Sunday, May 22, 2005

Czechoslovakian Bathroom Weather Report

I am in a hallway in a school. It is similar to the elementary school I attended.

It seems older, with narrow halls, lots of wood trim and many classrooms. There are worn tile floors and walls painted in dull, unappealing institutional colors.

There are college students everywhere, studying for some type of final exam. They sit in the classrooms at creaky wooden desks and tables. They sit in the floors in the hallways and in doorways. I have to step over them as I walk.

They read textbooks and their notes in silence. I watch them as I slowly walk around the hallways, hearing only an occasional cough, the turning of a page, or squeak of a highlighter drawn across the text of a book.

I am supposed to help the students if they have a question.

I have an urge to go to the bathroom.

I really need to go to the bathroom. Now.

I walk down the hallway to a large dark wooden door. I turn the brass doorknob and walk inside.

The room I enter is very spacious with high ceilings. There are large older styled windows with worn wooden trim.

Czechoslovak flags, dozens of them, are draped all around the ceiling.

The room is filled with rows of wooden bathroom stalls. I walk to one and open the door, hearing the spring on it creak.

I step inside and the door shuts behind me. I notice there are no walls separating one stall from another. To my left and right is a row of older-styled toilets, a wooden door in front of each one.

Other people are there, sitting on some of the toilets. They look straight ahead, blankly, sitting in silence. One person reads a newspaper, slowly turning the pages.

Some of the people are women; some are men.

I don’t seem to be concerned about them.

I unzip my pants and take a leak, the sound of the flowing water echoing in the large room. I flush the toilet.

I turn around, open the stall and walk back out into the hallway.

I look back at the door of the bathroom.

A fancy brass plague is on the center of the door.

"This restroom donated by the Republic of Czechoslovakia," it reads.

I continue walking through the hallway. The students are still there, studying quietly.

Once in a while, one of the students asks me a question.

I point to something in their notes or their book.

“Try that,” I say.

In a corner of one hallway is a classroom. I walk inside, stepping over the students studying on the floor.

I see a television mounted in the corner of the room. It is tuned to CNN.

The students crowded in the room continue studying and pay no attention to it.

On the television, a man stands pointing at a map, giving a weather forecast.

"In this area of the country, it will be sunny and mild. But we’re also expecting a slight chance of inter-dimensional shifts," he says, pointing at the east coast.

I walk further into the classroom to a desk sitting next to a window.

A student sits there, graphing some type of mathematics problem on an old computer. He seems frustrated, his brow tensed, concentrating and adjusting his glasses.

He looks up at me.

“What should I do?” he asks.

I point at the graph on the computer screen.

“Try that point,” I say.

The student types something into the keyboard. The screen of the computer slowly refreshes, redrawing the graph.

The graph forms a perfect circle on the screen.

I hear a loud clap of thunder.

One of the students in the middle of the classroom stands up from his desk. He points at the window next to me.

“Look!” he yells, “It’s the Swiss Alps!”

I turn and look out the window.

Strange clouds and fog are moving into the schoolyard.

In the distance, I see the Alps, surrounded by heavy clouds. It is slowly drifting towards us.

Then I woke up.

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