the TV. They all give a loud, jovial AWWWWW and then just walk away.
Lisa is back and being really mean. I ask her if there’s a problem and she tells me Linda H. told her I said she was a “fucking bitch.” I’m floored. I never even really talk to Linda and I certainly wouldn’t say that.
I’m still too preoccupied by 1) my phone and 2) this website problem, so I decide not to care about the Lisa, Linda thing.
Somehow that channel 13 with the website problem makes a switch in my head to South Central Radio Group in Knoxville – and suddenly I’m planning a trip there so I can figure out this website problem. I’m convinced if I see it on their computers I will have the answer.
An engineer comes out of nowhere and says he and a bunch of other people are coming with me.
We pile into a van and head up the hill. When we get there, everything has changed. There are kindergarten classrooms in various places outside and inside the building. We have to walk through several hallways just to get to the front lobby. When we get there, we try to take what we thought was the elevator up to the second floor, where the receptionist now sits, but it was an elevator just for transporting cash… ? *shrug*
We go up a large spiral staircase that’s operating like an escalator. There’s a woman sitting on the step next to me and she seems like she needs help, but she’s smiling and kind of sweet.
The escalator is also moving really fast and it’s hard to stay standing, so this lady is on her own.
We get to the top and it becomes clear that we should have made an appointment. The receptionist is not happy about 5 of us showing up, unannounced, at the end of the workday to talk to the GM. We still haven’t told her what we want to talk to him about.
We’re shuffled into a room with chairs, but it’s less of a waiting room and more of a storage place for chairs.
There’s another guy waiting there. He’s wearing a suit and tie, but he’s using one of those massive vape block things and he has lots of messy facial hair and is wearing a crocheted beanie. He’s Hannah Horvath’s downstairs neighbor on “Girls,” but in my dream he’s just a guy.
He looks at me and says he’ll only be a few minutes, as if to say he’s before us in line.
A big side door opens and Beth Weber and another photographer from the station jump up to unload storage bins from the back of a truck. The engineer who insisted they all come opens one of the bins to show me what he refers to as meeting materials, but they’re coloring books and sticker books for kids.
I’m like, what the fuck are these for? He tells me they’re mandatory Fox meeting materials – to get the meeting started off right. I’m like, these are unnecessary. I just want to talk to the GM about this website problem and it needs to be fast. We don’t need to do this.
He laughs at me and says it’s mandatory.
The GM walks into the room. He’s really tall. He looks like someone I know in real life, but I can’t put a name to him.
He shakes my hand first and he has a super weird handshake.
Then he goes to a woman standing next to me. She’s with us, but this was the first time I saw her. She has really bleach blonde hair and is wearing a red skirt suit, polyester.
He puts his hands on either side of her head and leans in to kiss her, but she turns her head hard to the left and recoils. We’re all just standing there watching.