We’ve been having some work done on our house, so they moved it in about a month ago. My friends gave me lots of fun suggestions about how to decorate it for the holidays, and I gave them the story of my awkward encounter with a postman, in which I rushed down the stairs to meet him, excited to receive a package that I ordered, only to find him reaching for the Porta Potty door. “Oh,” I shouted as he looked at me, “help yourself!”
Yesterday the guys finally finished their work. I now have a walkway that will not cause anyone to fall backwards and hit their head on the bricks (YAY! No more concussions!) and a back porch that does not route all rainwater to my back door. The path from my front steps down to the driveway is no longer a set of stepping stones laid out by long legged Paul Bunyan, so that you have to leap frog from one to another or just give up and put your feet in the dirt. And the back patio is no longer a mass of loose flagstone that Rosie will drag, piece by humongous piece, into my kitchen.
“Well that’s it!” said Tim yesterday morning.”I think we’re all done!!” Tim is a stone mason and a really nice guy and ALWAYS ON TIME (!) and if he weren’t married and if I had a single sister his age, I’d set them up. “We’ll get all our messes cleaned up and then we’re out of here. The porta john guy will stop by on Monday to pick it up.”
“Several folks have enjoyed using it,” I laughed.
“Oh yeah, already this morning your garbage lady made a pit stop, and there was a jogger too.”
How about that? Who knew that a Porta Potty could come in so handy!
I spent a vacation day at home, puttering around, cleaning up my own messes. As I washed dishes at the sink, I watched a guy I recognized walk slowly by my house. He was one of several workmen pulling up old scraggly bushes in front of the condos up the street, replacing them with new shrubs and flowers. He had the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up, but I could see he was eyeing me as I was eyeing him, walking slower and slower as he neared the end of my driveway.
I bet he wants to use the Porta Potty, I thought. He’s not sure if I’d mind.
I left the kitchen to give him some privacy. A couple minutes later, I sneaked back to the window to watch him exit.
Our eyes met- at least I thought they did- so I gave him a friendly wave.
He waved back!
Aww. We were Porta Potty friends!
Over the day, I made it my secret game to watch if anyone else might use our public outhouse.
Guess what. They did! I caught three more people taking advantage of the facilities. One was a lady taking a walk and the others were landscape guys. Where did they usually go to the bathroom while they were working? It’d be a pain to have to stop working and get in the car to go to a gas station. This problem had never occurred to me.
I think that’s the moment when I started feeling some ownership for the outhouse in my driveway. What was it like in there? Was it stinky? Was it clean? I went outside and checked it out.
Rosie the dog was very interested in what I was doing.
I was relieved to find that it was amazingly clean, save for the muddy footprints on the floor. I don’t know how, but there was no smell at all. I checked for toilet paper, and there was plenty. “It’s really nice inside,” I said to Todd after dinner, who looked at me as if I were crazy. Then I told him about all our visitors. “We’ve only got it til Monday,” I said, suddenly sad about it, “but maybe I should put some hand sanitizer out there.”
“Go for it,” he said.
You’ve got to love a man who’ll go along with your wacky schemes. He didn’t even mind when I made him find the extension cord so that we could rig it with Christmas lights.
“All Are Welcome,” he read, as I handed him the lights to put on the roof. “Nice sign.”
“Do you think it’s too much? Do you think I’m crazy? It’s just that everybody always looks sheepish about coming into our yard to use it. I want them to know that they don’t have to sneak.”
But what? What was Todd going to say? That I’d gone too far? That I shouldn’t invite total strangers into our yard to pee in our Porta Potty?
“It’s a Porta Potty ministry!” I said, aware that I sounded nutso. “People need it. We have it. Why not share?”
“I know, Becky,” he said. ” I was just going to say that you need a wreath. You know, to go on the door.”
He was right!
Todd even took a picture of it with his phone.
Merry Christmas, neighborhood!
And Merry Christmas to you, dear reader!
You know, I think I’m going to be sad when Monday comes. But I have hope! All the windows in our house are the original ones from 1950, and we’re having them replaced next week! Surely somebody will need to go to the bathroom!