Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Pop a Squat

So several us will be going on the same study abroad programs this summer and we were discussing this at dinner. Somehow the subject of toilets abroad came up. Gentle reader, as you may or may not know, plumbing the world over is vastly different from here as you will see nary an American standard toilet. When returning from abroad, there is not a much sweeter sight than the first American Standard toilet that one has the pleasure to sit on.

So some of us are going to Italy this summer, and sometimes in Italy, there is just a hole. This is not so much a problem for the gents, but for us US ladies it takes some ability to pee in a hole and not wet yourself and your pants. And if you have to take a number 2, well, Lord help you. The gents have greater difficulty with this one as well. Furniture Boy, clocking in at 6'3" is aghast at the idea of crapping in a hole. "I thought Italy was first world" he says bewildered. I explain that it is, but it's old and sometimes plumbing is just not top priority.

At this time Candy Girl jumps in with her experiences in Japan and India. In Japan, sometimes there is not a hole, but a trough that runs bowling alley style, with no doors, in the bathroom and there are little foot holds on either side of the trough. She explains that you do it a few times and your bowels with thank you because this is how nature intended it to be. I point out that Furniture Boy and myself aren't small people and our center of gravity has changed quite a bit from the days of nature i.e. there's a lot of us to bring down to The Hole. Candy Girl replies that Gorilla's are big too, but I point out that they are used to knuckle dragging and we are not.

Furniture Boy is still trying to wrap his head around shitting in a hole. He starts thinking aloud and suggests that perhaps there is a collapsible device that one can put over the hole and sit on. D suggests that there might be such a device for campers, but she points out that it might not be something that you want to carry around with you all the time*. Tiny, who should have the least problem with this whole enterprise, wants to make a device as well and thinks that if she can get her hands on some metal she might be able to solve this problem. Furniture Boy conceedes to D that he might not want to carry it around and asks if there are handles to grab onto and Tiny wants to know if perhaps the room is small enough that you can hold yourself up with the wall. D flips out and says "no no no, you don't want to touch anything in that room." I explain to Furniture Boy that there are no handles, so he suggests that maybe he could carry around handles with suction cups. Again, this present the problem of having to carry around toilet acoutrements.

D and Candy Girl each have their own technique. D suggests squatting and grabbing your ankles, Candy Girl suggests stretching your arms in front of you like a down hill skier. Furniture Boy and I are not thrilled by this prospect. I admit that on my previous trip to Italy I did not master The Hole. D suggests that we practice and build up the muscles.

So this evening instead of outlining, we try both the down hill skier and the ankle grab. I have developed my own technique which I call The Catcher -- I squat and rest my arms on my knees. I shall defeat you Hole!

*Such a device does in fact exist. and also

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