Sunday, February 01, 2009

Portapotty Hell

My first three weeks on the job site at my new position were in a very simple setting. Personnel on the site consisted of myself, two engineers, a security guy, and the biologist that I was replacing. There were no buildings associated with the project, save a single turquoise blue portable toilet. A toilet that I shared with all of these burly men, along with several burly fence-builders, a host of burly truckers, and the occasional burly backhoe operator.

Each day before I left for work I attempted to empty myself of all bodily excretions so as not to have to use that portable toilet any more than necessary. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but there are certain acts that are not easily achieved with earth moving equipment rumbling less than twenty feet from your personal refuge. Inevitably, the water with which I had washed down my lunch would come back to haunt me, and I would be forced to use the johnny-on-the-spot.

My greatest fear, was that my cellphone or keys would tumble out of my pocket and down the dark hole into the mess below. This fear, however unreasonable, became so overwhelming that I began leaving my phone and keys in my car while relieving myself. Entering little blue building, I'd take a deep breath in attempt to avoid breathing the foul air therein. Inside, I would flip up the lid, trying in vain to avert my eyes from the contents already lurking underneath. Not looking inside a pit toilet is much like trying to tear your eyes from a train wreck. Try as you might, you just can't avoid a quick peek.

My second greatest fear was that somehow the portable toilet would become upended by some large piece of equipment working nearby while I was using it. Perhaps it was just this fear at work, but the structure seemed to begin to vibrate and rumble ominously as soon as my efforts had reached critical mass. There I would sit, totally vulnerable, waiting for the shack to tumble. With Murphy's law at work, it would land on it's door, and I would be trapped under a foetid wave of human excrement. My coworkers must have scratched their heads in confusion upon seeing me burst from the Portapotty, wild-eyed in fear, hastily buckling up my jeans.

Now that trailers are in place, lots of new people have arrived on the job site and things are not as simple as they once were. A complicated chain of command is in place and it's much more difficult to get things done. You'll here no complaints from me though. I'm just thrilled to have an indoor toilet that flushes, and hot water and soap with which to wash my hands. I for one will not miss a daily update on what recently exited the entails of my co-workers.


Violet said...

I'm the sort of person who always has tons of crap in her pockets — often at least 8 different Bonne Bell lip glosses, my car keys, and sometimes my cell phone — and I'm always TERRIFIED I'm going to drop something down the hole. I need at least four hands to be able to pull my pants down while simultaneously hiking my pant legs up (because porta-potties always seem to have a half-inch puddle of pee coating the floor), keep my pockets upright, and reach for the TP, all at the same time. I used a porta-potty at a construction site exactly once, and I've still never gotten over it. I still can't figure out how anyone could have sprayed feces like that even if they'd been TRYING. Ick.

Anonymous said...

I'm certain no one has ever written so eloquently on the subject of Porta Pottys. Your Montreal fans were amused and your San Diego fans are still shaking their heads in wonder.

Hilary said...

Oooh - they're awful! I've got this hair-trigger gag reflex that kicks into high gear when I go into one of those things. I emerge with a beet red face and watering eyes having spent my time inside retching.

I For One..... said...

Hilary there were more than one or two occasions that I pictured you and the famous gag reflex when I had to use the portable toilet.