I was leaving school with a couple of friends from my department. They were taking the bus and I was going to bike, but we walked together until our paths diverged. As one of them said goodbye, he stood very close to me and put his arm around my shoulders, and it brought back a too-familiar and distinctly unpleasant sensation that I was going to have to, yet again, extricate myself from a situation I never intended, because I had somehow given the wrong impression (see Wedding Nightmare).
When I got to my bike, it was in the parking lot, propped up on its kickstand and unlocked. It was my beloved (stolen) yellow Trek instead of my new bike, and some papers were tucked under the brake cables. The first was a general notice from the campus bike police, saying something to the effect that someone had noticed that my bike wasn't locked up. Below that was a dreadful, grease-stained essay from one of my students. It wasn't even two pages long, and he had quoted an entire paragraph of uselessness. (It looked like an actual paper he turned in on Friday, but I'm pretty sure in the dream it referenced the paper I've been working on all weekend, and my own useless quoting--Baudrillard, thou villain!) It also made repeated references to someone's face being the color of chili sauce.
Then I was in class, and we were watching a film--or a trailer for a film. It was apparently about a boy who turned into a cat... or a fox... or a wolf (probably a brain cross-reference to two separate characters in the Harry Potter books). But he also had a small stuffed fox, who was bright orange,* and was his friend. Then they were rushing through the water, swimming... or drowning... and the fox saved the boy. Only, the fox turned into a bright orange goldfish! And the goldfish saved him, but by dying... and then not dying, in this cosmic scene where their eyes got really big and everything sort of glowed! I turned to my friend Susan, and whispered, "The sacred gesture!" (Last semester we were in an Anthropology seminar called "Ideas of the Sacred," which I dug and which drove her a little crazy, and now I see it in everything, including H.P., of course, and apparently even in my dreams.) She whispered back, "I like it when he just quotes Poisson," which I thought was very witty, since I thought I knew this philosopher, and since his name also meant fish.
A friend from college was sitting in front of me, and he turned around and tapped my knee.
But I was encased in a horizontal pillar... or I was a pillar... and I couldn't open my eyes because they were stuck shut... and there was a noise in the distance... which I eventually recognized as my alarm.
*Orange was the color of my first wedding nightmare.