Dreams are a perfect example of what utterly exhausted cliches we all are. We seem to have so many of the same recurring dreams – being late for an exam, having all our teeth fall out, or finding ourselves in bed with a sexy hippopotamus. And as an avid enthusiast of drinking too much water before bed, I have had ample experience with the great shared human experience of pee-related dreams.
Some may involve being immersed in water, or some other thinly disguised metaphor for urination, but as far as I can recall, most of them just involve me peeing – I am nothing if not literal-minded. I pee, and pee, and pee some more, and the peeing never stops until I pee for real. (And if you’re wondering whether these dreams produce real world, uh, manifestations, I’m proud to say that they don’t.) I am an incredibly deep sleeper, which is both a blessing and a curse; in this case, it means that my body can remain asleep for impressive periods of time with a painfully overfilled bladder.
I’m now a little more careful with my fluid intake before bed – and I’ve had to factor in my body’s freakishly long turnaround time between the intake of water and the output of water byproduct. But I believe I’ve already endured so many of these prolonged R.E.M. pee fantasies that I have finally crossed the point of no return. That is – I’ve peed so much in dreams that peeing in real life will now sometimes feel like a dream.
It seems to happen most often at rows of urinals in public washrooms, at places like restaurants or airports. I may find myself outside with an urgent need to relieve myself, and the built-up discomfort will invoke memories of so many pee dreams from my past. At the precise moment that the sweet release begins, I will be overcome by an unreal feeling, as if I’m not quite sure whether I’m awake or dreaming. The dissipation of such profound discomfort should be enjoyable, but in this context it somehow becomes unnerving.
I’ve recently begun to entertain, more and more seriously, the idea what we are living in a simulation. There are so many nagging, unanswered questions about life that can be plausibly answered with the hypothesis that we are all just variables being endlessly tweaked and re-run inside an alien supercomputer. If the simulation is now revealing itself to me through pee-related glitching – well, at least the simulation has a sense of humour. And if nothing else, every trip to an airport urinal can be a reminder to maintain some degree of detached bemusement and not take all of this life stuff too seriously.