As a dream, there was no context or back story. I was starting my first day at a new job as a factory worker in a vaguely familiar town. It was orientation day, and I was introduced to my station at the assembly line, given a white bucket and some tools with which I was expected to perform some repetitive task. I was also given a snack and some bottled water. The foremen and line workers were all smiles, as was I — until…
I was unceremoniously ushered into the parking lot without being allowed to retrieve my jacket. As my car keys were in the jacket, I was basically stranded. Guards wouldn’t allow me back into the building, so I walked around the back and waited until some of the second shift line workers went on a smoke break. I huddled with them and followed them back into the building. None of them asked me who I was or what I was doing.
I tried calling my foreman without success. Then I escalated to his manager, and then higher. I eventually woke up some high-level person in the wee hours of the morning, who promised that she would resolve the situation. A few minutes later, a security guard tossed my jacket at me, and I left to grab a few hours of sleep.
The following morning, despite the lack of sleep I was at my station with a few minutes to spare. There was no white bucket with tools. I was told I needed to pick those up at some supply depot. While wandering around the building to find it, I noticed that snacks and bottled water were being sold by company-sponsored vendors — at inflated prices. A security guard saw me wandering around and asked me what I was looking for. He directed me to the supply depot with an irritated glare.
Finally equipped with the proper tools, I arrived at my station. A gruff woman roughly my age stood with her arms folded and barked “it’s about time you got here.”
“I was actually here a little bit early,” I began in protest.
“But you weren’t ready.”
“Whatever. Let’s get started.”
Gradually she warmed up to me. Then I found out why.
“I’m your buddy. If you make me look good, I get a day off.”
She reached forward to kiss me. She smelled of too many cigarettes and too much hairspray. I pivoted, and she pouted.
I don’t remember how the work day played out. Either I don’t remember that part of the dream, or it was omitted as an act of mercy on the part of my subconscious. Instead, I was walking along a stretch of highway with some of my new co-workers, ostensibly hitting some watering hole before going back home — without a car. I should point out that we were all walking in the right-hand lane of an active 3-lane highway, and no one saw this as unusual.
Then I woke up.