Monday, May 05, 2008

Bottoms up, or what's outrageously over the top?

Shit hits the fan when fact proves stranger than fiction. No end to the utterly unthinkable, certainly. Hang on, handy as always is the stunt of suspending disbelief.

About the lower depths some men often descend into, here's a reprint of my regular column, "So To Speak," published in the op-ed pages of Sun.Star Cebu (29 April 2008):

Loo life

WHO does not give a rat’s ass and wish devoutly to avoid--simply because it does not sit well with us-- a headache on top of a hemorrhoid?

Sweat ourselves shitless. Thus, we do sometimes when confronted, if not confounded, with the manure called human nature. Surreal, how things happen to some people the way they do.

Talk about dumping logic into the loo, and hardly anything can be more utterly absurd than the recent report about a 35-year-old woman in Kansas who got stuck in the lavatory for—hold your breath—two years. So much so that some parts of her butt and the backside of her thighs have leached like second skin to the toilet seat. The police who came to rescue her had to carry “the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital,” narrated the news.

One of her neighbors, who had not seen her for the last six years, could only shake his head. “I don’t think anybody can make any sense out of it,” he said. But her boyfriend deemed nothing strange. “It just kind of happened one day; she went in and had been in there a little while, the next time it was a little longer.” Tried to coax her out of hiding and fed and bathed and brought her clothes, he did. Or so he claimed “an otherwise normal relationship, except it all happened in the bathroom.”

Vouching for her phobia of being seen in public after she allegedly endured a traumatic childhood, he figured “like it was a safe place for her.”

Ah, the idea of a comfort room. Now that’s stretching the imagination down the sphincter and doesn’t hold even urine or hogwash for those who live in some 18,000 households in Cebu City. They, reportedly, “don’t have access to sanitary toilet facilities and 11,400 others that don’t have access to safe potable water yet.”

That doesn’t sit pretty for those preening bubbly in the mouth about the beauty of living in the so-called “Queen City of the South.” Fact is stranger than fiction when ordure flies in the face of daydream. No less perplexing than a Sphinx’s riddle for the city mayor who can’t figure out why Cebu—ostensibly one of the “Top 10 Asian Cities of the Future”—ended up a laggard and made it only in the bottom spot in a business magazine’s list of 20 “Best Places to Live” in the country.

Now that’s hardly the stuff of rocket science when the dispatch comes like a kick in the butt of City Hall officials: “Some had to share toilets with their neighbors. In the mountain barangays, some households do with dug-up holes as their makeshift toilet facility, while some still defecate on old newspapers or plastic bags to be thrown away somewhere.” Less bothersome if only Cebu had as much carefree space as the prairies of Kansas, with more than enough breeze to blow away and wipe out the reek of recklessness.

No wonder my nose, now stuffed with allergy against the pollen-filled scent of spring but still runny with a Cebucentric sensibility, gets perennially itchy with infestation of disbelief. The ooze and whiff of outrage. Or shame steeped in intimations of doom. And it’s not only about a woman’s butt wedged too long in the toilet seat, or the YouTube post straight from a surgery room--rowdy with chuckles and celebratory yelps--about a gay man’s rectum jammed with a bottle of perfume.

No comments: