When we camp, we camp properly – I mean, the “roughing it” sort of camping.
We’re not the tenderfoot ‘caravan campers” that most people think of as camping.
That’s where you set up for a two weeks stay in a four bedroom elaborate tent- mansion complete with “living area” and massive awning (that takes a whole day to erect), on lush green grass, with a toilet and shower block just metres away.
Where there’s electricity,running water and undercover barbeque’s ready for your convenient preparation of meals…. A place to do laundry even, and proper washlines, with pegs! (sheesh!)
Nope, that’s far too wussy for us.
We like to go deep into the remote outback where there’s nothing but red dirt and flies, a bucket for your laundry and a bush (if you’re lucky) to squat behind, shovel in hand, as you go about your morning constitutions.
Proper bush camping, where you might not shower for five days straight, (you smell so bad that even the flies don’t want to come near you) and perhaps not even see a single soul for days on end.
We’re tough! Resilient and hardy and prepared for anything!
Writing that just made me feel so tough I had to do a little swagger and spit on the floor.
Occasionally, when we can’t stand the smell of ourselves any longer and unanimously decide that showers are in order, we camp at outback “campgrounds” and “caravan parks”– I say this loosely, because they are not anything like the tenderfoots campgrounds and caravan parks which are closer to civilization and fully decked out with all the modern conveniences.
Sometimes just the presence of one lone pit toilet constitutes a ‘camp ground” where WE go.
(Just had to spit again, sorry.)
If you’re not familiar with a pit toilet (which means you qualify as a tenderfoot) it is simply a crude building with the semblance of a “toilet” inside which is basically a seat with a huge deep hole dug into the ground underneath.
The natural process of fermentation and decomposition takes place in that hole thereby taking care of all that mounting “business” down there.
Well….sometimes, if the place is crowded, the business mounts too quickly and that scenario is TRULY horrific. Even for mean tough “proper” campers, like me.
Personally…it’s sometimes less traumatic to simply squat behind a bush.
It was night time and very dark.
I needed to pee for the fifteen millionth time.
Armed with a small torch I trekked off down the path with my daughter.
I’d already visited this particular pit toilet numerous times that day and as far as they go this one was “relatively” clean.
No nasty “backfiring” accidents or things deposited on the floor. (Honestly, some people are just NASTY!)
I try not (ever) to look too far into “ the hole” and one can guess anyway just how full it is by the sound of ….the distance it takes for your…….well, let’s not get into that.
So my daughter who never closes her mouth for a second is standing outside launching a tirade of verbal diarrhea at me while I busy myself in the stall, and I’m answering back whilst trying to keep hold of my torch, wrestling with my jeans while checking the floor for any critters, or spiders who may have taken refuge in there in the dark when suddenly………..the unthinkable happens.
Mid squat , thigh muscles quivering with the effort of keeping myself in that hovering position over the toilet seat, I lose my balance.
The horror of that moment when I realize too late, that some thoughtless person (MAN!) has left the seat UP and that now I have plonked down ungraciously, and deeply, upon the inner ring – the uncovered ring…..the inner sanctuary of the most disgustingly awful place on earth, bringing my most precious parts that much closer, and that much LESS unprotected (why is it that the toilet seat actually feels like some kind of protection?) from what god-awful things that must hang and dribble and ooze and FESTER down these nightmarish holes!
What’s more, because it’s pitch black in there, is that I have NO idea what kind of state this inner ring is IN……..What is on it……clinging to it……crawling up it!!!!!
But it’s too late.
I feel my skin making contact and my mind explodes with nightmarish visions!
I imagine a thousand microbes scuttling over the rim and jumping onto the backs of my thighs in parasitic delight.
All at once my brain is trying to decipher if anything wet….slimy…gross….wriggling has connected with my exposed skin.
I don’t think so.
But I can’t be sure.
Nothing obvious anyway, but the point is, is that the inner sanctuary – the hidden place underneath the pit toilet seat is unchartered territory… for my bum.
I just don’t KNOW what lives there and that is what causes me to begin to hyperventilate!
I get outta there as quick as I can all the while moaning to my daughter (who thinks it’s funny) while I hobble quickly back to camp in the fashion of one who has been riding a horse for six weeks straight might hobble.
As SOON as I reach the blessed circle of light under the awning of the tent I yank my pants down, grab as many baby wipes (we’re in conserving water mode ) as I can possibly grab and scrub the backs of my thighs and any other possibly contaminated part of me that I can reach (respectably) shuddering as I wail an explanation to my bemused (and amused) other half.
It’s not funny. Really it’s not.
I’m totally grossed out by the whole experience.
I never looked afterwards either, to see the state of that “underneath place”.
But next time I will make SURE the seat is DOWN. Well down and everything is just that little bit more covered over before I hover my rear anywhere NEAR one of those holes again.
I only have one thing to say after this traumatizing experience.
“For Christ sakes – MEN! Put the bloody seat back down!”