The dream

The invitations came through campus mail. She was invited to participate in a discussion, held in the evening in one of the wood paneled classrooms in the oldest building on campus. She was a young faculty member, so she was flattered by the invitation and puzzled over who might have sent it. That night the campus was buzzing. The stage was dramatically lit, with a spotlight focused on a table with three chairs. Long tables with white cloths ringed the perimeter of the stage. Faculty milled on stage and in the front rows of the audience; no one sat at the lit tables. She kept expecting someone to tell her what this event was, or why she was there. Everyone seemed confused. Soon, a woman rose from the front of the crowd, holding a microphone. She welcomed everyone to the event, and asked them to take their seats. She spoke the full names of two faculty, and invited them to sit at the center table. As they did so, a screen dropped from the ceiling behind them. The MC sat, and a second woman stood and read the portion of the phrase that appeared on the screen. She repeated the phrase, and after a pregnant pause, one of the selected faculty began to speak. He was explaining that the phrase was taken from a book he had written, and he described the book’s thesis. He was interrupted by the standing woman, who then read a second phrase, nearly identical, that had appeared below the first. The faculty member stopped talking.

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