He is co-teaching a seminar with one of his colleagues. Just before the session is about to begin, she asks him to produce his handouts, the images that he has chosen to distribute. But he only has one copy with him, and so he lies and says that he had thought he would show them a Powerpoint presentation (he never does Powerpoint presentations) but there is no computer in the room. He even takes a memory stick out of his pocket to underscore the point.
She scolds him – It’s your job to check the room before you teach. You know that. Look at the copies that I’ve made. You can’t just pass around a single copy of the images – there are thirty students in the class! He responds, first, by saying that no, yes, he’ll just pass around the single copy that he brought, he’s done that sort of thing before and its fine, and next by standing up and walking out of the room. On his way out, he tells her he is going to make copies. But then he calls her a foul name just loud enough for the students, now starting to fill the room, to hear.
He leaves the building and goes to the Modern Language Association conference, which as it happens is being held this year at the nearby State Fairground. Offseason rates. Tents, corn dog stands, beer stands, hay… After some time wandering around with a pack of friends, academics acting like Nebraska teenagers, he realizes that he’s past due to go back and finish the seminar. It’s a three hour seminar, and he had planned upon leaving to return after the break at the middle. But now there are only thirty minutes left…
As he flies through the air, over the tents and attractions, and then sparse winter forest, he thinks to himself that this is the first time he has ever flown in a dream and that he’s not sure he really knows how to do it, feels safe doing it. He clips branches and flies slower than he might, and when he has made it back to the classroom he discovers that everyone – his colleague, the students – is already gone.