Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Interrupt Me!


Why I love blogging:  Sometimes, when I am having a conversation and telling a really great story, the person with whom I am speaking, not realizing the story isn't finished, utilizes one of my pauses to begin their own story, or, worse, to change the subject.  They appear by all discernible signs to be enjoying the conversation, and not covertly bored out of their minds and trying desperately to salvage their own mental stimulation from my mind-numbing inanity.  I think they genuinely don't realize that I hadn't actually made a point yet.  Then I'm always stuck trying to balance the merits and importance of what I had wanted to say against the advisability of just letting it go for easiness sake, and the risk of coming across as megalomaniac for continually coming back to my own self-important monologue in spite of every divergent comment.  Often, I just stay quiet and never finish my story.

But when I blog, I can tell every story in its entirety without interruption.  Ahhhhh.  Thank you.

Monday, March 26, 2012

All Right, Here They Come!

So, I have a bunch of old, unfinished posts that I want to finally get out.  I think I've convinced myself this is more valuable and fun than Korean Dramas (at least for now).  So here I go.  Get ready for some old news and things that may not be entirely relevant anymore.  I'm going to set them to post now, as opposed to being lost in the middle of the past pages where no one will notice that something new has been added, but I'm going to put the date I originally started the post at the top of it so someday when I use this blog to make my personal history, I can get these events in the right order.  Climb in your way back machine, and here we go!

How Disposable Diapers are Undermining the Emotional Stability of the Civilized World


As a child I remember watching my mother dip and shake my little brother's cloth diapers in the toilet. I remember that, occasionally, some of the poo-water would get on her hand and I didn't know how in the world this could be an acceptable life situation for her.

Once, as a teenager, while on vacation at a campground resort we were hanging out at the restroom/laundry facilities to play card games where it was light and warm late into the night. A little girl we didn't know, maybe 6 or 7 years old, stumbled in, bleary eyed. Zombie-like, she made her way to the stall, used it, washed her hands, and stumbled back out. As she was leaving, we noticed a small trail of poo on her lower leg that she was tracking with every other step. I almost threw up, but my mom got up, got some paper towels, and not only cleaned the floor, but the toilet as well. In retrospect, I think the nicest thing we could have done would have been to follow her back to her camp and warn her parents. I know I wouldn't want to deal with finding that in the sleeping bag in the morning. But the point is I was paralized and incapacitated by the sight of poo outside of its acceptable enclosures: toilet bowls, diapers, wet wipes, possibly the unidentifiable blue liquid of portable outhouses.

I remember at some point a few years ago that there was a clogged toilet.  I can't remember right now where we were living or even if it was at our own house.  What I do remember is that we didn't have or couldn't find a plunger.  Kevin was still able to unplug the toilet--by using his hands in a plunger-like fashion to push poopy water down the drain.  When I saw him stick his hand in the poopy water, I nearly threw up again.  Gross! Gross! Gross!  Gross! Gross!!!!

Then I had kids, and it was still OK--in general, the poo stayed in the diapers.  Occasionally it got on the clothes, but I was able to generally contain it and avoid touching it directly too much.

Then one day I decided that I was fed up with buying diapers.  It just seemed like throwing money in the garbage can in expensive blue plastic sausages (I love my Diaper Genie!)  Encouraged by some new acquaintances and some strangers' blogs, I delved into the realm of modern cloth diapering.  Being cheap, I bought everything second hand and dived right in...

To a life of poo.  You see, being cheap, I never bought the cool modern gadgets that help you clean and rinse poo off the diapers with minimal skin contact.  And the instructions I heard from other cloth-diapering mothers to, "knock the solids [poop] off" and then leave the residual traces for the washing machine, never made any sort of sense.  I guess I feed my kids too much fiber, because there have almost never been solids in my kids diapers--more like thick puddles.  You just can't knock off what is soaked in.

So every day I found myself up the the elbows in poopy water.  It was disgusting, revolting, and I don't even know how I tolerated it.  But I did it, because I already paid for these stupid diapers and I was going to get my stupid money's worth out of them!  And after a few weeks, I realized that it didn't bother me so much.  In fact, after a month or so, I realized it didn't bother me at all.  In fact, I even found myself getting a little lax in all of my extremely careful hedges built up to guard everything in my life from the poo.  Sometimes, I would be interrupted in the middle of rinsing and actually have to grab something before thoroughly scrubbing my hands with soap.  (It's been long enough since then that I can't think of specific examples, or maybe my memory is shielding me from confessions that might shake my friends' faith in my ability to maintain a minimum level of sanitation in my own home.)  I know sometimes things were splashed or sloshed and wiped up but not sanitized.  And here's the thing--we never got any more sick than we did before.  Yes, poop is disgusting, and you don't want it on things, and when there is cholera, or ebola, you better bleach everything and don't drink from the well by your outhouse, but other than that, being it intimate contact with it doesn't automatically get you sick.

I don't know about you, but human waste is about the most disgusting, unsanitary substance I can think of.  But I can deal with it.  If I needed to, I could walk into a room, pick up a pile of it with my bare hand, dispose of it, wash my hands, and go eat lunch (Oh, wait, I have done that...).  And that is an incredibly empowering feeling.  If I can deal with this, I can deal with anything.

And now I come to my title point.  It is my self-important, prideful, and possibly offensive opinion that members of modern society in general suffer from a massive lack of being able to deal.  And it begins with the fact that they are not required or expected to deal with the unpleasant things of life. So much is built up in our modern age to insulate us from unpleasantness.  I will disclaim, that I am very, very grateful for most of them.  But when you are so reliant on them that you can't function when they are removed, that is a problem.  When you never live in a situation where the buffers are removed and you just have to deal with the small, basic, disgusting realities--like poo--every day, over and over, not just as something to suffer through for a time and then move on, but as a way of life, you never get to know just how capable you are.  You miss out on gaining faith and understanding in your own inherent power and ability to deal.

When all women knew about keeping their babies clean and dry was being up to their elbows in poopy water night after night, how could anything else overwhelm them?  That is power.  That is liberation.  "What, I have to clean out the refrigerator of months-old moldy leftovers?  I have to clean the toilet and there is no scrubby wand, just a rag?  I have to take care of a throwing up toddler all night long?  That's nothing.  I've lived in poo!"

I believe it is invaluable to the sense of perspective and ability to handle anything to have, at some point in early(ish) life, a prolonged, intimate relationship with Poo.

Current addendum: For various reasons, I am no longer cloth diapering.  I am grateful every time the 3-year-old's accident ends up in the disposable instead of the underwear.  Nevertheless, I am still grateful that I did have the opportunity to live with poo.  Because I can deal with it.  Poopy pants?  Annoying, but not incapacitating.  Finding a diaper removed prematurely and a pile on the floor instead?  Gross, but tolerable.  And if I found a clogged toilet with no plunger in sight, I wouldn't even cringe as I . . . asked Kevin to deal with it.