I had a dream that I was hanging out at Lauren’s house, talking to her and her dad. I made some offhand humorous remark, about Winnie the Pooh. Lauren’s dad latched onto it. He clearly thought it was much funnier, and much more insightful than I thought it was.
He insisted that I write a play based on it. I was hesitant. I didn’t think that this joke was that big a deal. He insisted again, this time offering to put up whatever money was necessary. I was still hesitant. At this point, we were beyond the insisting stage. He pulled some strings. He had me committed to a juvenile mental institution until such time as I completed the play.
The institution was operated by the YMCA. I came in there and was escorted to my cell, which was completely empty except for a bed. It’s a darn good thing I happened to have brought a book, because there was nothing else to do there. No books, games, television, activities, or other people. Just a bed and four walls.
When I had finished my book, I tried talking to the guards.
“Do you have any other books here?”
“How about a library? Is there a library in this place?”
“No. But you can go to the library.”
“What? I can just walk out and go to the library?”
“Yeah, just make sure you come back. If you don’t, we’ll find you.”
So I developed a habit of going out to the library and coming back. Sometimes, I’d just sit there, just to be someplace else besides that institution. Sometimes I would read books on Winnie the Pooh, just because it was on my mind. I was not very motivated to write this play, but I started to think that it might be easier on me if I just went ahead and gave him what he wanted.
Then I decided to get a little braver. I told them that I was going out to the library, and instead I escaped. I went home and hung out with people. I had dinner. Then I went back there. I felt like I had pulled one over on them, big time.
So I developed a habit of this. I would come to Lester house and hang out with people. Then at night, I’d go back to the YMCA institution to sleep. Of course, they caught on, so they would find me at Lester and drag me back.
Now I was starting to feel like this was real. I had been thinking it was just some kind of cute joke I was involved in, but now things were starting to get serious, if I actually wasn’t able to do as I pleased. I started to feel like an actual prisoner.
So I escaped to the mall the next day. I thought that they would never think to look for me at the mall.
But they did. They called on a payphone. I answered, for some reason. They told me I had to come back. Just then, I noticed that, in the main court of the mall, somebody was putting on a Winnie the Pooh play. I became very agitated abou this. Here I was, trapped, because somebody wanted to see this. But it was already done! What did they need me for, anyway?
I called Lauren’s dad, to explain the situation. Lauren answered. She didn’t know any of this was going on. I told her everything.
She laughed. “What?” I asked.
Lauren explained that I was twenty-eight years old. They couldn’t hold me in a juvenile institution. They had no legal authority over me. I could just walk out of there, free and clear.
Funny I didn’t think of that.
So I called them back, and I told them that I was twenty-eight, and that I wouldn’t be coming back. They were shocked. “Really?” they said. “We had no idea. I’m terribly sorry.”
And I never went back there again.