You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. You won’t appreciate the luxury of a good, delicate shit ticket ’til you sprint into a foreign stall, turtle head popping out, and proceed to unleash hot fury, only to discover you’ve got nothing to wipe with except your imagination. Spare me your advice. Sure, you ALWAYS remember to pack your own roll. But even packaged Kleenex gets forgotten at times of urgent need.
You’ve never hit rock bottom until you’ve had to reach into the bowlful of feces to hunt a clear patch of water to draw from. That’s when you begin to appreciate the in-stall hose attachment. And you used to wonder what it was for. Now you know.
Now you appreciate the ol’ bucket and ladel (sometimes a small pail or yogurt container) within arm’s reach. You try not to let your mind wander as to what insects may have already laid their eggs in the bucket water. You’re way beyond that. This is all business.
You’ve mastered the art of the Water Wipe. You cup the water in your hand – always the left hand, mind you – and deftly reach and splash your underside in one, sweeping motion so not to lose a drop. The ends justify the means. Like Kerouac in Big Sur, you realize your butt is cleaner than it would be from toilet paper. Your anus is enlightened. It remains wet, though. No paper. That’s the perplexing part…
Still, your ass-wiping apprenticeship is going great. It’s even curbing your bad habits. Southpaw nosepicking and nailbiting are ancient history. You haven’t kicked cigarettes but now you smoke (and eat) exclusively with your right hand.
After hundreds of unpleasant encounters with ill-equipped thrones (soiled, cracked or absent seats being the norm), you develop a respect for the Classic Porcelain Squat, or CPS. A seeming anachronism in many of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, who knows how many ingenious ideas were born upon it over the centuries? As the CPS’ moulded, corrugated foot grips hold your suspension steady, you get it. You figure out proper technique – with your hamstrings pinned to your calves, your heels planted – and the turds roll out like Cosby kids in a chorus line. The angles are sound. You barely need to wipe.
You’ve seen it all. Wet floor? Hang up your pants and underwear. No coat hook? Just clutch your pants and in a ball with your right hand (You’re not wiping with it anyways!). You’ve learned that keeping baggy shorts off the floor in mid-squat becomes an uncomfortable hammock building exercise, so you go bottomless as a rule. No stall door? Whatever.
No toilet paper. Ha! I’ve got hand sanitizer.