stale urine and shrimp
Saturday, May 26 2007
I should mention a few details from the breaking down of the old urinal system, which had lived for a year on the laboratory deck. To use it, I'd had to go out on the deck. It had been a five gallon HDPE bucket with a PVC funnel and a clear vinyl overflow hose running down the side of the house. I'd designed it back when I'd considered stale urine more useful (or, perhaps, interesting) than the fresh kind, so the tank was to ensure the staleness of whatever came down the overflow hose. (Now, though, my urinal system pipes fresh urine directly into a five gallon bucket full of sawdust, where its high nitrogen content can facilitate the rapid conversion of cellulose into compost.)
When I broke the old system down, I was interested to see what sort of sludge had collected at the bottom of the tank of stale urine. I found about an inch of cream-colored crap, which (for pH reasons) I mixed with wood ashes and buried near the garden in the lawn. A similar crud had bonded weakly to the PVC pipes in the urine reservoir, though this seemed to be more distinctly crystaline in nature. It washed off easily. All of this stuff smelled like stale urine, of course, although it had picked up other fragrances as well. Sometimes a waft would reach my nose and remind me of shrimp, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Urine isn't anywhere near as disgusting as our naturaphobic society considers it to be; I find a mild hint of urine pleasant and, depending on the situation, even erotic.
In other urine-related news, I've noticed that honeybees (we have many in our yard this year) are strongly drawm to buckets full of stale urine mixed with sawdust.
At some point today I watched The Others for the second time, now knowing the shocking reveal that happens near the end. For some reason this knowledge made me feel a profound pity for the hapless characters as they ignorantly went about their antics, unaware of the essential truth of their existence. This time I noticed the extreme nature of of the mother's (played by Nicole Kidman) Catholicism, making the reveal (which, among other things, denied the tenets of her faith) that much more poignant. I was reminded of American consumerism, maintained to the end of all that sustains it by the willful ignorance of the constraints of peak oil and all the many other looming catastrophes waiting to attack our blissful, unsustainable, yeastlike exuberance.
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