I am in the streets of Stockholm, Sweden with David Gergen, and we are looking for several used bookstores. I have a map that shows that there is one such store located on Sweden 7 and another on Sweden 9. While I am having this dream, I remind myself that I have never been in Sweden and so have no idea what the addresses are like, but tend to doubt the streets are named after the country. Even so, I give Gergen this information. He seems unfazed by the addresses. I point to my map and suggest that we head to the bookstore on Sweden 7 first, then backtrack to the shop on Sweden 9. Gergen agrees.
At the first bookstore, I start to get restless because I immediately recognize that they don’t have the book I need. Gergen assures me that if they don’t have the copy I’m looking for, they can print me one but it will be entirely in italics.
David Gergen and I are team members on an apparently sophisticated TV quiz show hosted by Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham. The quiz show involves some combination of rapid-fire questions about world history and international affairs and a simultaneous run through a torturous obstacle course located in the rubble and ruin of some city. Everything around us has gone to shit. Burnt-out cars, boulders in the streets, loose electrical wires twist about and snap against the pavement. Now we’re climbing through some collapsed parking garage trying to get some asinine flag and then out of nowhere Lewis Lapham appears. He says, Provide as many correct and acceptable spellings of the leader of Libya. Gergen and I seem to do much better on the quiz than the athletic portion.
Gergen comes over to my apartment and we have dinner. I have soup and crackers ready. Iced water to drink. He says to me, Did you get that form I faxed over to you. No, I tell him. Gergen is incredibly distressed to find out that I didn’t get this form he faxed over to me. I have no idea why Gergen would be faxing me this form, but apparently this is not the first time he tried to fax it to me. A long discussion follows where we try to exchange fax numbers, except they’re not regular fax numbers. They have more than seven digits and are not all numbers. When I wake up I can’t remember or explain what’s weird about the numbers exactly, but recall just how Gergen looked when he got really serious on me.
I’m at work, or where I used to work before getting laid off. Gergen is there and we’re co-workers in some capacity. This place where I used to work feels, in general, a whole lot more festive than I actually remember it being. For starters there’s the boombox. Someone brought in a boombox and Gergen’s spinning the dial trying to bring in some radio station. Gergen looks at me and says, “You like this radio?” I say, sure, I like this radio. Gergen stops spinning the dial and says, “But do you like this radio station?” He looks concerned, anxious even. His chin trembles. He wants me to be happy with whatever he plays. I say, I don’t know, I could do without all the talking, I guess. Gergen says, “Right. Yeah, music’s better,” and keeps monkeying with the dial, trying to bring something in clear.