I dream a problem to solve: I need a small parking area for my fleet of six jets, he tells me.
I am the architect of a containment area for a wealthy man’s airplanes. I wonder how I find myself in this strange place, with this odd assignment.
He adds: And I need 15 numbered spaces, and I want it all in 6 days.
In my dream I plunge in, filled with optimism. I begin calculating, though I remind myself that it is my son who is the architect and I wish he were here, as an adult, at my side. Still, I squint my eyes and size up what I have to work with. The challenge of it, and of course, its constraints.
Big Picture, Necessary Details
The owner of the project has disappeared, and for a moment, I turn away from the area he designated. I want the bigger picture.
I fix my gaze in the opposite direction. What appears to be miles of open space would offer other possibilities. It also begs numerous questions, and I quickly understand that the requirements – and tools – are insufficient. Yet I have accepted the job, and will be held accountable for its success.
I am noting realizations, and questions.
- I need more detail on function and usage.
- I need access to expert resources.
- Under any circumstances, the time is unworkable.
- What of the planes? Their weight? Their dimensions?
- What about permits to park planes next to cars?
- Space for mechanics, fueling, storing parts?
- Does he intend to convert an area into a landing strip?
- If so, where does he stand in the political and legal process?
I am the architect of safe and solid structures, I say to myself. I do not build airports.
Help is on the way?
I am vaguely aware that I need my son to confirm that this is an impossible undertaking given the constraints and lack of information. No one could accomplish this, so I needn’t berate myself. Yet in the dream, I am held responsible. In the dream, I know this project to be important.
I turn around again and look in the other direction. I wonder why I’ve been pointed to the darkest, most unlikely area in which to design and build. It is what it is, but I am frustrated.
This is a dream, I say, and force myself awake.
Checklists, Tasks, Doing Nothing
What must it be like to open your eyes to a day without a checklist? Especially on a weekend? Is there a parent out there who knows what this is like? A single parent?
I want to do nothing. Really do nothing. Occasionally, I get a tiny taste and, admittedly, it’s disorienting. Are we simply more accustomed to being busy all the time? Is it necessary busy, or our own imposed busy?
A stack to be faxed. Another to be emailed.
I remain the stalwart architect of my son’s future in these arduous details which frankly, make my head hurt. All this, to apply for scholarship monies and loan monies, and as it turns out, two weeks earlier than anticipated.
And what of dreaming? What of the constraints that arrive in narrative and vivid imagery, with so many lessons to impart?
My waking mind can still picture the vast expanse offering so many options – its possibilities without the walls, cramped corners, unanswered questions. I want to turn away from this sense of futility, that all the open spaces stretch behind me, rather than ahead.
I set that thought aside, and deal with the present. For now, my son’s future requires the last elements of infrastructure, however tedious to assemble. He is not yet the adult, and I remain the architect of safe and solid structures.
- Do your dreams offer insights?
- Do they point the way to solutions, or at least, clarify the challenges?
- When you get the chance to do “nothing,” can you enjoy it?