Apparently I can’t sleep tonight so I’ll tell one of those stories.
A couple of weeks ago I’m enjoying the darkness of some quiet sleep, just kind of meditating in the darkness with nothing going on in my brain. Then as I’m laying there an image of a toilet in a closet appears. It’s a small closet that feels cramped, and the toilet/commode is sitting sideways in it. My brain isn’t in “just observe and report” mode – it starts thinking too much – so right away I crank my virtual head from one side to the other like a little puppy, trying to figure out this perplexing image, and wondering how you’re supposed to go to the bathroom with this toilet sitting sideways in this small closet. So my brain tries to grok that for a while, but it can’t figure out why the heck the toilet is the way it is.
After that a whole bunch of thoughts come to mind because I’ve totally lost the impartial “observe and report” mode. For instance, one time in the 1990s we were at this party in an old section of downtown Louisville and the owner takes me on a tour of the house, and as we’re walking upstairs he shows me an old “water closet,” which was quite literally a long, narrow closet that’s really a bathroom. He tells me a little about the history of water closets, and the tour continues. So after the initial image of the toilet in the closet, this thought and a bunch of other related thoughts come to mind. Eventually I regain control and can shut down the thoughts if I want to, but I can’t figure out what I’ve seen, so I let my brain shuffle through all of these past experiences to try to make sense of what I’ve seen.
After a while I decide that my body probably has to go to the bathroom. Usually when I’m asleep and my body has to go to the bathroom I have dreams about trying to find a bathroom, but then the situation doesn’t work out for one reason or another. For instance, I might find a bathroom but the door is locked, or I might find a bathroom but the door won’t close, or maybe there’s a big picture window right next to the toilet and there’s no curtains, things like that. (One time the “door” to the bathroom was a set of swinging doors like you’d see in a wild west movie and I thought, “Seriously, this is what we’re going with tonight?”) But in this dream there’s none of that, just the sideways toilet in the little closet. Nonetheless, I can only guess that that’s what’s going on, so I wake myself up and go to the bathroom.
I totally forget about all of this because I assume that’s what the problem was, and a day or two after this dream back here in the physical world a few of us go to this house that’s in a bad state of disrepair, with the intention of helping to clean it up. We’re at the house for a while, and near the end of our time there we’re in a room in the upstairs attic area that’s been made into a bedroom, when someone opens up a small closet door and of course the first thing you see when the door is opened is a toilet that was stuffed in there, sittings sideways in the closet entrance. There’s a million other things stuffed in the closet, but the first thing you see is that sideways toilet. I tilt my head to the side like a puppy to look at it and think, “Huh, it really is just a toilet sitting sideways in a small closet.”