I have to be dreaming…

I was woken up by the phone ringing around 6:00 am. I answered it, and found it was someone from my temporary employment agency calling me. I did not recognize the male voice – I had never worked with him before. He said that he was sorry, but my services were no longer needed.

That message seemed strange to me. The back story details suddenly filled my mind: Two days before, I had been “let go” from my job. One day previous, I had been rehired by my previous employer as a temporary employee. I had been a little bit upset that they did this to me after five years of service to them – presumably so they could have me work for them at a “starting-over” salary and without benefits for 90 days. But I had reported to work. My two-week assignment was to teach the manager of the temporary office how to use the company’s specialty software, inside and out. That assignment had not completely made sense to me. The software is very specialized to the dental industry, so why would the temporary employment agency manager need to learn it? But figuring that it was a paying gig, I took the job. And so the day before this phone call, I had completed day one of my work.

That is why this call seemed out of place. The male voice, whom I had never worked with before at the agency, then said my name and goodbye. But he didn’t say my name correctly. He had hung up so quickly, I could not ask about it. I thought he must have made a mistake – my assignment was for two weeks, and he did not get my name correctly, so he must have called the wrong person.

I decided that, since it was time to wake up anyway, I would start my day and report to work as I knew I was supposed to.

I went to work, which had relocated overnight to the location of my old high school. Next door to my high school was the old seminary building, a building owned by my church and used for “release time” religious class instruction for the high school students who elected to take it. I walked through the seminary building in my route to my high school / new work location.

As I walked in the building, the impressive pictures inspired by the life and miracles of and prophecies about Jesus still greeted me on the walls. I walked down the hallway, and I remembered the good feelings and memories of classes I had taken in that building.

Then I came to a roadblock. Two seminary teachers, one dressed in a suit and the other dressed in a dress (because one was male and the other was female) stood in the hallway blocking traffic.

By traffic, I mean “me.” I was told I could not go that way, as they were setting up for a show. I could see the area yellow-taped off, but felt that I could easily navigate through it. I protested and explained that I was just trying to pass through to get to work. But they insisted I would have to wait until the show was over. It would be starting soon anyway.

When the show began, I discovered it was the Muppets performing there in the hallway. Except these were not the main-stay characters (Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, or Miss Piggy); this show was entirely made up of the “Muppet What Nots” (those background one-time characters that are used in a couple of sketches and then never seen again).

Having no choice, I watched the Muppets perform their highly entertaining program. While I ordinarily would have relished such an opportunity, I was a bit edgy at this time because I needed to get to work, and I was eager to find the new location of the training room where I would be working in. I eventually recognized that the Muppets were going to be performing for quite some time, and so I backtracked out of the building and hurried along the path outside to get to my high school / work.

As I walked toward the high school building, I naturally slowed my step, as memories of that time of my life came flowing back. I wondered just how much changed the facility would appear now? I walked toward what I remembered having been an entrance, only to find it was no longer there. Apparently, I was going to find the building changed considerably from what I remembered. I hunted for a while, panic again returning as more time passed and I still did not know a way inside.

I finally found an entrance, but was dismayed to see another coworker was leaving the building carrying his personal belongings in a non-descript cardboard box. He was crying, and I tried not to make eye contact. Apparently, they were firing a lot of people. I hoped that he would get his job back the next day, as had been done for me. If that is what he wanted. I really didn’t know if he would want to come back after being treated such a way. I was still a bit upset over my treatment. But I had decided that a job was better than no job.

Which reminded me – I needed to get inside the building to go do my job.

I entered the building, and was again surprised to discover that what used to be a high school had now become a three-story shopping mall.

As I wandered around, desperately trying to find the location of the training room where I needed to be, I found myself on the third floor. Although I really didn’t know where anything should be, my gut feeling told me that the third floor was wrong. So I decided I should make my way down a level and continue searching.

That’s when I discovered that I was not wearing a shirt.

I was about to pick-up the cell phone and call my wife, to let her know that I needed her to bring me a shirt, when I noticed that she was right beside me. I told her about my shirtless dilemma, and how I was concerned that I would not have time to go back home, get a shirt, and still make it back to find the training room on time. In her wisdom, she pointed out to me that we didn’t need to go home. We were in a shopping mall. We could purchase a new shirt at one of the stores. She is so smart – just another reason why I love her!

Concerned that my financial earnings had just went down due to my firing and rehiring, we agreed that we would try to find a shirt on clearance rather than pay full price. But if that could not be done, we’d get a shirt so I could get on my way.

We walked around a bit, but only saw women’s clothing stores. Then we passed the mall’s nursery. We both stopped short at the sight of a couple dozen babies, all peacefully playing or sleeping in car seats. The seats were set up on shelves three rows high. Babies sitting there in their car seats, dropped off by parents who had come shopping (or maybe workers at the stores, I suppose too). Fortunately, all the babies were pretty happy. We looked all over but could not see anyone in charge – no nurse, no babysitter, no worker in charge of the day care store at all. This was incredible! What a dangerous situation, leaving all of these children unattended like that, sitting unbelted in infant car seats, on shelves high up in the air!

What was somebody thinking!

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