It was late at night and I was working in some office. I went across to the ladies room, pushed the door open, and thought, “It’s late and no one’s around. If I scream no one will hear me.” So I checked the stalls. First one, empty. Second one, empty. Third one, a guy was standing in there looking at me.
He was young and white-skinned. He quickly explained that he wasn’t an attacker, he just wanted to return this big ring of keys he’d found but didn’t know how. It made perfect sense, and we walked together down the hall to a party where my brother Rolando was. I was sure Rolando would be able to solve the key ring dilemma but he was busy just then, in a circle of people, so my new friend and I went to wait at one of the bar tables scattered nearby. Other guests were milling around. A woman friend was standing at our bar table and I introduced her to my new friend. He was so cute and she was so cute, they’d be perfect together. But when I started explaining how we’d met in the bathroom, I realized that my new friend kind of sounded like a psychopath. Then I realized that he could have been lying about wanting to return the keys and it was perfectly likely he’d been waiting to attack someone. It was suddenly awkward.
The basis for this dream seems obvious. Yesterday I was late for my playwriting class. I rang the buzzer at the building’s entrance, a woman answered, I said who I was, and she buzzed me in. From there it’s a short walk to the elevator which takes you up to the second floor, where the offices and classrooms are. They’re very careful about letting people into the building. They always call down and check who you are before they buzz you in. There’s a sign on the door that reads, “Please do not let anyone into the building behind you. Everyone must be buzzed in individually.” Except how do I tell that to the young dark-skinned man who followed me in, so closely I couldn’t have shut the door behind me without physically pushing him out?
I hoped he was headed somewhere other than the elevator. Nope, he followed me into the elevator. I pushed 2, and hoped he’d push a different button. Nope, he didn’t push a button. That worried me more. He was wearing a hat and he wasn’t smiling. I thought about making small talk, maybe about the great weather, but if he did have bad intentions he might take me for soft, so I held on to my late-for-class scowl. At floor 2, he followed me out of the elevator and into the theatre offices. What was this guy’s problem? He stopped at the front desk and I kept walking. If they wanted to yell at me for letting someone else into the building they’d have to catch me first. I snuck into class, which had already started, and forgot all about the guy. When I came out at break, he was sitting on a couch, sorting through headshots. I smiled tentatively at him, feeling like an idiot. He smiled slightly back.
So clearly my brain lodged those few moments of vague fear of a possible elevator attack and rearranged them, as it likes to do in dreams, into an incident involving a bathroom. But why did my brain switch the situation from being wrongly founded in fear to being wrongly founded in trust? And why did it change the color of the person’s skin from black to white? It’s moments like this that make me suspect my subconscious is either a lot wiser than the rest of me or a lot more devious.