Spoken Word: An Ode to the Porta-Potty

In your life, there will be a selection of days that change you. These days, and the events they hold, will influence who you are as a person and shape your values from that magical day onwards.  

For me, one of those such days began under the blazing sun, my parents and I cruising down one of those highways in Northern BC that go on forever and ever. Sweet melodies of my dads severely outdated music and the magnificent view of absolutely nothing interesting racing by our windows, I felt like something interesting had to happen.  

And then, I started to feel like something disgusting was going to happen, and it was going to happen all over our brand-new leather interior.  

It turns out that sketchy gas station tacos, three bags of Doritos, and 1200 gallons of water do not a fun road trip make. In fact, it is the perfect recipe to the most awful, deplorable, nauseating bowel movement. The kind of bowel movement that would win “Heaviest Stench” four years running and only lose to the smell of a middle school boys changeroom after the Beep Test.  

Now, being on the highway in the middle of “God forgot about this place and so did real estate developers,” there are few established structures, and even fewer blessed with the luxury of plumbing. This is because there are no people. There are, however, trees and bears and something that seems to lurk on the side of the highway that actively discourages relieving oneself in the forest. (Spoiler: it’s the crippling fear of getting a mosquito bite in the places you are least willing to scratch in public.)  

Five agonizing minutes later, I was ready to accept my fate and walk straight in to the certain doom some malicious deity dealt unto me with my head held high and legs crossed when suddenly, on the horizon, gleaming like an oasis does to some dumbass who decided to walk the desert without a sufficient water supply, I glimpsed my saviour: A Porta-Potty. A plastic blue beacon of relief, signalling to all weary travellers and makers of bad decisions that yes, you are safe to defecate here.  

And defecate I did. I’ll spare you the gory details.  

It was on this fateful day, this day of immeasurable stress of Herculean proportions and CIA-mandated torture on my kidneys, that I learned to appreciate and revel in the glory that is the Porta-Potty. In time of desperation and immense hydration, of cheap nourishment and too-long lines at ladies’ washrooms, of strife and pain akin to watching old people figuring out Facebook, the Porta-Potty is always there for you when you need it most. Friends will leave, family will turn out to be devout Republicans, and you will discover that your digestive system is not as reliable as previously thought and the presence of the Porta-Potty will become an essential aspect of your life at that moment, a necessity that you will indulge in with your dignity hopefully still intact. The portable toilet – or as it used to be called, a “thunder box” – is the uniting force between all mankind, destroying social barriers with only a hole in the ground and the offering of privacy. There is no differentiation between rich and poor in the Porta-Potty, black or white, male or female, or even those who think that Comic Sans is a good font and those who are right: there are only those who need to go. The Porta-Potty is a gift bestowed unto us mere mortals and it is imperative that we recognize it for what it is: a blessing. So, the next time you are graced with the sight of a Porta-Potty, whether it be blue or pink or green, remember how privileged you are to be in its presence. It does, after all, go through a lot of shit.  

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