Hurricane Mitch wiped out Honduras in 1998.
I had been there the year before and fell in love with the place. So when I saw the news, I gathered a dozen people and we went south to do a little rebuilding. Mostly we dug in the hard dirt to make a foundation for a woman named Catalina Rodriguez.
Luckily, heat dries a person out no matter how much you drink, so bathroom breaks didn’t use up much of our time.
However, the local coffee works a different sort of trick, and every once in a while I needed to brave the old, weathered outhouse that was tucked into the corner of the property.
My first goal when I am faced with facilities like this is to be sure the seat is stable. No need for structural trauma. The next phase of my rudimentary potty process is an examination of the hole itself, and anything that may be living / moving in the vicinity. I’ve seen the movies, and I’ve had the nightmares. You can’t trick me in that department.
In fact, at our rustic family farm, where we use a plastic porta-biff, there is a policy of latching the door OPEN when we use it…so that any traumatized mice or other critters can escape while the humans are…shall we say…busy. Nothing disrupts a private process more than sharing confined space with frantic vermin.
In this particular Honduran case, what I failed to do was look UP.
I feel like ….um….la cucarachas have pretty good traction generally. They tuck into little corners and hold tight.
But the springs on this particular outhouse were particularly strong.
Once I had determined that the place was safe for use, I made the mistake of letting the door slam shut, and whatever was previously living on the ceiling fell down to join me on my level…
Let’s just say “the moment” passed quickly and I chose to depart the structure. It happened with almost no screaming. Almost.
Some people say “live and learn.” In our family we say “live…and make a different stupid mistake next time.”
When it comes to the local bathroom facilities, be brave…but be smart.
Look down, but also be sure to look up.