Bathrooms were separated by ethnicity. It you were “ethnic” you used one bathroom. If you were “non-ethnic” you used another.
I did now know what this meant. A black woman directed me to the non-ethnic bathroom. I disagreed, informing her I was every bit as ethnic as anybody.
I added “All music is ethnic music.” That’s a comment made by Steve Reich, not original to me.
The woman directing me to the non-ethnic bathroom went to consult her boss or maybe some kind of ethnic enforcement personnel. I snuck away, finding the ethnic bathroom and entering it, badly in need of a place to pee.
Somehow the joke was on me. The ethnic bathrooms had no facilities. Ethnic people, it turned out, did not poop or pee. That was the meaning of ethnicity in this strange little dream.
I have no idea where that came from, but it reminds me of an exchange with someone when I lived on the upper east side. He came up to visit from the lower east side, which was a pretty gritty and dangerous area at the time.
Upon emerging from the subway he looked around the upper east and said “So many white people!”
I replied “It’s just another ethnic group.”
He looked at me kind of aghast, shell-shocked. He never said a word but his thoughts seemed obvious: “White people aren’t ethnic. They’re just… WHITE.”
I don’t remember if this exchange or my comment came before or after reading that Steve Reich comment. I think it was before.
I’m at work, stepping through another day. The hours are long and the weight of time feels immense, at least some of the time. But then, all of a sudden, the time has passed.