Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ode to the Outhouse

There are two kinds of people in the world; those who love outhouses and those who hate outhouses. Remarkably, I fall into the former category. This is remarkable because of the fact that I have a rather nauseating aversion to spiders.

Why do people that hate outhouses hate them? The reasons are fairly obvious. Smell. Insects. Spider webs. Germs. The path through the grass/woods/abyss with the snake/mouse/frog/monster lurking just out of site ready to attack.

Reasons to hate outhouses are fairly clear. Reasons to love outhouses are a bit more obscure.
1. Some people...especially to do their business outdoors.
2. Can be cleaned by simply hosing it down.

While renovating the cottage bathroom and waiting for the guy to come and pump out the honey pot (aka holding tank) I was required to do my business outdoors. Sans outhouse. It was a nostalgic adventure.

I found a smooth log, stripped of it's bark that hung out over a small hill. It was the perfect height from the ground so I could sit and hang my butt over the side and my toes just reached the ground. It even had branches sticking out on either side of my 'spot' to hold on to for reassurance and to hang the toilet paper role on. I loved my risky little adventure...meditating out in the woods where no one could see me but there was a small risk of the neighbour seeing me from a distance if he was getting something from his car. I used my meditation time to think of something to say other than "Hi, Eugene" if the neighbour wandered into range. Something witty. I never did think of anything.

Although this was quaintly fun in a silly way, it wasn't a long term solution...certainly not a solution for middle-of-the-night business or guests. The cottage needs an outhouse for the winter months without running water, times when the number of guests outweighs the capacity of the septic system, and for that eccentric niche of people that prefer to do their business outside. I sought the opinions of others so I could build a friendly outhouse.

Outhouses that were painted white inside seemed to be more well received than their rustic wood counterparts. White is associated with clean. People seem just as content "imagining" that the outhouse is clean. The walls should be solid rather than planks of wood. Planks have seams and cracks that invite spiders to lay nests and spin webs.

Following extensive research, I realized the main problem people have with outhouses is the last reason that they'll admit to. The big, dark cavernous hole below one's most vulnerable part threatens to reach out and grab one by one's vulnerable parts and drag one into the stinking bowels of hell. The outhouse can be white, clean, and smell of roses, but the gateway to hell cannot be disguised.

I think I found the solution to appeal to outhouse lovers and haters alike. My outhouse will be build on a concrete slab facing the lake. A Dutch door will allow for modesty as well as a view of the lake for the commune-with-nature type. The path will be cleared of grass that may threaten to tickle squeamish legs or hide nasty critters. There will be a motion sensor light on the path at night so one does not require a flashlight (which only protects you from the monsters you see in the front, but not those behind you in the dark). And finally, there will be a composting toilet in the outhouse that has a little trap door that separates the basin from tunnel to hell. Hell's minions cannot open this door. One has total control and power when it comes to the doorway to hell. Take that!
I'm not completely naive. I still anticipate problems. My sister-in-law, for example, who has to have a shower every time she swims in the lake. Her expression was one of disbelief when I told her that the water in the shower comes directly from the lake. I even showed her the intake pipe beside the dock. But she has an unwavering faith that the water somehow transforms during it's twenty meter journey up the black plastic pipe to the shower. Whatever.

But I promised you and ode.

Oh lovely outhouse
that guards the gates of hell
Square, wooden sentinel
how often have I doubted you
No more
No more
May you rise to your place of glory.
*Flush* I'm not a poet.

1 comment:

Fifi said...

omg, fabulous blog post. and very educational too.

for instance, it answers that age old question: does a lisapizzapie shit in the woods?

obviously, she does. ;)

love the ode too. *flushflush*