I dreamt that my friend Fred was teaching a math class in St. Louis. However, he stopped showing up to teach class abruptly when one of his favorite musicians - a guitar player whose band consisted of four other guitar players and nobody playing any other instruments - went on tour. Fred followed the guitar player around to all his concerts. Instead of actually watching the concerts, however, he would play his own purple guitar backstage, not playing the same music as the band, but playing completely irrelevant and discordant melodies while the band was performing onstage. I watched the band from the audience for a while, and I had my own guitar in my lap, but I didn't play it.

Meanwhile, my dad thought it was irresponsible of Fred to abandon his math class, so he flew down to St. Louis to teach each class. He would call me periodically and talk about how he was stressed about having to teach this class and being unprepared, since he's not a math teacher, and about not getting paid - but he refused to stop teaching it.

After a concert, a bunch of my friends were hanging out backstage with Fred. It turned out that one of us had agreed to watch someoneís penguin while they were out of town. Another friend, Robert, had later decided to watch a different friendís ferret. The animals werenít confined in any way; they were just perched on peopleís arms. I felt really bad for the penguin, because the ferret kept lunging at him. The penguin would cower, immobilized from fear and looking pitifully small despite his attempts to fluff up his feathers and appear frightening, until someone grabbed the ferret and pulled him away. I was angry at Robert for not watching the ferret more carefully, and for not realizing that having a ferret was a really dumb idea, given that we already had a penguin.

Eventually, the penguin told me that he wanted to go home to the zoo in St. Louis. I explained to him that this would be hard to do; we were in Seattle/San Francisco (yes, all one city) at the time, so it was a long trip home. He didnít want to fly home on an airplane, because he knew the airlines would make him ride in a cage, and he was claustrophobic. I told him I really wasnít sure when Iíd have time to drive him all the way back to St. Louis, and he fretted for a while, and I worried about him, but wasn't sure what to do. Then we had to leave because the band was finished performing, and we were getting shooed away from the backstage area.

A little while later, the penguin called me on the phone. My dad had somehow managed to sneak him onto an airline flight without putting him in a cage, and he was back in St. Louis. However, he wasnít at the zoo. I got out maps and tried to give him directions to help him get home, but he was lost, scared, and confused.

If anyone sees a talking penguin wandering around St. Louis, Iíd really appreciate it if you could help him get back to the zoo.

(Penguin clipart courtesy of Designed to a T.)

Last modified: Fri Feb 15 20:08:09 PST 2002