Reprint of a funny post by a funny guy…
Perhaps one day I will tell you about my own experiences. David Gilmore does a great job and he deserves to have his time in the bathroom alone…so here goes!
the subgenius musings of David Gilmore
Posted by: facetothewind | November 28, 2010
On the banks of the San Pedro River – my thanksgiving in Cascabel, Arizona
Somewhere over of the Rincon Mountains southesat of Tucson, on the thorny banks of the San Pedro River, there exists a precious and small community called Cascabel. I’ve only visited twice and have come to know it through the eyes of my Radical Faerie friends who live there. In spite of what appears on the surface to be harsh living, they live with a sense of purpose and joy and respect for the earth. They make incredible meals from the garden with food they trade with neighbors. It might be called simple living but it is anything but simple. Living in the desert requires a lot of craftiness and commitment to provide themselves with the services we press buttons and pull levers for. Erik who has lived here for a decade is a master builder, gardener, plumber, electrician and does it all with an extraordinary sense of grace.
I spent my thanksgiving there with the boys, mostly in the hammock reading and babysitting the chicks. The stone cottage Erik built by hand is set into the east-facing canyon wall and is kissed daily by the sun. Solar panels attached to two car batteries provide lights, music and refrigeration. The crisp, starry nights dip below freezing but the days are almost always pleasant. They cook with a solar oven and a propane stove. It’s a beautiful if isolated place about 20 miles from the nearest small town. Coyotes, javelinas and rattlesnakes crisscross the saguaro flanked dirt road access. Here you have a real sense of the wild west and you learn what it is to be a pioneer when you’re out in the middle of the night fixing water lines from the well to the house.
Here are landowners Erik and Shreevie (left and middle) and guest Orchid (right) on the land by Shreevie’s trailer.
Erik harvesting greens for thanksgiving dinner…
while Shreevie catches grasshoppers to feed to the chicks for their thanksgiving feast. I tried my hand at it but was only able to catch the giant ones by throwing my handkerchief over them. Erik then cut them into pieces for the chicks. I was slightly horrified by the whole process as frankenhoppers kicked around without their heads. Compassion for the little ambulatory mandibles fades when you consider the damage they do to the crops. Not to mention how much the chicks go CRAZY for them.
Shreevie with the chicks on the sofa and Orchid (who is a chef in San Francisco) manning the oven. Someone really should invent chicken diapers b/c the chicks are fun to play with but they’re all too happy to leave wet surprises on your lap. And speaking of poop, here’s the big story of the weekend…
M Y T H A N K S G I V I N G P O O by David Gilmore
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m one of those people who likes to have a perfectly controlled and serene environment for my morning constitution. I’m what you might call a high maintenance pooper.
So on my first visit to Cascabel, my precious poo-ness crashed head-on with the hilltop toilet — what I call “Poo with a View.” Yes, from this toilet you can see about 30 miles in any direction. And if the neighbors were in possession of a telescope, they could see you perched there on the little white toilet seat placed over a composting pit. This, I might add is the only toilet seat you will find on the land. And so those of us with sensitive sphincters need to brace ourselves at least once a day for one of those shitty showdowns — the need to get the deed done versus the need to do it in privacy and with dignity.
My post-thanksgiving visit to the throne was anything but dignified. Let me explain.
A little back-story about the Radical Faeries is necessary. On the Faerie sanctuaries, there are what they call the “shitters” — an inelegant term for the latrine. The Faeries pride themselves on being fabulous in all things except in my estimation, when it comes to the toilet. It usually consists of a few toilet seats on a bench deploying a design aesthetic seen only in German concentration camps and military bivouacs. There are no feather boas twinkly lights or delicate privacy screens at the shitter…not even an elegant name for the facility.
The other notable principle of Radical Faerie-ness is that on the sanctuaries there is only one rule and they will yell it at you loud and clear: NO PISSING IN THE SHITTERS! OK, OK, I get it. Put away your magic wand and tie dye, I promise I won’t piss in the shitter. The reason of course being that the urine mixed in with the soon-to-be humanure ruins the process by adding too much moisture and urea. I don’t understand the whole process on a scientific level. I simply know that you don’t dare violate that basic tenet when visiting the toilet. Pee on a tree somewhere else before you do number two is all you need to know when stay with the Faes.
