Whenever I sit down at the computer I feel the most intense anxiety. Whenever I look into a Zoom. Whenever I imagine myself speaking or thinking. Whenever someone looks into me. Whenever I am seen. Wherever I am. Where I am not. Last night in my dream I had to shit but all of the toilets I had to use in this house were covered in it, inside and out, mountains of shit. One of the toilets—the otherwise least offensive one—had a perfectly compacted turd delicately wrapped around the handle. “Why would anyone do this!” I shouted, but there was no one there to hear me. I found a toilet which had acres of shit in it, yes—pale brown shit rolling in the basin like a landscape of jagged turf—but which at least had a relatively clean seat and handle. Flushing did not help. And shit flew out of me, somehow both too enthusiastically and with reluctance. I could find no relief, but the shit was endless—claggy and slow and clinging and violent and rotten. I did my best to contain it, to wipe myself, to wipe the toilet, but it would not stop. (A similar dream, eight years ago, when I was being stalked, but in that instance it was blood, not shit, blood pouring out of my eyes in the mirror; blood, the substance which, when dead, gives shit its colour.) The house was empty but it soon filled with a group of people. A group of people who descended on the toilets—and who found me, still shitting, on the one I had chosen. “Look at what he’s done,” they said, pointing not only to my toilet but to all of them. I tried to explain that I had tried to contain things as much as I could, that I had found them like that and that I wanted to clean what I was responsible for but that I wasn’t even done. They gave me a look that demonstrated that of course they didn’t believe me.

Later in the dream: somehow I had recovered from this situation enough that I was dating three people. One and then two more, diverse genders (as diverse as could be expected in a sample of three). No one I have seen or am seeing. I had been more committed to one and then two introduced themselves, became involved with me quickly, something I momentarily desired but seemingly against my will. I didn’t enjoy it—and woke up relieved, a kind of shock rare but thrilling when it comes to dreams, relieved that I didn’t have to date any one of them, that I wouldn’t have to reel from the fallout of my choices the night before. 

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