In my dream, it’s a big holiday and everyone in town is celebrating. I arrive at a friend’s house for a party. Her house is a big mansion with a lot of rooms, and it’s packed with people. There are portable stalls with opaque glass walls set up everywhere. Everyone is standing around talking and drinking, listening to music, getting rowdy. The atmosphere is just like you’d expect it to be at a big party, with the exception that everyone is wearing a bathrobe, or a towel and shower cap, and carrying a scrub brush, bottles of shampoo, soap on a rope, etc. My friend chastises me for not following the dress code – I’m wearing my regular street clothes. She gets me a white terrycloth robe and a white bar of soap and says I can use her stall, but scoffs that I don’t have a chance. I’m not sure what the heck she’s talking about. After a few more moments of general revelry, a whistle blows. A referee, dressed just like you’d expect in the black and white uniform, steps into the middle of the room and shouts “Round One!” Several people step forward, clutching their scrub brushes, adjusting their shower caps, slipping their bars of soap on a rope over their heads. They line up like horses at the gate. The ref blows his whistle again, and they dash to the portable stalls and turn on the water. Suddenly, we’re watching a bunch of people getting in the shower! They wait for the water to get steamy, remove their robes and towels, and step in! One by one, they each begin to sing a different song (the only iteration I recall clearly is “Singing in the Rain”). They scrub, wash, lather, etc. As the shower stalls steam up, cryptic looking diagrams begin to appear. I step in to get a closer look at one and recognize the tantalizingly difficult 9×9 grid of a Sudoku puzzle! I realize this is a race, to complete both shower and Sudoku. It’s a holiday Sudoku and showering ritual competition! Wow!
PS. When I woke up, I had a powerful desire to try Sudoking in the shower, so I did. I recommend an easy puzzle unless you have a particularly stout water heater. I didn’t get very far before the water turned cold! Plus, it’s surprisingly hard to sing while trying to wash your body and solve a Sudoku puzzle. So maybe this is a worthy competition after all?
My Dear El,
Holiday ritual, cocktails, shared public nudity, soap-on-a-rope, swanky bathroom wear, and challenging Japanese number puzzles. Your dream truly has it all! I shouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising young business individual working for a Japanese televisual organization reads about your dream here and promptly offers to turn it into a Japanese game show ala Human Tetris. Taken as more than just an amusing diversion for the masses, however, there are some rich symbols present within your dream for the Professor to cut his teeth on. Firstly, there is the element of ritual, reinforced by the fact that this is a “big holiday.” You arrive at the party as an invitee, but you garner the scorn of your hostess, as you are the proverbial Jew at the office Christmas party – an outsider, one who is clearly not “in” on a ritual in which everyone else is actively participating. It is interesting that the ritual itself involves cleansing, which can represent a new beginning. Are you perhaps feeling like an outsider rather than participant in some ceremonial situation which involves a new beginning, in which you are forced to participate but perhaps rather reluctant or bewildered? Are you always a bridesmaid, perhaps, and never a bride? The fact that you are invited to participate and willing to do so indicates that your status as outsider is may be only temporary and of your own perception. The Professor is encouraged by your enthusiastic embrace of your dream in the waking world, and encourages you to practice, practice, practice this showering, song, and Sudoku triumvirate and then send us a video to post. I, of course, can’t imagine why anyone would willingly submit to torture by hot water, but knowing humans I believe it quite likely that your ritual might catch on. It could perhaps even surpass the rather more dull ritual of stuffing your guts and watching sports that many Americans currently partake of during most of the major holidays. One can only hope.
I remain your faithful servant and dream interpreter extraordinaire,