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nd so keeping that in mind, I set forth after my morning tea to Poo with a View to relieve myself. But somewhere on the way to the toilet in my urgency to take care of business, I forgot the only rule. It was probably the fact that it was about 35 degrees and windy.
I perched atop the toilet seat and then quickly jumped up realizing the seat was not in fact one of those Japanese heated toilet seats. No, the seat was probably just above the freezing mark.
I decided instead that I would squat on the seat to avoid the shock of an icy seat on my thighs. But rather than squat indelicately on a toilet seat with my shoes on, potentially soiling the only smooth white surface in the desert, I thought I should at least kick off my shoes. And so stepping aboard in my socks, I aligned myself over the hole with my shoes placed neatly on the ground below the throne.
And then I began to focus on the relaxation process. I focused on the neighbor’s house. Wrong. I closed my eyes and felt a frosty wind tickling hairs that usually don’t blow in the wind. I clenched. I squatted there with my hands huddling around my legs for warmth, hoping for the inspiration needed to trigger the series of events necessary for me to accomplish my manurey mission. I imagined being at home in my warm bathroom with my silk rug at my feet. And then it happened.
I did it — the Business part of my business happened. And then as always happens the waterworks were about to begin when I remembered that wicked Faerie rule: NO PISSING IN THE SHITTER! Crap. I needed to stop it before it started and we all know that once #2 has launched, there ain’t no stopping #1. It’s an autonomic response to just let it all go. All systems were indeed Go and I was gonna be in big trouble for ruining the next batch of humanure. Someone would no doubt be emptying the pit months from now and would get whiff of my urine and they would trace it back to me and I would receive some sort of Radical Faerie pipe bomb in the mail for my toilet transgressions.
The nice thing about being a man is that you do have one fail safe method to avert the stream. It’s called pinching the hose, much as you would cut the flow watering the rosebushes with a garden house. You simply grab hold and squeeze. And so I thought, no problem, I’ll just reach around my right leg and pinch hard to stem the tide. And I did.
Trouble is I still hadn’t done the toilet paper part. Of course now I was going to have to do a left-handed wipe, which is a bit out of my natural dexterous inclinations but I could probably pull it off. Just then a nice canyon wind whipped over the hill and blew the toilet paper off the throne. So I would have to get up and run after it and all the while trying not to smear the pudding in the process…if you know what I mean.
But there was one problem: I couldn’t stand up. I had my right arm wrapped around my right leg, deployed in pinching the hose. Imagine trying to get up from a squat position with your right arm wrapped around your leg while holding your junk tightly in one hand. It’s the sort of thing that only a player in a game of Twister could imagine. Only I’m trying to stem the flow, and chase down a toilet paper roll and preserve my dignity on a hilltop with the neighbors watching. I began to imagine that neighbor hooking up their webacam to the Poo with a View and recording it for a show on the world’s stupidest humans. “Honey come here, you won’t believe this.”
It was at this point that I realized the only way to retrieve the toilet paper was to let go of the hose and try to aim the now high pressure stream off the throne and THEN waddle over to get the TP. So I let go and managed to relieve myself of my full bladder and the last remnants of my dignity all over my shoes neatly placed at the base of the throne. Lovely. Now I have pee-soaked shoes and pudding crack and have no doubt gone viral on the Internet toilet cam.
But hey, I was now free to waddle with my pants around my sock feet into the thorny desert to chase down a much-needed roll of baby soft double ply toilet paper. I was just hoping that no dingleberries would drip off into my pocket and into my iPod.
I finally managed to retrieve the roll, waddle back to the throne dry my shoes, pat the pudding and pick thorns out of my socks. I returned to the house frost bitten and humiliated but triumphant that I didn’t PISS IN THE SHITTER! I pissed all over it and my shoes, but not IN it. The fact that I managed to do anything at all was a big congratulatory moment for me.
So when I saw Erik I told him the story of what went down on the hilltop. He chuckled and said, “You know, in Arizona, because it’s so dry here, you can actually piss in the shitter.”
Well, you learn something everyday, don’t you? I learned that homesteading ain’t for sissies.
I am checking now for the webcam broadcast.