Yesterday I watched as the corrugated plastic pipe jerked and gurgled, sucking up over ten years worth of grease, grime and poo from out of our septic tank. It wasn’t that nice cuddly bear Christopher Robin plays with, but that horrid stinky stuff no one wants to talk about. But in less than ten minutes, Dave the septic guy had cleaned up years of heavy shit. Who needs a therapist when Dave and his stinky magic pipe could magically make it all disappear? (wow, that was so Freudian!)
I realized then that all of my life I have been dealing with other’s shit, not figuratively, but literally, shoveling duck, goose and chicken poop from a tender age, horse and cow manure, rabbit droppings and now pig. Sure the garden has always been rosy because of it, but what does that do to a person?
When my children were born I had a new type of poop to handle. No one told me that my sweet innocent newborn would be emitting black gooey tar thick enough to pave the potholes of a highway! (Be warned moms-to-be!) That soon gives away to the usual stinky masses that fill diapers and surround our lives…for…years! Yeah, I tried to potty train them when they could barely walk. Hah hah. Toddlers have a different mindset. They will drag that one out as long as they can. Why deal with their own mess when someone else will clean it up, right?
As a traveler, I have been well aware of poo. It’s a traveler’s favorite subject. Blogger and world traveler, Wandering Earl recently wrote a post on his dealings with the subject.
In my own travels I’ve had my full share of the stuff- that toilet on the train in Morocco that stopped up after ten minutes of train travel- and it was a HOLE straight to the tracks! How is that even possible? Years later I am still wondering. I’ve almost slid into a mucky hole in the ground- the toilet at a rest area on the way to Kathmandu. I was desperate and the bus from Sunali is a nightmare when you have a full bladder. I’ve been pooped on by pigeons in St. Mark’s Square, Venice. They say it’s lucky- yeah, lucky for the ones the pigeon missed!
-And then there is poop of the worst kind- that endless stream of shit (and I’m not talking about that person sitting next to you on the plane who won’t stop gabbing.) Diarrhea. Yeah, there are all sorts of names for it Montezuma’s Revenge, Delhi Belly.. I suffered the worst diarrhea ever in Essaouira after consuming a rather lovely-at-the-time salad in the night market in Marrakech and that lingered on for weeks… then I had paradise in Palolem interrupted after a run in with another salad (you see a trend?) Stay away from raw salads in third world countries! Apparently they fertilize those beautiful veggies with, you guessed it- poo! Of the two-legged variety! Organic gardening at it’s best…ugh.
Taking a hiking break in Pokhara in Nepal, my sister, Sandy, and I saw a women coming down the mountain trail, a huge rattan basket strapped to her (those head-band straps). She dumped her basket load, a pile of animal dung, and went back up the mountain to fetch more.
“Pretty shitty job,” I said.
“She takes a lot of shit at work.”
We couldn’t help ourselves. It kept coming- like diarrhea. Yeah that Fluffy, Gabriel Iglesias comedian would have had an hour’s show from this stuff! (My son and I saw his take on his travels in India)- he’d have a field day in Nepal!
Around that side of the world lives do revolve around shit! Even camel patties are stacked on walls to dry in the sun and then are used as fuel for fires.
Dave hosed out the septic tank and handed me the bill. He had other people’s shit to deal with today, but like that therapist, you gotta pay.
I watched as the trunk rumbled away.
Yes, fuel, fertilizer and food for thought. Shit. Deal with it.
Things to Know:
1. If it’s the baby’s: clean it up and double wrap the diaper in disposable bags.
2. If it’s the animal’s: compost pile for a while- cover with a layer of leaves or dirt to mask the smell. Animal poop must sit for a minimum of 6 weeks before garden use or it will burn your plants (too much nitrogen). Let it age.( Cat and dog poop are NOT for your veggie garden!!)
3. If it’s traveler’s poop: while Imodium works wonders, I had a doctor once tell me to only use it as a last resort. Diarrhea is the body’s way of eliminating toxins (so is vomiting). So do the Frozen thing and Let it Go! However if you are on a train/plane/limited toilet access, you might need the meds (consult a doctor- I’m not one).
4. If it’s your cess pit: call Dave, or your nearest septic guy.