Dream last night:
I am driving through Westboro with some friends, and I see the Google headquarters there.
It is a moderate-sized building made of tan brick.
“I’ve always meant to stop in, I drive by all the time,” I say. “C’mon, let’s take a tour!”
We walk inside. To take a tour, I have to sign my name at the security desk. They already have my signature on file, so just signing my name verifies my identity. They give me a visitor badge.
The interior is kind of like a museum, very open. Rather than have offices with doors, most people have a desk in one corner of an open room that has open doorways to adjacent rooms.
I look at the map. “Maybe we should start on the top floor and work our way down?”
A security guard gestures to me. “You should start there,” he says, pointing to a room.
It seems more like a suggestion than an order, so we go there.
It is a square room with a doorway on one side. Along the wall to the right of the entrance are a series of chairs, like the waiting area at a doctor’s office. Straight ahead are a series of windows, placed very high on the wall. They are half-height, like basement windows. On the wall to the left, there is a blocky staircase, no railing, just a series of blocks, leading to a small opening that is carpeted. The rest of the room is empty.
I sit in one of the chairs and wait. I realize that this is a line to wait to meet Eric Meyer, who is the head of Google’s UI and CSS department [in the dream, not in real life]. People are treating it like going to see the Wizard of Oz or something, they are all preparing the question they will ask. David Evans in there, he is excited, he turns to me, querying “what are you going to ask?” I say I’m not sure yet.
Gradually the line moves along. I watch people crawl out of the little hole, down the stairs, and out of the room, then the next person goes up the stairs and crawls into the little hole. It’s carpeted to act as padding so you don’t hurt yourself whacking your head or arms on the edge of the rectangular opening.
When my turn comes around, I go up the stairs and through the little doorway. On the other side is a good-sized office. Eric Meyer sits behind a mahogany desk. I hand him a scrap of paper I’ve been doodling on.
“Oh, you already know CSS,” he says after looking at the piece of paper, “let’s play a game, then.”
We enter some kind of virtual reality world, I don’t remember how. I am flying a plane of some kind, leading a squadron of planes against Eric. He is a Red Baron of sorts. He’s very good, flying towards the sun, then diving back down, then looping back up towards the sun. It catches most of my squadron by surprise, and he shoots them down. But I anticipated it, and riddle his plane with bullets. It is still falling, crumpled into a ball, and I keep shooting it as it goes down. I am laughing, not in a mean way, but with playful exuberance.
I exit the game, and somehow I am back in the waiting room. Eric is on a gurney, being wheeled out by paramedics. Somehow shooting him in the game has wounded him in real life. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I say, “I didn’t know!”
He coughs and waves me off, “don’t worry about it,” he coughs again, “you only winged me.” They wheel him off.
I’m not sure where to go next, so I wander through Google, wandering through different people’s office areas.
Then I hear a click-clack sound. It sounds like a old-fashioned newsroom. I follow the sound and it leads me to an old-fashioned office door, wood with a frosted glass window. Gold lettering on the window reads “Typewriter and Fax Department”. I open the door and go in. There are a couple rows of electric typewriters with people typing away on them. There is also a large device, half the size of a refrigerator, that buzzes and clunks. I realize it must be a fax machine. I also realize that a fax machine this old can only accept typed pages, and that is why they have the typewriters.
There are a few people gathered around one desk, and a woman is just finishing typing something. She reads off a number. “Wow,” says another woman, head of the department, “that’s twice as fast as I can type! Everyone, welcome our new employee!”
They are tryouts, where people can show of their typing skills for a chance at a job with Google.
There are a few people waiting to take their turn, at the end of the line, next to me, is an old woman, maybe 80 or 90.
She is there to try out. She is clutching a map and a thermos. She is wobbling a little, so she sits down at a school desk, one of the old ones where the chair is bolted to the desk with a metal arm. She sets down the map and the thermos. I can see the map, showing a red dot in Winslow, Maine. I realize this is where she is from. I mean to tell her that I was born in Waterville and went to high school there, but I never get around to mentioning it. It is her turn, so I help her up. She takes the lid off her thermos and pours some liquid into it. It is cool, clear water. She takes a sip and offers me the plastic cup. I take it and take a large sip. It tastes a little off but is very refreshing. She dotters up to take her turn at the typewriter, and I wander off down the hall.
Then I wake up.