I woke abruptly from a good night sleep this morning. I was having a nightmare. Typically, at this time of year, I have many nightmares about my November fundraiser. It’s my mind restlessly running through ‘what if’ scenarios. It’s the adult equivalent of dreaming about going to school naked or in your pajamas. These ‘what if‘ scenarios are things like: I forgot to get an auctioneer. I never printed raffle tickets. I didn’t recruit any volunteers. I never reserved the room. It’s the To-do list tabus.
This dream started out that way. There was no auctioneer, no raffle tickets, or volunteers. I did reserve the room but it was this rambling old hotel with candy concessions. There was even a film screening room where I had to pull my team out to get them to work. And weirdly every time I was in the midst of managing one of these crises, someone wanted to buy candy from me. And they never had correct change.
I’m used to these type of all-to-real-but-slightly-freaky event nightmares. Last night’s was different. Someone came and got me because a guest in reception was being loud and wasn’t on the guest list. This does happen but what happened next never has. I went to the reception table to find a man padded in several layers of clothing. He was carrying a huge bag. And then I heard shots. And I saw out of the corner of my eye another guest, who helped me make change for candy earlier in my dream, start randomly shooting people. The new guy begin pulling out guns out of his overstuffed bag. It was mayhem. People were screaming and diving under tables. I ran down this long corridor! And I hid in this utility closet. I could hear the constant gunfire and the people wailing. I didn’t have my phone to call for help. So, I kept saying to myself, ‘wake up. wake up.’
I know why my typical nightmare plummeted into an evil domain. We are living through some sinister times. Globally, there are beheadings abroad and the airstrikes on Syria. Locally, a disgruntled employee tried to kill himself and his air traffic control colleagues when he set a fire on Friday. And then we’ve got the everyday shootings, stabbings and what-nots. Plus, people are just being demanding and rude. I waited on some of them last night at the restaurant.
Table 43 wanted to know why they didn’t get bread. They had observed Table 44 received bread and now they were pissed. I tried to pacify them with ‘your neighbors ordered a menu item that came with bread. I can request bread for your table if you’d like.’ They did. I did. They received it but it was too late. Their entire experience was ruined because Table 44 seemed to get preferential treatment. They didn’t. They got the charcuterie.
There is an entitlement that breeds jealousy. And the jealousy festers into hatred. And the hatred is the impetus of evil. And yes, any unkind act comes down to just that. I’m not suggesting bad tippers and terrorists are on equal standing. I’m saying we all have to fight this internal notion that we deserve the best of everything. We have to suppress the toddler-fighting-over-toys reaction. We need to stop sputtering ‘mine!’. We need to practice being kinder. We need to work towards peace. If everyone worked on their own internal peace, global peace would follow. And we’d all sleep more soundly.