The dream started out in a library or possibly a theatre building. There were hardware floors and maybe daylight.
The classroom was set up almost like a pit or sunken living room. Another instructor in a class before ours was teaching a song and dance to a group of undergraduates, and I was watching and singing and dancing along.
"I think John is the best dancer," our instructor said. She was a 35ish year old woman, probably Kathleen Worley, my theatre instructor from Reed (although in the dream I didn't know it was Kathleen).
"Oh, I was just... thanks," I said.
She was teaching a class on presentation, or maybe improv theatre.
Our class started and I took a seat on a kind of Ikea box shelf that was perched on a kitchen counter. A young woman ostentatiously hopped off of the counter next to me and went to the sink. This annoyed the instructor, who said, "Una! You don't need to drink a whole pot of hot water." There was a small exchange and the class continued.
At some point the class turned into a performance. I was playing intermission music, I think on my harp, but I'm not sure.
The class room turned into a kind of library lobby or reading room with an open floor space and lots of reading tables and shelves around the periphery. It became night, and the windows became dark and the interior lights came on.
After waiting for something, I don't remember what, the instructor and another female student and I took a night bus from the class to a small house in town. The instructor wanted us to meet someone, and we went downstairs to the house's basement.
The basement was around 900 square feet, unfinished, with a damp concrete floor and exposed wooden studs in the wall, and was the home to about five or so homeless-looking men and all of their stuff. The room was crowded with shelves, and dark, the only light coming from flickering candles set everywhere, and which gave the room a ruddy cast. Various conversations were going on at once and there was no real sense of privacy.
The guy our instructor wanted us to meet was tall and lanky, weathered and in his forties, with a black knit cap on his head. He might have been wearing a trench-coat, or maybe long robes. I want to say he had a scruffy, salt-and-pepper five-day beard. He was talking to us about something. I don't remember why, but he said, "I want you to have these," and held up two small, almost thimble-sized, bells. I think they were bronze. They were small, and kind of square, and they remind me of the small cow or goat bells my grandmother used to have hanging off of her entry hall mirror. He put them into the pocket of my jacket.
"What do you think of my pottery?" he asked. "Is there any that you particularly like?"
I had a sense that if I pointed to something, it would become an awkward gift. I swept one hand through the air to indicate the shelves of it. A lot of it was vaguely art-deco, pale white or yellow vases, with thin-walled cylinders topping spherical bases. "I think it's all very nice."
He nodded and may have said thank you. Then he beckoned for me to follow him as he went searching through the shelves. He found a teapot, I think; it was an ugly lumpy thing with a dark brick glaze. "Watch," he said, and then dashed it to the ground; white porcelain skittered across the floor. He knelt on the floor and started picking through the pieces; I think this was supposed to be some sort of Zen lesson.
And the dream moved on...