Meeting Mr. Armitage in Fleet Farm
[Thursday night to Friday morning waking dream, last night to this morning. I'm attributing something of the reason I had it to the intensity of the response to the second trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I have been in the Fleet Farm store dozens of times in my life, but in the members' club mentioned only once, during new faculty orientation.]
I’m at a reception on the upper floor of the Fleet Farm at the western edge of the next city over from where my parents live. I had never known there is an upper floor and throughout the dream, I keep feeling surprised it’s there. The interior of the upper floor of the store is furnished in the style of the members’ club located inside the football stadium housed on the campus of my last job — a style that doesn’t really fit with the Fleet Farm aesthetic. As the dream opens, I am in the room, attending a party or reception, and it’s the opening event or prelude to some kind of competition. About seven other people are involved in the competition.
The beginning of the dream is about a puzzle that we have to solve in order to find out where the next morning’s first competition event is being held. All of us are sitting together on folding chairs arranged around a round banquet table with a white tablecloth on top, and an event organizer comes around and gives us all folders with information about the competition. In the dream I can see their faces but don’t recognize any of them, and as I write this I can’t remember any of their faces except that there are both men and women and there are black- (in particular, a black guy in a tan corduroy jacket with big, clunky buttons) and brown-skinned people at the table. People start reading through the information, which includes a lot of one-sided, black-and-white handouts stapled together, and a level of chatter arises amongst the competitors, although I can’t remember what we were talking about. At some point I realize that my left hand is covered with some kind of white gauze bandage, and I flip it palms up, and in looking at the handout in my hand and at my gauze-covered palm, I realize that is where the clue will be.
As I become occupied by my hand, I lose track of what the other people are doing, and decide to try to unravel the bandage. This feels like it takes a long time, although there isn’t any wound under it and I don’t feel any pain and don’t feel like there’s any particular rush. It’s not clear why it’s so hard to take the bandage off except that the last little piece doesn’t want to come, but as I unwrap that layer I notice that there are some long, thin scraps of paper folded up under the bandage next to my hand — three or four of them. I look in the folder and I realize from the handout that I need to unravel those scraps. Still, I fiddle with the bandage for awhile before I decide just to pull the scraps out from under it. When I pull them out, they are blank, but this doesn’t fill me with any emotion in the dream. I think, “Oh, they’re blank.”
At the same time that I have this thought, it just pops into my head that the next morning’s events are going to be at the hotel / performing arts complex downtown. I look down at the folder and on top of it is a brochure for the hotel (that wasn’t there before), but again I have no reaction to this at all in the dream. And just as I realize this, everyone around me starts clapping loudly and someone announces that I’ve solved the puzzle. People come up to me and pat me on the back, and I look around the table and realize that the other competitors are still working.
Someone comes up to the table and urges me to join a sort of cocktail party that’s going on around the margins room, centered around the kind of tall table like the ones usually at a German stand-up reception. Food and drink are available and I see other people at the reception (who I again don’t recognize) eating and drinking but I’m not hungry or thirsty and don’t have any. The person who draws me over to the reception brings me a bottle of water and I stand at the edge of a group at one of the tables, and it’s here that I meet Richard Armitage.
Armitage is definitely Armitage; however, he has the Percy Courtenay hair, brown, medium-toned, and a little long/floppy. He’s clean-shaven. He is a bit oddly dressed, with a dark sports jacket and a white oxford shirt, but pants in a synthetic knit, tiny houndstooth check that I would associate with the 1970s in the U.S., executed in black, red, and calfshit brown tones. I recognize that he’s Richard Armitage but don’t associate anything with that, either any emotion. I’m not even sure I know he’s an actor in this dream, or my crush — he’s just one of the people at the party, but I recognize him. We’re in a group of people talking aimlessly about business in the Valley and who knows who, although I can’t remember what we’re saying. Gradually the people drop away and it’s just me and Armitage. I excuse myself from him politely and go to the margin of the room where I’ve left my backpack and laptop case.
Someone’s gone through my stuff and made a mess but I feel no sense of anxiety about this; I just pick it up and and try to repack all the stuff in the laptop case, except that it needs to be folded and wound correctly and it doesn’t want to fit in the case, so after a few minutes I just plop it all in the case and cram the top down and try to zip it. At this point I notice Richard Armitage watching me. He spreads his legs and sits down cross-legged a foot or two away while I’m doing the cramming and zipping, and at this point I notice that he has kind of a tummy and orange socks, and that the slacks he has on are too short, but I also notice that he a charming smile and very white teeth. He has one of the folders from the competition in hand and starts chatting about it. I don’t talk to him but turn my attention back to the cramming and zipping. I then sling everything over my shoulders and smile at him and make to exit the room, but he draws me back over to one of the tall tables and starts a conversation with me.
It’s a conversation about being successful, although I don’t remember the beginning of it. He has an English accent in his speech. At some point he says, “It’s really about being in the right place at the right time. You know, I have a friend who’s a pro” and I think he’s going to say “golfer” but he says “jeweler” and then goes on to say, “and it is really just about being there at the right time to observe that parade, so to speak.” I nod, because this seems like a really great life lesson, and then resume my path out of the room. He asks me, “aren’t you going to take your folder?” I look back at the table and the folder is still there. I say, “No, I already know where the hotel is.”
Alarm goes off. I wake up and feel happy, like it was a good dream.