Monday, February 14, 2011

If I Say Something About Poop, I Hope it Doesn't Bother You

I'm like a dog. I smell things. I mean I sniff the air, I smell objects in my hands.


Maybe I'm thinking about it because I was turning over the compost, enjoying the rich, complex smell of decaying plant matter. Thinking that the scentscape is a world of many dimensions, a world all its own.

That's sorta what happens when I spend time outside planting or whatever. The smells indoors just aren't the same. I mean, what do you smell now? Maybe the warm plastic of your computer, maybe traces of cooking odors, or maybe you just noticed that you need to take the garbage out. Have you stopped to smell the air somewhere with dirt and trees and plants and... air? Not thinking about it, just smelling.

It's the same with sound. All the little noises of the machinery in your home, the fridge, the heater, the jarring din of the TV, rattle you in a way that the rustling of leaves and the singing of birds never could.

There's variety out there, an endless stream of experience in which all sorts of things are living all around you. It's always changing, but it's never telling you anything, it's just there, so it never gets tiring. The hard, straight edges and uniform boredom of household objects are scarce.

There's something in people that needs that sort of constant but gentle variety. Purely indoor creatures may get trapped in an endless cycle of novelty-seeking and dissatisfaction, never quite getting what they need. How many people search the 'net for hours, hoping for that one moment of discovery, hoping for something to jar them out of their numbness? There's a world of high-speed, streaming reality just outside the door.

Anyhow, I guess it was this state of mind, and thoughts of decomposing vegetable matter and smells, that got me thinking about how little time I spend in the bathroom now. It's hardly worth bringing a book in, or even a pamphlet. The bathroom is no longer a place for private reading time. That's what a vegan diet will do to you. I guess if I'm losing that time, but I'm also losing the likelihood of colon cancer, it's a pretty good tradeoff. I'm sure our systems are made to process much more vegetable matter than they're generally given.

I may be old-fashioned, talking about books when 27% of Americans use Facebook on the toilet.  There's a wide variety of things modern people can do to keep themselves amused in there.

Poop and do origami.

I wish I could remember the quote from a rabbi I ran into a while ago, something about needing culture, needing words to deny the bluntly animal nature of taking a poop. He suggested that it was better not to be distracted, but rather to accept your animalhood. Well, I don't have much choice now. I can barely finish reading a sentence.

So... eh, there seems to be some sort of thesis here about being out of touch with what we're programmed to do and experience, but I'm not sure I know how to wrap it up with a conclusion. The post just kinda drifted off. I guess I'll just sign off then. 'Til next time, may you encounter many engaging scents, and may all your movements be healthy ones.

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