Monday afternoon I was contemplating diapers for house flies, and that’s when I realized I’m getting old.
It’s complicated. Let me explain:
We have a little acreage outside the city, with a tiny decrepit forty-year-old travel trailer on it. The trailer’s only features are a primitive propane furnace and a queen-size bed we shoehorned in after sacrificing all the original interior partitions and fittings. A toilet is not one of its luxuries, so I built an outhouse.
I don’t like dark, icky outhouses, so ours has a clear roof for natural light, a battery-powered overhead light for nighttime use, and a rainwater collection system that gravity-feeds a small sink so we can wash our hands. Thanks to strategies I won’t describe here, it doesn’t even stink (most of the time).
There are only two of us, so it’s not a big deal to keep it clean. I regularly evict spiders and sweep out the inevitable pine needles and dead leaves we track in, but that’s about the extent of my chores (other than occasionally scrubbing it just because it’s an outhouse and I’m a weirdo clean freak).
That is, until this week.
This week the flies from hell arrived. I don’t know what they’ve been eating, but these are sick, sick flies. Usually fly shit looks like little black specks. These flies dumped brown and yellow splotches the size of a pencil eraser. Or larger. Sometimes much larger. Large enough to dribble when they hit a vertical surface…
It looked as though someone had taken a baby with explosive diarrhea and twirled the poor suffering child around and around inside our outhouse before fleeing the scene of the crime.
It was disgusting, and I spent a good half-hour scrubbing it all clean again before griping to Hubby about the pressing need for fly diapers.
And that’s when I realized it.
In mid-August thirty years ago (okay, maybe a little more), I was portaging and paddling through the beautiful network of lakes in the rocky Canadian Shield country around Kenora, Ontario. I carried all my food, clothing, and cooking tools in my backpack. I slept on the ground, cooked over a tiny fire when necessary, and carried a small trowel whose function I shall leave to your imagination. There was no human habitation whatsoever, and definitely no outhouse.
(In fact, I only met one other group of people the entire week. In complete fulfillment of Murphy’s Law, they caught me squatting behind a bush, trowel in hand. Did I mention I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit? Well, actually, not wearing it at the moment of discovery.)
When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting in my zero-gravity lounge chair in front of our firepit. I still cook all our meals over the campfire, but I’m not exactly roughing it:
So there I was, lounging in my deluxe folding chair, typing on my laptop beside a heated trailer containing a queen-sized bed.
And kvetching about fly shit in my deluxe outhouse.
God, I’m old.
When the hell did that happen?