Every now and then, I realize that most things in my world were once "dreams." That is, looking at the computer monitor that I'm using to type this article up, I realize that, before it could have been built, some one had to design it. They probably thought a lot about it: power requirements, what sort of plastic to use, the coloring, how the controls would work.

Perhaps it's because I'm a geeky sorta guy, but doing that sort of thing: cogitating about something, is kind of like day-dreaming. You think about something that doesn't exist.

So then the magic day comes when the big, faceless company provides the army of technicians, raw materials, etc., etc. to build your dream. You are standing there in a room with a bunch of people, some of whom are "very important" because they're "very important."

You flip the switch.

There's magic in the air.

Your prototype sits there and doesn't work.

OK, so maybe not the best moment. You spend the next 6 weeks or whatever with limited sleep trying to get the damn thing to work.

A brief aside: the original term "computer bug" was coined when technicians found a moth trapped in an early computer. Don't know if it's a just a techie urban legend, but if it's not true, it should be.

At any rate, so after 6 hair-tearing weeks of debugging, you're back in the room and things are no longer magical. Probably the vice "muckity-muck" is there to make sure the thing actually works before they bring in the senior vice muckity-muck. But this time you flip the switch and all goes well.

You feel very relieved. The vice muckity muck is relieved. The technicians don't care as much, but this means you aren't going to be riding their butts so they are also relieved.

Once most people have left the room, the prototype craps out again, and you realize you made a serious mistake.

Now mind you, the way things normally work is that the muckity-mucks promise something before they know if it's possible, so this is a relatively sane description, but the basic idea is the same.

During this process, people have managed to forget that they turned a dream into reality. Something that previously only existed as a thought was turned into something you can touch. At some point between the time when it was thunk up, and the time when the finished product is shipped out, it transitioned from a thought into reality.

This applies to many things that I encounter every day: the car I drive to work with. The building that I work in. The miserable cube where I sleep…er…work. The carpet I walk on. The plastic bag that I carry groceries in. The fork I use to eat my dinner with. At some point all of these things were in some way thoughts that were turned into reality.

I like to think of this as "the City of Dreams," because, in a very real sense, the city around me once existed as a dream. Some people might call it a nightmare, but hey, it's home.

P.S. While I would love to claim this idea was my own, I first heard it from a Peter Gabriel song called "Mercy Street."

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