Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Hole Toilet

So I went up the canyon with some friends and had to go and use the facilities. And as I was walking towards what I thought was a bathroom, I was stopped by a very strong, not so pleasant odor. And then I realized that I wasn’t heading to a toilet at all, but a hole in the ground with a seat on top.

Now for those of you who have never been to one of these little treats in the forest, let me just say, it takes some preparation both mentally and spiritually before you go walking in.
(Sometimes I like to say a little prayer before I enter the "shanty toilet" because, and let’s be honest, when we finally die and see what hell is like it I am pretty sure it will be a tiny shanty with a “hole toilet”. If you don’t believe me friends, you lift up the toilet, stare down into that hole. If that’s not Hell ladies and gentlemen I don’t know what is.)

So I am standing outside the door taking in some deep breaths and doing some self talk, saying things like, “Rob, you are capable of doing this. What is hard for others is easy for you.”
So I finally steeled myself to the task at hand and said, “Give me this mountain, give me this challenge”.

I held my breath, opened the door, and walked in ready to face whatever would befall me.
Now, I always promise myself that I am not going to look down into the hole. It’s disgusting and usually causes me to throw up a little bit in my mouth. I fight and fight my urge not to look down but inevitably curiosity gets a hold of me and I do and then dry heave and then accidently breath through my nose, which causes me to dry heave again. It’s just a vicious cycle.

For those of you who have never experienced this adventurous bathroom experience let me give you some tips.

First of all, almost always the lock on the door is broken so you must hold the door shut with your feet or your spare hand whichever is most convenient for you.

Secondly, give that seat a good looking over before you have a sit. Heaven only knows what kind of wildlife is creeping under that toilet seat waiting to take a bite out of you.

Thirdly, be vigilant friends, always remember to be vigilant. Once you are seated you will notice all kinds of bugs, spiders, and the occasional bird that will come creeping toward you once your pants are down. Whalst your one hand or foot is holding the door shut the other hand or foot should be waving raucously to ward off any invading creatures. (Mind those mosquitoes as well; they love that blood from your bum.)

Lastly, work fast. Don’t doddle in there. You mission is to get in and get out with a clean pair of pants and your life intact.

Finally, there is no greater sense of freedom in all the world then walking out and taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air after the experiment in terror, which is the “hole toilet”. Sometimes I just burst right into “God Bless America” for good measure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Swimming Incident

Remember that time when I signed up to do a triathlon and failed to realize how much training it would entail to accomplish this goal without dying?

Last night I went to the pool to swim what seemed like, oh I don’t know like 1000 laps. I came walking out of the locker room in my speedo (not the underwear kind but the modest to the knee number. I am not quite ready to show that much leg at the pool.), swim cap, and aerodynamic goggles, so naturally everyone expects great things from me because I look like, ya know, a professional swimmer. I appear, to the untrained eye, something like a balding, not as fit, Michael Phelps cutting through the water at amazing rates of speed.

I dive in, swim my first lap and just feel great. The water felt cool in the hot summer sun and I seemed to be gliding through the water like a dolphin swabbed with baby oil. And then the burning started.

After I did a flip turn I realized that my arms lack the muscle strenth to propel me through the water, my lungs were not taking in air, and my speedo had slid down just a tich (Friends make sure you cinch that waist band good and tight on your speedo or you might be giving your fellow swimmers a little “show” they don’t really want to see).

So with one hand I was trying to fix the wardrobe malfunction below, with the other hand I tried to paddle to keep my buoyancy, while still trying to take gulps of air between every mouth full of water. It all just became too much. So finally I just stopped mid-stroke and walked back to the other side of the wall.

So, needless to say, I didn’t leave quite the impression I wanted at the pool.

Better luck tomorrow. This time I think I will wear a snorkel mask and cargo shorts, that way there is no real expectation to live up to.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Possesive Pronouns

Do you ever have conversations with people and they refer to their parents like they are your parents and you all belong to the same family? I don’t know how to explain it but it happened to me today and I thought it very odd.

For example the person said something like this: “So I went with mom to the store”, “I stopped by mom and dads to help them mow their lawn.”

Why don’t they just say “So I went with my mom to the store.” or “I stopped by my parents to help them mow their lawn.”?

Is that weird to any one else? It presupposes a closeness that I want to distance myself from. That possessive pronoun is really important to me; let us not cast it off so casually.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Shopping Crash

Do you ever start your day off feeling great about life and the world around you, and then go to Wal-mart and within 20 minutes of shopping you become so impatient with people that you want to burn shopping carts and throw cheese samples at everyone?

It’s seems that every time I go to Wal-mart people seem to lose all sense of balance and direction. I don’t know if some how there is some weird magnetic phenomena that makes my fellow shoppers lose all sense of their depth perception, you know kind of like the Bermuda Triangle affect, but people seem to be bumping into me and other stationary objects at a rate that seems why beyond the normal average for this part of the country.

