Here’s a dream from last night.
There are two islands at the intersection of the East and Harlem rivers. One is small with a pleasant house and a few acres. The other is larger, with a small community. I recognize the area as a map, from above, before disembarking on the second island. There is a buzz of activity as locals visit shops. Commerce is based on a kind of merit system in which castes are established on something like IQ: the more points you have, the more you can acquire. In fact, to a certain level, your points are kept on an automatic tab. You don’t have to make transactions.
I don’t know my place. I’m with people shopping, but I refrain, anxious about being found out. Eventually, it comes to light that I’m in the dark. A friend takes me to get my placement assessed in a contest akin to a scholars bowl. It turns out that I score high. My value is set and I’m granted an additional four hundred dollars. It’s joked that I’ll never need the cash, as I could rely entirely on my tab. I’m relieved. Not feeling proud or accomplished, just glad that I fit in.
I become aware that others do not fare well in this economy. I begin to associate with barefooted children, then adults. Soon I’m mingling with this group, which is unaware of my caste status and thus unimpressed with any attributes other than myself. A thin bald man in the group becomes sexually aggressive toward me. His intensity is out of sorts in the group. I don’t want his attention. I really just want to fit in.
I travel to London as a celebrity. A guide leads me to stores, as I am known as a shopper. She guides me to a mall set up in an abandoned tube tunnel. I’m impressed and want to know its history. Was it used as a shelter in the war? When was it built? She doesn’t know this information, just the products in the current shops. I see a young black woman I recognize from the island society. She’s with a companion within a group. I know them to be members of a celebrated karate group, though they are here paired with others. They’re excited. I talk with my guide about how silly it is that we’re all celebrities for these minor things.