Sunday, March 30, 2008

Outhouses: A cautionary tale


Part of growing up with hippie parents is summers spent in the great outdoors. We usually spent a few weeks in July or August sleeping beneath canvas shelters and eschewing watches for "camping time."


We were not the RV or running water types, though. We laughed off those folks as high maintenance. My family was the down a gravel back road to a secret forestry site where we bathe in the creek type.

Unfortunately, this also made us the outhouse type.

Being forced to do one's business in a hot, poorly ventilated shack full of daddy long-legs, damp toilet paper, and other people's waste is probably no one's idea of a good time. As such, I became an expert at crouching. 

However, even worse were the urban myths surrounding outhouses. 
Teenagers who skulked behind bushes, waiting for an unsuspecting camper to enter, at which point they tipped the outhouse over. 
Children who had accidentally tumbled through the enormous hole, where no one could hear their cries.
And, the most dreadful of them all, the pervert who lived at the bottom of the outhouse pit, watching the unsuspecting user from below.

Despite this colourful range of imaginary tales, I had never heard of anything quite like the anecdote recounted to me last night.

A good friend of mine's family has a cabin quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Over the Easter long weekend, her and her fiance made the several hour trek to the cabin, arriving late at night. Given the snow on the ground, and the several months since the last round of visitors, the pipes had frozen. Fatigued, they decided to wait until the morning to pour boiling water down the drain to thaw it. 

However, before falling asleep, he decided that he needed to, ahem, do some business. Rather than leave said business in the toilet overnight, he bundled up, grabbed a flashlight, and ventured to the nearby outhouse.

Upon his return, he crawled back into bed, muttering about how much further the journey had seemed. She just giggled at him and his frustration after a long day.

The next morning, she awoke, and set out to the outhouse. 
It seemed he had not been kidding when he spoke of the longer journey-- somehow, through the course of a stormy winter, the rickety outhouse had  ended up 30 feet from where it originally stood, and was now located in the middle of the neighbour's yard.

This also meant it was 30 feet away from its pit.

Which meant that he had taken a crap in the middle of the neighbours' yard.

Neighbours who, thankfully, had not ventured to their cabin this particular weekend. 
And, as such, the two of them covertly moved the outhouse back to its original location, and were extremely grateful for the covering effects of snow.

32 comments:

Ant said...

Bewtiful! :-)

Makes me wonder why we need cover at all? Just hunker down in an exposed space and let nature take it's course. The breeze certainly helps with ventilation.

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

WOW! Imagine the faces of the neighbor when they see the surprise that awaits them. (Let's hope for plenty of spring rains!) You did a superb job painting the picture of what it's like inside those things, and I had to LOL at he last point about the perverts; too funny. But don't minimize the god-awful stench resulting from days of summer heat!! We try to hold our breaths until we leave (not always easy!!)

Tin Ma'am said...

oh wow, I had to chuckle. I don't use outhouses... Call me silly, but I would rather bring my own TP and squat in the woods. Outhouses freak me out.

benjibopper said...

ha! the first half of that post brings back many memories, of BC, of Suomi. I did actually enjoy my little outhouse up in Haida Gwaii, which had no door but faced away from the house. Beautiful sunsets.

Nilsa S. said...

I love this post! As a teenager, I spent a number of summers camping. When bathrooms and outhouses were not available, we'd take a shovel and a roll of toilet paper singing, "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to shit we go..." as if we were a dwarf ourselves!

Arielle said...

That's pretty funny and sounds like something that would happen to me. P.S. Daddy long legs freak me OUT hardcore. Probably from being overexposed to them at sleepaway camp. *shudder*

Ashley said...

this is unfortunate and hilarious. i can't imagine using an outhouse....though i know that makes me sound completely spoiled. i'm sure if i HAD to, i would. but...yeah. no.

Sheila said...

That would be just my luck! I don't think I could handle using an outhouse as I NEVER use a port-a-potty. Yes, I have some OCD bathroom issues!

Jamie Lovely said...

I have an uncle whose wife was kind of nutty. She would have a parties in the summer but make everyone use the outhouse when her house had like 3 bathrooms.

She was insane.

Deutlich said...

::slackjawed::

brookem said...

Oooooh WOW. Haha.

Michelle & the City said...

freaking hilarious.

ana said...

outrageously hilarious!!!

ana said...

Hey I need your email address. I couldn't find it anywhere on your profile page.

Beth said...

My great fear of outhouses was my firmly held belief (no doubt instilled by my older sister) that snakes lived in "the pit" and were poised to strike at any time. Fortunately, my use of outhouses has significantly diminished over the years. (As in just about nil.)

cdp said...

Oh Lord. That is too damn funny. Taking a crap in the neighbor's yard is actually one thing I can say I've never done!

Z said...

I am also an outhouse veteran, and I loathe them (though will use when required). But I love this story :)

Ashley Ladd said...

LOLOLOL. How hilarious. Although I like camping out, I don't like that part of it.

Jess said...

That is awesome. I just laughed out loud and now Torsten thinks I'm crazy.

Hopefully the neighbor will assume that the charming favor on their lawn was left by a friendly dog...

sauerkraut said...

jess- that was my first thought... some dawg left a big poo.

but then, what dawg uses tp?

back when I was more into pranks, we tried to convince the girls that if they lit a match inside an outhouse that it would blow up. surprisingly, some of them actually tried.

eric1313 said...

Hahahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahah...................

OK, I just peed myself.

Thank you very much.

All kidding aside, I had a great aunt Vonda who lived in Tennessee who actually had a real outhouse on her property, it was the defacto toilet.

I hated going to visit her. Ever see a real hornet? They're about three to four inches long, and they're favorite places to build nests are underground--such as a hole for an outhouse. Now, being stung by a three inch arthropod is one horror unto itself, but being stung by one that literally lives in a world of shit ups the ante quite a bit.

No I wasn't stung--but my brother was.

All my great aunt had to say was to begin laughing and relating a hundred more "stung on the bum" stories.

Did I mention I hated going there?

nicoleantoinette said...

Ah hahaha! I went to the bathroom in a compost toilet two weekends ago- my first one ever!

poodlegoose said...

Hilarious!

I was always more of the 'leave no trace' kinda girl myself. I suppose I'd rather risk it by burying my... um, business... rather than dealing with the warm stench of other people's.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

It's one tenacious peeper who would willingly wade around in a mountain of excrement to watch that. (S)he probably wouldn't last longer than a few days before fecal poisoning made sickness and death a terrifying reality, if that's any help.

Stephanie said...

Why have I never heard those terrible outhouse tales? Although I suppose if I did, I never would have made it through Girl Scout camp.

EF said...

I'd love to know what people's first impression of your outhouse picture was...it just seems to evoke mischief and lurking evil...
maybe it is just the wooded venue?

Hope said...

Nooooo...

This was hilarious!

Larissa said...

Yikes.

It seems like we all have odd outhouse/toilet stories, judging from the comments. Maybe we should compile them into a book.

Katelin said...

haha wow. that would have been awful if the neighbors were there, oh man. i can't even imagine.

thestoryofagirl said...

Oh wow. Just ... wow. Seriously. I have no further commentary. Thank you and I bid you good day. :-)

Valerie said...

haha!

"The neighbors must have a HUGE dog! A Great Dane or something!"

Yoda said...

Ew.

That's all I have to say.

That and kicking snow on your own doing? Gross!