(Note: it’s been five years since I’ve been to France and nearly thirteen years since I’ve been to the Middle East, but time means nothing to the part of my brain that makes up distressing dreams.)
In the dream, I’ve been boarding with a family of strangers in France in a very cluttered bedroom. I’m trying to pack for my imminent flight home, but I can’t figure out which of the Bionicle limbs, vintage radio parts, or pieces of clothing belong to me. I’m not even sure which suitcase is mine, and I’m afraid I’ll miss my flight. A housemate points to a calendar that shows my flight to be three weeks away, and I realize with joy that I’ll still have time to find my favorite streets and roam them at a leisurely pace. But I’m not sure the calendar’s right. I search for my own pocket calendar, but can’t find it, so I’m still not sure when my return flight really is.
The scene changes, and I’m on a busy street in a French shopping area. I step into a restaurant and ask the hostess something she doesn’t understand. I correct myself and say “Les toilettes.” “Ah, oui, les toilettes,” she says, and leads me to a corner not far from the front desk. There is no toilet, just a small tiled area and a drain. I wish I’d bothered to find a MacDo with a western-style toilet, but it’s too late. I’m going to have to squat in public, and I try to decide whether it’s worse to face forward or backward. Then, to my great relief, I notice a shower curtain that I pull closed. I’ve accidentally left a small gap uncurtained and a couple of people start a conversation right next to that gap, but I pull the curtain tighter.
Afterward when I open the curtain and start to leave, the hostess shakes her head vigorously. “Boîte!” she says. “Boîte?” I ask. She picks up a small ceramic box and waves towards the surrounding garden area, and I understand that I was supposed to have collected my pee in the box and scattered it over the soil.
I wake up and think “Well it’s not like they didn’t have plenty of other people’s pee to use. It’s not like my small contribution will really make a difference.” It takes me several more seconds before I realize that perhaps their method is not the best for fertilizing a restaurant’s garden.
P.S. It’s not too late to enter your own composite titles in the contest a couple of posts back (link). Or just go enjoy the amazing ones that others have come up with.