I have sanitized this post. There’s a pun in there somewhere, but we’ll circle back to that in a moment. All you need to know is, flush toilets are scarce in the remoter parts of Greenland.
This post concerns six years of my life. No, I didn’t spend six years on the toilet, but for six years my toilet was a bucket. The so-called “upgrades” of this post can be seen in the photos of the plastic bucket we “enjoyed” in Qaanaaq. The house was brand new, and so was the bucket. Also, new for Jane and me, was the plastic bag. We can talk about recycling and waste in the Arctic another day, but the bag was another upgrade as we literally took the shit out a couple of times a week.
Still with me? You can bail anytime! I won’t be offended.
Before we moved to Qaanaaq, for the first four years the bucket was metal – I think it was galvanized zinc, but I could be wrong. However, these buckets didn’t come cheap. At that time they cost about $100. Maybe more. So you can imagine it isn’t so surprising that a bucket might be given away as a prize in a raffle at the Christmas fair. Most households had two buckets provided by the council. One in use, and one as a spare.
That seems logical and practical.
Well, she’ll hate me for telling you this, but one year, when visiting Denmark, Jane bought some arm-length plastic gloves – the kind veterinarians wear for doing “various things”. Jane wanted those gloves because she wanted to clean the spare bucket while it was not in use.
Feel free to depart now… just run, ‘cos it gets worse.
Now, these buckets are deep, and stuff clings to them.
So Jane needed the gloves to do a good clean without getting dirty.
Jane was on a mission and she wanted to clean the spare bucket before the toilet crew came to empty the one inside the house.
As an aside – remind me to tell you about how the guys empty the bucket and what happened when they caught me naked in the bathroom cutting my hair with a trimmer!
Moving on… Jane cleaned the bucket.
The toilet crew came while we were both at work, and they did what they always do – they grab the spare bucket from outside the house on their way in, and switch it with the full one.
So far so good, except on this occasion they grabbed Jane’s sparkly clean spare bucket and took it into the neighbour’s house. They then put the neighbour’s spare and not-so-sparkly-clean bucket in our house when they took out the full one.
Another aside… have you seen the film Trainspotting? I mean… the visuals are stunning and help with this story.
If you’re not cringing right now, then you haven’t sat on somebody else’s shit bucket. And neither have you seen Jane’s crestfallen face when she realised what they had done – the toilet crew, not the neighbours! In case you were wondering.
On the plus side, the neighbours treated us really nice for quite some time.