Monday, November 14, 2011

Love Conquers All Things, Even The Porta Potty

I’m training for the MS 150 bike ride from Houston to Austin. I’ve decided it will be a bonding experience for my husband and I. He has done it twice already, while I stood on the side-lines and cheered him on. This time I want to take part. I think it will make us stronger as a couple. We will face the challenges of the ride together and our love will blossom even more. That and I want the darn t-shirt that tells the world I did it!
I am completely unfazed that I haven’t really ridden a bike in 12 years. Doesn’t matter that I don’t even have a road bike yet to ride on. I’m not sure I can ride a mile, much less 150 miles. I’m pretty sure I am very out of shape, no I know, I am out of shape. The fact that I will have to “clip in” (bike shoes that clip onto your pedal) scares me to death. All of that I can overcome, if I set my mind to it. But that dang porta potty, that coffin of human waste, I’m not sure I can overcome that.

I have anxiety about small spaces. Not a phobia, so much as a strong dislike. Porta potties are small, usually hot and dark, which exasperates the problem. I’m also a very visual person. I see an image and it pastes itself into my minds eye forever. So as I hover over the hole of other peoples sewage, people I don’t even know,  I invariably get a view I’d care never to see. That picture is now forever in my head and will pop up at the most inopportune times, like when I’m sitting down to eat a filet mignon with creamy mashed potatoes and some chocolate cake for dessert. You get the idea, right?

Not to mention the smell. Why would anyone willingly walk into a hot shoebox of a space that smells like the feed lots of Dalhart, Texas. At least the feed lots are the “smell of money”, porta potties do not have such a distinction. They just stink and they make me gag. It doesn’t help that for us females our anatomy requires us to spend more intimate time with the porta potty, no quickies there. And one last thing. Why on earth would you design a toilet in such a small space where the urinal is right at nose level with the actual toilet space? Do I have to look at that while I’m trying my hardest not throw up as it is?

I’ll be making sure I drink lots and lots of fluids so I don’t get dehydrated and fall off my bike. And we all know what happens  when we drink lots of fluids. So for every training ride leading up to the 150 mile ride and for the ride itself the only choice I will have for a bathroom break will be the porta potty. I won’t be able to just hold it or wait for a big tree to squat behind.  I will have to face the dreaded porta potty. And honestly, for 38 years I have avoided all events that required me to use a porta potty and so this is huge. This is how much I love my husband. I love him so much that I will face my nemesis. I will stare down the porta potty and I will survive. All in the name of love.

Have you done something amazing for love? But more importantly, can you use a porta potty without gagging? Because if you can I’d like some tips on how to do it.


Myndi Shafer said...


shannon said...

Now that is love! First, I want to say good for you! Sharing something like this with your hubby will no doubt bring you closer. And I'm right there with you on the porta-potty thing. They are just gross. I would rather pee behind it but I think that might be illegal. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmm... Plug your nose and focus your thoughts elsewhere! (Also works for painful aspects of exercise. ;))

Best of luck with this! I know you'll do well.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Well, first off, I think that's so fantastic that you're going to do that bike-a-thon with your hubby!

Secondly, ugh, the porta ptty is just one of those necessary evils I'm afraid. :(

Karen McFarland said...

Hi Kara!

May the force be with you on your supportive venture with the hubby.

I gather that we are talking MS as in Multiple Sclerosis? May I thank you and your husband for your joint efforts towards this cause. I just lost one of my dearest friends in the world to this awful disease after a twenty-five year battle.

Please know that my thoughts are with you as you boldly go where most women won't, the port-a-potty!

Fabio Bueno said...

Porta-potties are a necessary evil, but I assure you that men also hesitate before entering one :)
The title of the post is great and you tied all up elegantly on your last paragraph.

Emma Burcart said...

Um, yeah I don't do port-a-potties. Once I went a whole weekend without going to the bathroom because port-a-potties weren't available. If I really have to use it, I leave the door open and make my friends stand there and sing to me or make jokes. But, usually I just hold it. Yuck.

Louise Behiel said...

oohh porta potties. One reason why I don't do camping anymore.

Consider it part of your commitment to deepening your love. and don't breathe while you're inside.


Mumbai said...

Well written.

Given the amount you will be exercising, you will sweat a lot. As a result, you may not use the porta potty as often as you think.

Good luck.

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Terri Tiffany said...

I am amazed that you are going to do this! Ride 150 miles and you haven't ridden a bike in years? Wow! I would think that would be more daunting than using a port-a-potty. You will overcome your fear by being grateful for them. LOL I hate them too and use them only in desperate times.
You are a good wife!!
What I did for love is move to Texas so my husband could work--lol and trying to start a new life again after following him to Fl ten years ago and starting over. We do what we need to!

Tim O'Brien said...

I've smelled the feedlots in Dalhart and others all across the state of Texas. I would rather work at one than enter a port-o-potty on a hot summer day. Gross just to think about it. Good luck on the bike ride.

Coleen Patrick said...

"coffin of human waste" --now that's hysterical!
Good luck with your bike ride Kara!

Julie Hedlund said...

So true about the Porta Potties! I laughed at the realization that you're more afraid of them than the 150 miles. You go girl!

Kara said...

Okay, now I'm getting scared about the 150 miles! Maybe that will distract me from the porta-potties:) I'm so glad I am not alone though, which makes me wonder why on God's green earth have we not figured out a better set up for these things?
Thanks for all your comments, you all gave me lots of smiles.

LynNerdKelley said...

This is such a great post! First, I think it's amazing that you're going to participate in this bike ride. Wow! I hate Porta Potties, too, but I don't dwell on the experience. I guess raising kids makes it easier to deal with Porta Potties. Dirty diapers, potty training accidents, barf in the middle of the night - pretty much seen it all! Best of luck on the bike ride.