Throughout my life I've been plagued with these anxiety dreams, not so different from a lot of people. You know the one. You are late for class and you get to your locker and you can't seem to get the combination to open. You know you have the right combo. It is 16-22-36. Yes, that is one of my actual school combinations and for years it was a frequent number in my dreams.
At some point in adulthood, my anxiety dreams about lockers and being late for class made a dramatic shift. I started having these dreams about places I had lived or visited in the past. Not my house per se, but places in towns. Riding my bike from a great distance to try to get home, but there was always some situation preventing me from getting there. A traffic thing or perhaps a dog on the loose or maybe a bad person that had to be avoided, taking me further away from the shortest path home.
Later, and probably for the last decade at least, my anxiety dreams have centered finding a place to poop. Yep, I'm one of those people who can't just go at any corner gas station, at a friends house, or in a restaurant. It makes sense that this normal bodily function that causes me occasional stress in my awakened hours would cause me a huge amount of anxiety in my dreams.
I seem to revisit these old buildings that I've been to in my life, either previous military installations or old homes of friends or just places that have morphed out of something in the darkest places of my mind.
At first, the issue always seemed to be finding a suitable toilet. Imagine if you found a restroom that was abandoned and with each cubicle door you opened, there was something wrong. Either the toilet was broken, or it was disgusting, or the door had no latch. Each of these infractions cause you to move to another area, and by the time you find the right place, people come in.
An interesting thing was the design and layout of these restrooms. All of these places have at least some amount of familiarity to me, either they are part of a place I have been or worked at, but once in the restroom, they appear to be designed with no functional method. Like toilets in a cubicle facing one another, or a toilet sitting in a shower area where you'd be sitting there as people showered around you.
And most of these places have dozens of toilets and showers. Years ago when I lived in military dorms, there was usually a set up with six stalls in a row for commodes, six sinks, six urinals, and then a room with nine shower heads spread three each across three of the walls. In my dreams, there are just toilets, some in walled cubicles, some in the open, interspersed amongst showers and sinks. There is no real rhyme or reason to the layout.
In each of these dreams, something else has led up tot he moment that I am in need of the restroom. That is, it could be a perfectly normal dream about anything, then suddenly, I'm in one of these places with weird bathrooms. The entire point of the first part of the dream is gone, and my only focus is on where to go without people watching me.
Okay, so that's the background. And if you've made it this far...
I woke up this morning from a super weird dream with a morale question. I was at this gym like facility with just rows and rows of toilet cubicles. As my weird dreams go, this was actually pretty good. I could almost imagine this being a real place.
After some amount of time wandering around in only a towel (as if I was going to get in the shower), I finally find a stall that is not next to another occupied stall, and I go in, lock the latch and life is good. But nothing in these dreams is ever perfect.
At some point I look up and notice that hanging on the wall is someone's clothes. Just like in a gym where some people forgo the locker and simply hang their clothes up in the open, but these were in a stall.
Next, I notice someone outside my stall and they are talking loudly. Where previously, the stall had been perfectly secured, I now see a man peek in, looking at me sitting there. I mumble that the stall is occupied, and the guy pulls his head away.
Now, the latch on the door is gone. The door swings open and a lady with a scowl on her face informs me that I'm in her stall. I suggest that she can have it as soon as I'm done. I try to push the door closed, but it is useless. Not only is the latch gone, but the door has gotten so small that there might as well be no door.
Now, a daughter, an adult aged daughter appears and says that I'm in their stall and their clothes are in there. I suggest they gather there clothes and I can finish.
I attempt to cover myself with the towel and I stand up with the intent of handing them the clothes. But now, the three of them are attempting to force me out of the stall.
Here is the question. Does it make sense that you would hang your clothing inside a toilet stall while you are at the gym or the pool or wherever, thereby limiting the use of that toilet? That's what the lady said was the policy in my dream. That once you stake out a toilet, it is yours until you are done. My counter to that was that if there was a lock on the outside, I'd buy it, but the only lock is on the inside, thus, the only fair use of the stall is when you are locked inside.
People, this is what happens when you don't have the social skills necessary to take a dump anywhere and in front of anyone. You have anxiety dreams about finding a place to poop.