Contaminated Convenience

In another dream, I was a senior scientist working in a research lab.  I was having a conversation with a few new hires about computers.  They had overheard a conversation I was having with a colleague on a telephone.  In that conversation, I was discussing articles in the New York Times that compared high schools in New York to those in other parts of the country.  I was lamenting the poor state of education and made a comment about “box people.”

The new hires asked what I meant by “box people.”  I explained that I had been familiar with computers for a long time, and that I was not a “box person” and I was not the other extreme.  The other extreme involved people who built computers piece by piece, much as if they carved every block of every letter to build a printing press.  However, they did have the advantage that, if something broke, they usually knew what it was and could quickly locate and repair or replace it.

On the other hand, “box people” tended to want a computer to be a single monolithic box.  It was easy to purchase (but expensive) and easy to install.  However, if it broke, they could not repair it.  They had to send it off or throw it in the trash and buy a new one.

My comment was that I preferred to be in the middle of those two extremes.

Then I had to leave the lab where we worked.  I went to a nearby convenience store, but it was late at night.  And, some homeless people had slipped into the store.

I had to be careful not to touch or be touched by them.  In the lab where I worked, contamination could be an issue.  (Apparently I was working in some kind of biological lab.)