Sunday, June 29, 2014

People Smell Better Than Reindeer

The problem with pooping outside is not the fact that you are pooping outside.  It has nothing to do with the challenge of balancing long enough to evacuate the waste from your body (rather than daintily perching your ass on a porcelain throne).  It is not that you might get stuck without a supply of toilet paper, or that you're leaving behind a pile of dookie on the ground, rather than cleanly flushing it away, although, of course, all of those things are inconvenient, to say the least.

No.  The problem with pooping outside is the mosquitos, which will find your undefended pale white ass an irresistible target.  However, that's a temporary issue, and if you are lucky enough to be a once-in-three-days sort of regular, you may manage to get away with only a few bites.  On the other hand, a friend who will be unnamed because I'm not sure she would want me to mention this, once got her period while traveling in the Gobi.  Girls, can you imagine having to deal with that when you don't have real toilets or showers?  Or, for example, in an area where you are expected to pack out your own trash and "leave no trace?"  That would be hell, wouldn't it?  I hope you never have to experience it.
You have possibly all seen Frozen a bajillion times by now, so I hope you get the reference to Kristoff and Sven's duet I made in this post's title and the last.  (I like to think I'm clever with my titles.  Most of the time, this probably isn't true).  I thought it was funny, because although my nose seems to be getting more sensitive as I age (which I attribute to the possibility of becoming a werewolf), I didn't notice a strong smell from either the reindeer or their herders.  I did, on the other hand, pick up on the pong radiating from my own body, and if they thought the number of wet wipes I went through washing my hands was funny, they probably would have been even more amused to see me using them to give myself a sponge bath on the second day at camp.  My days-without-a-shower record is 8, by the way, but that was - damn - ten years ago, when I was a young and crazy twenty something working for a month and a half for Anasazi.
The way that the Tsataan live seems so amazing to me.  The kids still have chores (although rounding up the reindeer on reindeer-back seems even cooler than mowing the lawn on my family's riding lawnmower - lucky kids), and can amuse themselves without iPhones or video games.  Hell, I can't even do that, as evidenced by the fact that as soon as I got home I went into full-on internet addiction mode.
And the fact that I dislike cooking, in spite of all the modern conveniences and running water to wash up with, seems really ridiculous when I look at the Tsataan's lifestyle.  They milk the reindeer.  They make cheese, butter, yogurt, and of course, the trademark milk tea with the milk.  Using just a simple stove they make flat noodles and some of the most delicious bread I've ever eaten (seriously!  I could have and actually did live on that bread.  It blew my mind).  They can do so much with so little and it makes me ashamed that I do so little with so much.  Possibly it's time to change that.

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