I sit in a terminal of what is undoubtedly Houston’s Hobby Airport, circa 1994. There is faux wood paneling, and bright orange-style plastic seat cushions. This is how I know it is not the today of today.
Yet it is 2015. I know this because I am undoubtedly heading back to Washington. I know this, too, because a bar I across from me blasts a Fox News segment on the Republican presidential race. I believe it is The Shep. Gradually, I am made aware of the poor deluded yokels, the dreamers, the reactionary miracle weavers, guzzling Lone Star, and guffawing and gurgling along with the 10-second recaps of how each contender is faring.
When Trump’s 10-second sound bite plays, it is predictable in its content: xenophobic and baldly Islamophobic. The crowd cheers, and I am appalled but resigned.
It is morning, and a colleague I will call “B” presents his collection of glasses to me. Frames of all colors and shapes, some for the office, others for the club or the Vineyard, and lenses for all seasons: summers, mostly. Tinted lenses.
As I rifle through the frames, I note the presence of an object wedged in my mouth, tucked just inside inside my teeth. It is one of B’s glasses. I appear to have attempted to consume a pair of his glasses.
In the world of the dream, this is regarded as peculiar, if not outright zany. B and I seem to understand that this did happen – that this is a thing that happens, in life – but not to recognize its pure zaniness. We don’t fully process the uncommonness of what I’ve chosen to do, and do not explore my motivations. It happened, and was not the worst thing that could have happened.
Ivan Drago – a voluble, truly gregarious Ivan Drago – and I sitting in the audience of a major sporting event. It may be a boxing bout, which would make sense. I am not surprised to see Drago sitting next to me, speaking casually. Not as if we are friends, but rather as if he is showing me his best side with ostentatious affectation.
It dawns on me that I am interviewing Ivan Drag. There is no sense at all of his intentions to “crush” me.
In the world of the dream, I ask myself whether Drago has already murdered Apollo Creed, faced off with Rocky Balboa, and single-handedly lost the Cold War for the Soviet Union. It feels as if this must be after. He is relaxed, freed of the tension that comes with serving as propaganda made-steroid-enhanced flesh. Why he isn’t back in training, or in a gulag? Back on “the program,” as they say? He seems able to breathe and emote without distraction.
As a reporter, I am embarrassed to acknowledge that, in the dream world, I seem not to have done my homework on where and when we are, and what seems to have shaped Drago’s life since that day in 1985. That would seem inherent to the process of the interview. I have failed.