Back when I was a college student, I would sometimes have this dream where it was the end of the semester and I discovered that, through some technicality, I had not dropped a class that I had thought I had dropped, and so there were all these assignments and midterms I had zeroes on and I was supposed to take a final exam for a class that I had never attended.
Back when I first started teaching, I would sometimes have this dream where, through some mix-up, I thought I was supposed to give a lecture on one topic and then, only a couple minutes before class started, did I realize that it was supposed to be on a different topic. (Now that I know a bit more about teaching, that this scenario would rise to the level of a 'nightmare' is now rather amusing.)
Meanwhile, as a reflection of my career "progress," here are two dreams I've had in the past couple weeks:
1. I am giving a PowerPoint presentation at a conference on a project that I'm doing with a collaborator. As I start the presentation, I learn that the collaborator has inserted all these weird slides that he thought would be "cute" or "funny," but for which I didn't know what I was supposed to say to accompany them or even how they were at all connected to the presentation.
2. I am attending a talk given by a candidate for a position in my department. While the presenter is charming, I appear to be the only one who can tell that what he is saying doesn't really make any sense. After listening to the Q&A for awhile, I begin an exasperated line of questioning, which is answered with even more charismatically deliveraed but mostly nonsensical answers. I continue this line of questioning, and continue to get these utterly unintelligible answers from the speaker that are met with smiles and nods from the rest of the audience, until eventually the chair keeps trying to cut me off and everyone is looking at me like I am an incredible jerk.