Monday, December 29, 2008

"I bet you don't even bother to compost your own feces!"

Last week someone made a joke about how I should write a blog post about going to the bathroom in a stranger's apartment and it reminded me of another joke someone made to me about how I should write a blog about urinating in public, with photos of all the places I've made my mark. Layers upon layers. So many jokes about composting feces in Robin's sleeping bag! So many!

There was a time when the outdoor relief list would have been very short, non-existent really. A female growing up in the city has few opportunities to pop a squat that don't leave her frighteningly vulnerable. Then a couple years ago I was in Utah with my roommate Claire tailgating at a rodeo and could not fucking take a piss behind the pick up truck. Not kidding when I say it was totally embarrassing. What's so hard about peeing?

Anyway, when I was at Frosty Morning Farms they had an outhouse or 'composting toilet'. It was a little wooden shack up a flight of stairs full of dust, spiders and peat moss to throw down the hole after your bizness. Now, I drink a lot of water and am often self-conscious about the number of times I run to the restroom during the day. But out in the hot sun, weeding or god knows, drinking water and going to pee was the best way to get out of the heat and break the monotony (partially true for working in an office as well) so I did it freely, lighting the way with a candle by the peat moss bucket. After a couple days, Allison took me aside...

She let me know that urine really isn't so good for a compost toilet because it gets too acidic and she usually went, oh, behind the tool shed or by the paddock or behind any convenient tree. A few days later a visitor to the farm was in the outhouse and I could hear the stream like a gushing white water rapid-poor Allison had been listening to me ruin her compost!!

So yeah, peeing outdoors. Once the floodgates were opened...I kind of dug it. Especially at night, in the pitch black, coyotes howling madly in the distance, chickens scattering, night bugs hopping around and down my throat in one noteable has a kind of magic.

(The view into the farmhouse as I peed on the doorstep)

If you haven't developed the muscles to do it, ladies, get on it. Okay, I almost gave Allison and Karl's teenage sons a free show one afternoon but it's worth the risk.

All jokes about urinating aside, composting toilets are awesome and though I am currently bound by my landlord's stifling restrictions, if I ever build my own house I'd have a composting toilet put in. You wont be contaminating rivers and streams or disrupting soil systems by installing pipes. You can build them anywhere that plumbing is inconvenient. And if you're very bold you can use that compost to fertilize your garden...just don't pee on your garden. That's what behind the tool shed is for.

Incidentally, I didn't get over my outside/bathroom fear on the farm (though they did bring my comfort to an unprecendented level). I got over it just a few days after the tailgating party. I was at the top of Timpanogos, a mountain in Utah, leaning against the summit shack, in front of god and everyone. Which shows if you set a goal for yourself there's nothing you can't accomplish.


spryglet said...

Well, I'll say it again. You have a real talent for writing. Informative? Yes, to be certain. But atmospheric & poetic as well.

I am impressed.


The Lonely Goatherd said...

For some reason it cracks me up that you've written such a sweet and thoughtful comment about an entry with the word 'feces' in the title.