I don't normally keep a dream log; I think this may only be the second time I've done this. But the one I just had contained a scene that was so Alice in Wonderlandish, that I want to remember it.

I know there was more to the beginning, because I had to go a hotel (in my town, but quite a ways from my house) and rent a room for four people. Why? I'm sure it was four guys, too. I think it had something to do with having car problems. For some reason, I now think that this whole dream was a product of reading a node about being thrown out of a car yesterday.

* * * *

I'm in the lobby of this big hotel. There are perhaps 10 people working a relatively small desk. I'm dressed rather casually, golf shirt and shorts and no socks with loafers. (This is important because I'm beginning to feel guilty about not getting "dressed up" more these hot summer days.) I can tell that the help at the desk is "looking me over" and is not quite happy with my attire.

There's this other thing, too. I have to not only get a room, but I need a new browser that the hotel provides. It's some upgrade to my current browser, and I've got to have it to send a couple of important e-mails. (About what?) The clerk tells me to give him the e-mails and my debit card and he'll handle it. He walks to the back of the work area, and comes back with a white package containing my new browser (software?). I learn that this will cost me $29.95 for the browser. While he's getting me my room assignment, I am getting pissed off about the money for the browser. He hands me my debit card back along with a room key, which is the same size and shaped just like my debit card. It's even gold, but it's about half as heavy. "Why do I have to pay for a browser that I could get off the internet for free?" I ask him.

"Would you rather not have the browser?" he asks in a smirky way. This is when I find that if I don't take the browser, the e-mail they have already sent for me will have to be charged to their long-distance bill, and the hotel is not happy about this.

"No, I don't think I would like the browser, thank you. And if you're going to speak to me in that way, I think I'll just find another hotel while I'm at it. This is not the only hotel in town."

"Well, if that's what you'd like. . . I had already given you $1 credit in the gift shop to make up for the trouble."

I think about it for a couple of minutes. It's going to be a pain to go to another hotel. He seems almost sincere. I go back up to the desk, and another guy (who resembles Richard, the guy who won Survivor, with a short beard) asks if he can help me. I tell him the story, and he takes my old room key, which is no good now, and my debit card and gives me a new room key.

I go into the lobby and begin to round up my belongings. Then it hits me: He didn't give me my debit card back! I semi-panic. I rush back to the desk. More people are here now. It's getting busy. I don't see the bearded guy. I ask someone where the Manager is. I'm told he's just down the hallway beside the desk area. I go behind the desk and walk down a short hallway. There's a guy in a suit sitting at a desk at the end of the hall. I say, "Are you the Manager?" He says, "No," that Mr. Whitman's (?) office is thru this door (to my left). I look in that door, and there's a big desk with Mr. Whitman behind it and some other hotel official sitting in a chair in front. I step in and say, "I have a problem."

Well, Mr. Whitman has a problem with me, too. "You've been in this hotel now for less than 15 minutes, and you've already caused more trouble than we've had here in a week."

"But, your staff has taken my debit card and I can't find it."

"No problem. What bank do you use?" I stammer around, trying to remember the name of my bank (which has changed names 6 times in 10 years), and finally blurt it out. He tells the other guy in his office to flip some switches on a board on the table between them and says, "All fixed." I'm not sure what he just did, but I assume he nuked access to my account. (How did he know my account number? How did he know all my passwords and stuff? Oh, yeah; when I filled out the paperwork for the browser.) So I start to walk away. I'm about five steps outside when I hear him say, "Hey, come back for a minute." So I walk back in his office. This is when the weird stuff begins.

He's now behind a green sofa with a hole cut in it, and just his head is sticking out. He starts to sing some song about Social Security and the draft. After one verse, his head disappears and he's now laying down in a Santa Claus outfit in another part of the room (how'd he get over there so fast?) and didn't miss a beat in his "song." (What the hell is this song about? It has something to do with saving money, doesn't it?) And now his office has turned into an outdoor lawn, and there are other people standing around watching the performance. He goes immediately from the Santa outfit into some sort of sideways canoe, and sings verse three. Then he climbs up on a pedestal next to a statue of a giant flamingo (or some bird) and sings verse four. As he's changing positions to another pedestal by another big animal statue to sing verse five, I turn to a guy standing next to me and say, "I wonder how many times these folks have had to endure this routine?" The guy sort of smiles and backs away from me. I can tell this is something you don't talk about.

The show is over after a couple of more verses, and after Mr. Whitman leads them all in a rousing hymn. It must be a fast-paced hymn because I start to clap in time, and others take it to be clapping for Mr. Whitman and join in. A couple of folks in the crowd "get it" and I notice that they are clapping in rhythm with the song, like me. Then folks start filing out. I'm up on some sort of raised area, and beneath me, several small gray cars are leaving. These are obviously the other big wigs at the hotel (or, is it really a bank, too? They look like bankers.). The cars are being driven by chauffeurs, and there's one which only has a black man in it as a passenger. He looks particularly bored and almost upset. I can tell he's seen this show one too many times.

Back in the lobby, I meet a couple and sit down to chat w/ them. It seems I know them quite well. (Was the room for two couples, and not four guys?) And my girlfriend (wife?) walks up. It's actually my girlfriend from back in college (we lived together for six years) and she looks so nice. She falls into my arms and says, "Look!" She pulls back her hair and shows me her neck. There's a kind of scar there. She says, "I had the first acid peel done, finally!" This seems to have made her very happy, and I'm happy, too (why?). Then it hits me! I know what happened to my debit card! I hold her as I get up from my chair and say, "When I gave the bearded guy my debit card and my old key, he thought the card was another old key, too, and threw it away!"

She and I hurry back to the front desk, and as we're walking, she catches the carpet with the toe of her new hiking boots and says, "I hate these shoes!"

* * * *

If the phone hadn't rung in real life, I am sure this would have gone on a lot longer.