The Mickee Faust Club was putting on a show, and I was in charge of one of the musical numbers. Things had gone "OK" in rehearsal, but when the piece went up on stage, people were missing their entrances, late on coming in with their solos, or completely forgetting their lines altogether. Costumes were in disarray... and worst of all... nobody seemed to care that things were so sloppy. I couldn't stand it anymore, and I stepped out on stage and demanded that they start again and "tuck in your shirt and pull up your skirt, dammit!" Instead of respecting me and my desire for them to "get it right", the entire cast just walked off. It was clear: they just didn't care what I thought.
Feeling hurt, I searched my brain for whom I could turn to talk this out. I found myself in my parents' house in New Hampshire. In the dream, it was still a single-family dwelling. I went up to the third-floor to see my brothers... but I only remember seeing only one of them. He and I had been close growing up, but we have gone our separate ways as adults. And this "Dream Brother" was definitely not wanting to help me, or buck me up in any way. So now I felt totally at a loss and miserable.
I was sitting with a crossword puzzle in my lap when my old boss, Ben, approached. Ben asked me if I liked working these puzzles, and I mumbled some kind of response to him. He made an inquiry about one of the clues.
"Do you know the answer to that one?" he asked me.
I stared at it for awhile, but couldn't come up with anything. And so the two of us worked it out with other clues. Finally, the answer that emerged was "Ora". That's when I woke up.
When I told this dream to my multi-lingual partner, her eyes gleamed with excitement.
"Ora means 'pray' in Latin!" As in "Ora pro nobis" (pray for us).
That insight gave me pause for reflection. With all that I have experienced recently with the Human Rights Ordinance, and watching helplessly as the oil spreads into the Gulf of Mexico, a dream that ends in "Ora" only makes sense. Interesting, too, to have Ben be the one who helped lead me to that clue.
I have been thinking about Ben recently in relation to the HRO. I recall the day that he told me I'd secured the promotion from general assignment reporter at WFSU to reporter/producer for the statewide Florida Public Radio Network. It had been a horribly stressful time. There had been one search committee that I had interviewed with for this internal promotion. But that committee disbanded before the search was over, and I had to be interviewed again. Because I was an internal candidate, and others were from outside, they made me do the interviews by phone. After seven months of this nonsense, Ben was ready to make me the final offer. But the management of the Public Broadcast Center balked. The head honcho asked, "Can't we fly in Quinn Klinefelter for an interview?" (Quinn was an excellent reporter, and a friend from Missouri. If they'd flown him in, they were going to offer him the job). Ben said, "No! I want to hire Susan." After a few more words, and huffing and puffing, head honcho man said what was really in his heart. He'd promote me, BUT I was representing the Public Broadcast Center at the state capitol and I was to "dress appropriately".
Ben relayed this information to me, and I knew what that meant. The major concern about me as a candidate had nothing to do with my abilities as a journalist. It had to do with my sexual orientation and my preference to wear my hair in a flattop and sensible shoes with pants as my every day attire. Had Ben not stood up for me, I probably would have been passed over.
So it is fascinating to me that my "Dream Ben" is telling me the answer is "Ora". Perhaps "Dream Ben" like "Real Ben" is looking out for me.