When I asked my sister if she had a similar problem at her neighborhood Wal-mart she said she did and felt is was because, and I quote, “The devil resides in Wal-mart, that is why we all feel like crap when we leave”. After my experience last night I am beginning to believe that she is right.

Last night as I was shopping in the cereal aisle perusing which cereal to buy to fulfill both my breakfast and dinner needs for the following day, out of the corner of my eye I see a women making a B-line for me and my cart.

Now, I don’t profess to know the intricacies of the “right of way” system when one is pushing a shopping cart but, it seems to me that if you are stopped in the aisle the other person who is moving should be the one to divert their course. Am I right?

So I try to make eye contact with this diverted shopper so she knows that I know that I see her, and that I am not moving. But she continues right toward me and eventually runs right into me. Now sure she was going at a relatively low speed and I didn’t receive any injuries, but just the fact that it had to happen really annoyed me.

So after I left the cereal aisle I was heading to the milk section at a very nice clip when some crazy person comes pulling out of the baking aisle without looking both ways before heading out into the intersection of the aisles of Baking and Milk. And I slammed right into her, again at a very low speed, but what if I would have had some eggs or a crystal goblet pyramid in my cart? What then friends? What then?

Something needs to be done. Perhaps stop lights at the end of aisles, or Wal-mart employees on Segways who can monitor out of control cart pushers. But ultimately it comes down to Wal-mart shoppers getting their head in the game and looking out for others, right?

Seriously as long as their prices are the lowest we all have to shop there, so let’s try to look out for each other and be safe.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Pocket Knife

Remember when you were a boy scout and they drummed into your brain that you should always carry a pocket knife with you at all times, just in case you had to hollow out a canoe, or kill a grizzly bear on your way home from work?

In all my years of carrying my tiny pocket knife on my key chain my only occasion to use it has been to cut those pesky threads that stick out from my ties, and trim painful hangnails that seem to snag on everything. In the moment my hangnails do seem life threatening and could warrant sharing “The Case of the Infected Hangnail” in a Den Meeting, explaining how my pocket knife has rescued me from almost certain death. But I have never really used my pocket knife to solve a major life problem or to save a life until a little experience I had on Friday that may warrant a little write up in Boys Life.

So I went to the temple for some needed spiritual enlightenment. As I returned to my locker I looked up to see that someone had slammed the handle to my garment bag into their locker. So I pulled and tugged and reverently banged on the locker but it didn’t budge. I tried to get one of the temple workers to see if they could open this locker that had my bag in a vice like grip but they didn’t know how to remedy the problem.

As I sat there on my bench, within my locker stall, pondering how to get out of this predicament, I received, what I believe was inspiration. I heard the voice of my old scout master in the distance, “Use the knife Rob…Trust your feelings”.

So I reached up with my trusty pocket knife and amputated the handle from my bag with one precise cut.

Sure it was awkward, me standing on a stool, knife in hand, sawing at my garment bag handle in the temple locker room, but I think most of those in attendance were boy scouts so I am sure they understood.

As I walked out of the temple with my lop-sided garment bag, struggling to not trip over it, me thought I heard in the distance, the sweet voice of a long since forgotten Scout Master saying, “Rob, may the knife be with you…always.”

And I said to him, “Thanks for that, but isn’t there some sort of bionic or robotic handle that we can attach to make this garment bag whole again?”

All I got was, “Rob, Two words…Boondoggle.”

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Got the Sweats

In the summer do you ever lie in bed cradled in a puddle of you own sweat hoping to fall asleep? You have every fan in your house going, windows open to capacity, a bag of ice on your head and yet sleep somehow eludes you?

I love the coolness of the air conditioner but I am so cheap that I don’t turn it on until I am almost to the point of absolute dehydration. How did the pioneers do it? There must have been a lot of skinny dipping going on in the blackness of night.

I am the same way in my car. I think it is because I feel like somehow I am stronger than everyone else around me. It’s like I have something to prove to myself and others by sweating through every layer of clothing I have on. Is that really showing how tough I am or how little I care about body odor in and around other people? I think people are starting to feel the latter is true.

I think my neighbors must wonder what happens to me from the time I leave work to when I arrive home. I get out of my car dripping with sweat and have to wave my hand in front of me, like a blind person, to find my way to my door because the gel from my hair melts into my eye lashes, then my eyes seal shut. It’s like I have pink eye all over again. It’s hard.

I think from now on I am going to be gentler with myself. I am going to turn my air on for a few minutes each day to reward myself for how great and strong I am.

Because, like my friends at L’Oreal say…I’m worth it.