At the Greek Sex Shop

I was in a big city in Greece, trying to find my way back to the hostel where I was staying. I know it was Greece because at first I was on top of a hill, and could see the ocean and the white stucco of the houses. But then I moved deeper into the downtown, and I remember the city had all kinds of new, modern construction projects going on, buildings of unusual design, like Frank Ghery or something like that. There were elevated glass passageways that connected many of the twisted buildings, and lots of stairs and escalators and open plazas. In the middle of one of these wide spaces was a construction pit, but it was as far down as a skyscraper is tall, and I recoiled in shock from the edge of it. There was no railing or anything, and nobody else seemed concerned about the danger. I decided to descend into the subway system so I could find a map, but the subway hall was more like a hotel lobby, a huge carpeted room with an extended window on one side. People were milling around, and eventually somebody came up and offered to help me. I felt totally lost, but I didn’t entirely trust this person, so I excused myself and headed for a staircase labeled “Men” and “Women”. I went down, expecting to find restrooms, but instead it was some kind of pornography store or sex shop, except not with videos or peep-shows or magazines. Instead, there were long, narrow, open booths, and men and women were sitting on benches on both sides, in various stages of undress (though nobody was naked and nobody was engaged in intercourse). The “Men” and “Women” sides seemed the same to me, and the people seemed quite ordinary, not like pornography-type people. I felt very uneasy and went back up the stairs immediately, though it was difficult now because of the number of people going down. I realized I was being followed by a man I didn’t recognize, who seemed very friendly when he tried to talk to me, but I felt very uncomfortable around him and, without explaining myself, I began to run down a street towards the sea.

(Paul included the text above with the object. It describes the dream he had, which the scrimshaw illustrates. For more details about Paul, these objects, and how they ended up with me, click here!)