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The Yukkie Reality Under the World of Appearances

The other day I went to "Poop Central" in Quartzsite, that famous modern equivalent of Cloaca Maxima of ancient Rome.  I expected to pay 80% as much to dump a 5 gallon porta-pottie as you would pay to dump a 75 gallon tank in a Class A motorhome. That's how things work in this country. Much to my relief (bad pun), the cost was entirely reasonable.

I brought a flexible sheet of plastic along, to make a funnel out of, in order to dump the porta-pottie into the 4" hole without spillage. It was strange the way they brushed me off, just as a busy auto mechanic dismisses the emotional anecdotes of a female motorist who is describing her car problems. The worker at Poop Central pulled up a manhole cover, and told me to just hurl it in.

What? Hurl it in? What was going on down there, anyway? After a couple seconds my eyes adjusted to the shadowy netherworld under the superficial world of appearances, and I saw a milk crate a couple feet below. Why would a milk crate be there?

Have you ever had somebody responsible for an RV dump explain to you what ridiculous things people hurl down a 4" hole? It clogs things up. It is one of the reasons that it gets harder to find an RV dump every year. Soon free ones will be a things of the past. What an elegant solution it was to catch those solid objects with a milk crate, lift it up now and then, and throw the solid trash in a dumpster.

I found this experience a bit amusing. It is one more example of how little we understand of the world as it really works. Nobody lives on farms anymore, but food magically appears at the grocery store. Few people have seen a tree made into a 2 X 4, or toured an automobile assembly plant. How many people appreciate all the steps needed to convert the black gook called petroleum into gasoline?

Today we walk into the customer lobby of the Economy-in-General, fill out some annoying paperwork, whip out a credit card, and watch television to kill time, while somebody else deals with ugly, yukkie, physical reality.

Perhaps a better connection with the realities of the world is one of the benefits of travel. Imagine a Manhattanite who has gotten interested in growing herbs and flowers in a couple pots on her roof patio; then she drives through wheat fields in Saskatchewan for the first time, and sees a bulldozer-like tractor pulling a harrow a hundred feet wide. Or a land-locked midwesterner squatting on a dock -- as I did once -- and being awakened in the middle of the night by the horn of a tugboat, who guided oil freighters into a giant refinery.

In the case of Quartzsite, its claim to fame, its world-class status, is poop-on-wheels! How fitting that I had this experience here.

Ahh dear. If only it was easier to have thought-provoking experiences when traveling. If only there was more freedom and trust between visitors and locals, between professionals and amateurs. And fewer regulations and restrictions. We could better learn how the world works, and what other people have to do for a living. 


Ed said…
"We could better learn how the world works, and what other people have to do for a living."

We do that by watching "Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe". That is as close as most people will ever get to seeing what people have to do for a living. Even then they are not learning anything it is simply more entertainment or our cultures "bread and circuses".
Anonymous said…
I started off reading this post thinking, hey, we might get a positive post out of you yet! Oh well, maybe someday. So sad.
Guess I'll have to restrict my posts to breathtakingly beautiful sunsets and desert wildflowers.
XXXXX said…
Of course, don't overlook the obvious that Anonymous keeps on reading anyway!
There just are those folks in the world, like Robert Louis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad, not to mention Carl Jung and all his many admirers and followers, plus many others for sure, who rather enjoy looking at the dark side of human nature because they are all more interested in the truth about life rather than mindless entertainment.
You pick. Brutal intelligence vs. frivolity.
jevowell said…
I would certainly be impressed by a 100' wide harrow. The biggest one I've ever been around was only 50' wide. :-)

But they don't have the serious agriculture in the Idaho panhandle that they have in the Great Plains. (grin)

OK, I admit that 50' is a better estimate. But it would have ruined the alliteration.
Well, I'm impressed that they have a subject like that on television. Of course, they must choose jobs that are photogenic, with photogenic backgrounds.
John V said…
Sad?! I think Anonymous is just underestimating the Joy of Cynicism and Skepticism.
sooperedd said…
I don't like to talk about poop.
In fairness to Anonymous, if she (I can always tell) came to my blog from the world of RV travel blogs, she expects cheerleading and sugar-coated romantic escapism about "living her Dream." And then she wonders what the hell is wrong with my blog, because it just doesn't play along with that.

The explanation is quite simple: this is an eclectic blog -- not an RV blog -- and it is not trying to promote or sell something. Nor is it trying to be popular.
This post is about dumps, not poop. (grin)