Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. It is a dream that recurs with alarming regularity, and when I reveal the nature of it, you will understand why it upsets me, although you can probably guess the nature of the dream from the headline.
In the dream, I am usually in a large building, either a modern office block or what seems to be a university. And I really need a poo. Quite desperately. And so I am looking around for a toilet, but no toilets are presenting themselves. There are toilets, often a great many, to be found, but none of them are fit for purpose. For some reason, all of the toilets are in cubicles without doors, or housed in rooms with large clear glass windows onto the outside world. And there are people everywhere, people who would presumably point and laugh at me or turn up their noses in disgust, were I to take a public poo. And, in the dream, it doesn't ever feel like the kind of poo where I could be in and out of the cubicle in ninety seconds flat. Would that it were.
As I frantically up the rhythm of my search for a toilet, the need to poo becomes more and more urgent. Still no such private convenience presents itself. In my subconscious, I am, as the saying goes, touching cloth. Eventually the panic gets too much and... Well, let's just say that the dream reaches a conclusion that is neither happy nor especially clean. And that's when I normally wake up, and am usually very relieved to find that the famous falsehood - if you die in a dream, the conscious you dies too - also is not applicable to pooing. And, touch wood, it never will be.
The website dreambible.com has this to say about poo dreams: "To dream of defecation in a toilet represents cleansing of negative emotions, beliefs, or situations. You may be finished with something in your life." Well, we can eliminate that one from enquiries due to the manifest lack of a toilet, although negative emotions sound quite familiar. "To dream of defecation in an obscene or improper manner represents spoiling something good or creating a problem. It suggests thoughtlessness, and inappropriate thoughts and behaviours." I'm not sure how one is meant to dream about defecation in a manner that might be considered proper, but, again, "inappropriate thoughts and behaviours" certainly rings a bell. But it's this last interpretation that sounds the most familiar: "To dream of defecation in front of other people may represent pressure you feel being placed on you to deal with a problem." Hmmm, Intriguing. Certainly this last year has been one of pressure: financial, professional, emotional, physical, all of the major sources, basically. For a jobbing journalist, especially, the recession is biting very hard, and the inevitable financial pressures created by the current climate, I would argue, trickle down into all the other areas just mentioned. Could it be that, as long as money is too tight to mention and there ain't nothing going on but the rent, I am condemned to continue to dream about needing a poo?
Because there's an interesting addendum to all this. Just recently, there has been a little upswing in my freelancing fortunes - nothing enormous, just a little ring-fencing to keep the wolf from the door. Well, last night, interestingly enough, my poo dream paid one of its periodical visits. Only this time, I found a cubicle. There was nothing weird about it, no window, no faulty latch, the toilet roll was in the right place, nobody had been in before me and shitted up the entire place. Okay, it was one of those annoying pub-style doors where everybody outside can hear your faecal rumblings, but other than that it was a perfectly serviceable lavvy. And I went in and... Well, that unhappy ending that normally happens in my poo dreams, was this time averted.
Maybe 2014 is going to be a good year for me.